Updated: Jan 30
Hey everyone- it’s Rosemary
Its only the second week of December and already I’m feeling that shakiness inside that leads to feeling overwhelmed…so I decided to look up the definition of overwhelm. Good ‘ole Merriam-Webster says:
to affect (someone) very strongly
to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with
to defeat (someone or something) completely
Pretty boring, right?
bury or drown beneath a huge mass
give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
Those last two are a bit more exciting, but let’s begin by talking about #3—let’s change the word defeat to overcome or inundate. That would make the third definition “to overcome/inundate (someone or something) completely”. In other words, when we are overcome/inundated by something so much that we are STOPPED in our tracks, THAT’S what it means to be overwhelmed according to social scientist Dr. Brene Brown, anyway. (And who doesn’t recognize Brene Brown’s expertise?)
Now, with that in mind, have you ever been truly overwhelmed? I suspect we have when it comes to grief. A sudden death stops us all. The length of time we’re overwhelmed (stopped in our tracks) varies from person to person. Being unable to function or go forward is common when we are grieving or trying to wrap our heads around sudden loss. And there are too many of those in this time of COVID.
But definitions #1 and #2 are how you and I can feel from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. At least in the U.S. I’m sure there are many celebrations world-wide during Holiday season, but I doubt their consumerism and consumption is as blatant as ours here in the States. (And that’s certainly not something to be proud of.) Nonetheless I hope you have learned how best to deal with being inundated with decorations, invitations, gift-giving (or purchasing), merriness (partying), wrapping presents, or humongous buffets of food and drink at your cousin’s house. That brings about thoughts of “family” that we try to avoid for reasons reaching anywhere from unresolved family traumas and arguments to discussions of politics or religion—for it seems we are no longer adult enough to “agree to disagree.”
My question to you is this—how do you take your “timeout”? I try to go for more walks on top of my daily morning 1-2 mile hike/walk/stroll depending on how cold it is. Maybe you make some extra trips to the gym. I also try to journal more, writing about what scares me most, what irritates the hell out of me (who I’m pissed at and why) or what I am simply upset about. Making a point of meditation and practicing yoga helps me as well, how about you? I try to remember to breathe more deeply, knowing that it helps lower blood pressure so I’m not steaming out my ears because something went differently that I had planned. Yes, we all need a little control in our lives, but sometimes it’s important to recognize that we’re not in control of everything-nor do we need to be—it’s simply not healthy. Write to me and tell me your favorite ways to cope or de-stress.
Have you learned to say NO easily? This takes a lot of practice for women (especially) to learn. The people-pleaser that we were as children may still lurk in our psyche. So besides PRACTICING in front of the mirror saying NO, maybe we can ask ourselves this, “Am I doing this to make me happy? Or am I doing this to make them/her/him happy?” Those two questions can slow me in my tracks long enough to evaluate what’s exactly going on and who is being helped by my actions. If what’s happening is not making me happy, it’s time to say NO. Please do the same.
Are you living by your shoulds instead of your wants? Because if you are—STOP. RIGHT. NOW. Throw the word should away. Far away.
Many years ago a friend told me to throw away all my shoulds, to stop doing them! It was sound advice back then, and I follow it to this day. If I catch myself doing or saying the word should I actually stop and refrase/rethink what’s going on and ask myself, “Who am I doing this for? Does this make me happy? Am I taking care of myself the way that’s best for me? Am I giving myself the time and quiet I need and deserve?” There are certain things each of us require for our mental health—do you know yours? Find them. Write ‘em down. Keep them close by as reminders to yourself (i.e. stick ‘em on your bathroom mirror or a closet door where you see them every day).
Remember, we are BRAVE women (remember last week’s blog?). You and I are the only ones who know what is best for ourselves—and we can act on that, we can speak that, we can be that. For that’s all that is important. Being. Not doing. Loving. Not doing. Sitting with. Not doing (fixing/helping).
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, STOP.
If you’re feeling stressed, STOP.
If you’re feeling anxious, STOP.
Love and light to all -