It’s been a pretty great week. I’m killing it with my commitments, I’m starting to approach “Mom of the Year” territory and I’ve been effortlessly juggling all the balls. Until one dropped.
And a wave of overwhelm engulfed me.
If you’re like me, you may be getting tired of the pattern of feeling accomplished and then not feeling accomplished. So, I’m ending it - and you can too.
Overwhelm is defined as “to overcome completely, as with great force or emotion” (Merriam-Webster), but the dictionary was no help in putting my finger on why it happens in the first place.
Sitting with the feeling (actually, I took it out for coffee, this kind of spiritual gazing needs caffeine) I came to the realization I get overwhelmed when I deeply care about something or someone (point to Merriam-Webster for being on the nose about the emotion). I care about the commitments I’ve made to others. I care about doing right by my family. I care about making a difference to others in meaningful ways.
But why does caring have to mean feeling overwhelmed?
As it turns out, it’s an early warning system for when you forgot to care about the most important thing in your life: yourself.
So, here’s how you can stop the cycle, stepping out of overwhelm:
You don’t get to choose when you get overwhelmed, but you do get to choose what you do about it. Grounding yourself in what matters most can give you the drive to see something through, with the compassion to take care of yourself. This may include saying “no” to work. This may mean asking for an extension or adjusting the expectations of others to match the reality of the situation. Remember, you can always ask for help.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, and nothing sucks a cup dry as quickly as being overwhelmed. Stop overwhelm in its tracks, you now have the steps to keep it from impacting your well-being and your intentions.