Waves of Overwhelm
When I was younger, I went to a beautiful beach off of Cape May, New Jersey. The ocean waves were like nothing I had ever seen before. They were 10 ft walls of glistening water pounding the shore. I love the ocean, the feel of the sand in my feet, the salt of the breeze, the hot sun and the sound the waves made as they crashed on the shore. I could not wait to go in. My body tingled in anticipation of running in, cooling off and body surfing all day. I was excited and remember dropping down all my items so I could go swimming. I swam about six feet in and the first wave hit me. I went under, hard. I scraped the bottom and finally got out from under the wave and struggled to take in a breath. Before I could another wave hit me and I felt like I was drowning. Millions of thoughts went through my head. None of those thoughts were positive. I didn’t think I was going to escape. I managed to pop up and started making my way to shore, getting hit several more times by waves but finally touching dry land. I remember feeling spent, exhausted and like I had gone several rounds with an opponent who knew they were going to win. There was this feeling that sat on my chest and in my stomach like a lead weight and none of my thoughts could not turn themselves.
I’ve associated this particular incident with overwhelm my entire life. Overwhelm, for me, feels like this, unable to breathe, heavy weight on my chest, racing negative thoughts and feeling sick to my stomach. Overwhelm feels different for everyone, but often it is because:
1. You have a situation you cannot control
2. You feel helpless
3. You feel like there is no way out
We can say with confidence that overwhelm is more present now than ever. Life as we knew it is now no longer what we once knew it to be and there are so many questions without any solid answers. It is so important that we identify where the overwhelm is coming from.
You can use this method below, to discover more about your overwhelm and how to work through it.
1. Sit in quiet for a few minutes. It can be outside, in a closet or in the car (moms, I know- car is my go to)- and feel where in your body the overwhelm is- just notice- don’t analyze.
2. Journal, write or type out possible reasons for your overwhelm, this can be a list or just a free-write. Don’t judge yourself, just write whatever comes to mind- get it all out.
3. Release it. Take a deep breath and release whatever is overwhelming you. If you need to, rip up the page or even better, burn it.
4. Set boundaries. If you are working too much, overcompensating or doing things you don’t want to do, set boundaries to help feelings of overwhelm. (Need help setting boundaries? Check out this blog here)
5. Ask for support or get help if you need it. You can join our group classes or schedule a free 20 minute call with Stephanie here.