past tense: overwhelmed; past participle: overwhelmed
bury or drown beneath a huge mass.
"the water flowed through to overwhelm the whole dam and the village beneath"
"his teams overwhelmed their opponents"
On our podcast, Pocket Change, we give our guests the opportunity to share the keys to their success. Over the past few weeks of recording, we’ve had some great insights that will be shared through the next few months as we publish those episodes, however, I wanted to share some of the key messages I’ve taken and started applying, because I know that many people could use them as much as I did.
But let’s rewind a bit first – let me give you the frame of mind that I was in when I was gifted the great advice from our upcoming crop of awesome guests.
Two weeks ago, I was not okay. And it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to not be okay and be nasty about it. (You still with me?) Each one of us has a personal responsibility to show up for our families, our teams and ourselves in a meaningful way, but I was struggling. I was struggling because there was this overwhelming sense of angst that was surrounding me that was making me feel more sensitive than I should have felt. I don’t know what was driving my angst, but I do know that regular micro-aggressions that I would normally allow to roll off my back, felt deeply personal and as a result, my normal assertiveness turned into defensiveness and even aggression. Today, as I write this, I believe there are still residual impacts from some of the interactions of that week that sit inside of me, that I’ve yet to face and try to resolve because my feelings were hurt so deeply at points during that week (it’s okay to sit with your feelings, people don’t do it enough because it's uncomfortable.)
So why the angst? I don’t have an exact answer - but based on the discussions and coaching sessions I’ve had in the past few weeks with clients, friends and peers, many people are feeling and experiencing the same type of emotions that I have.
At the time of this publication, we are exactly 100 weeks into the pandemic, and it's not getting old, it is old. We all anticipated that "normal" would return, and yet, here we are, continuing to experience various forms of isolation, clipped wings and continual change because of new variants; all of which are resulting in a lot of social turmoil.
There is a ridiculous amount of negative energy being pumped into our psyche through social media (well, the media in general), highlight reels of nastiness being broadcast not only into just our living rooms, but also our bedrooms, offices and wherever else you can access a smart device. Our most precious non-renewable resources (time and our mindset) are being chewed up by ferocious negativity, seemingly handcuffing us without insight or the ability to problem solve, because we don’t know what the problem really is .. or we think we do, but no one can hear us when we speak because there’s so much noise. Chaos seems more abundant than love at this moment in time, and the stressors of the day-to-day seem to be overwhelming many. We’re living in a MIND driven society right now - and in all of this … we’re expected to just … be okay.
But how can we be okay when we’re ignoring the spiritual, soulful, and emotional side of ourselves? It’s hard to connect with others when you can’t have the connection we normally have or have had the opportunity to grow within for most of our lives. …To be able to see the responses clearly of those we’re around – to see body language, to feel energies shift. We need more time with the HEART driven side of our communities, and that’s not always possible due to the current state of events.
I know myself pretty well, so when I start to feel overwhelmed, I know there are certain strategies I can put into play to help myself start to normalize in terms of my mindset and moods, thus, my behaviour .. but sometimes, I need a bit more insight and guidance to get me to pay attention to what I really need (Thanks Universe!) The insights that I received the week I wasn’t feeling (or doing) okay were profound and helped me set the tone for how I wanted to turn my ship around.
My first guest, Matt Marshall, is one of the greatest humans I have ever known. He’s a strong, brilliant, articulate stoic who has given me more insight in the 10 years I’ve known him than most could ever learn. His investment and love into our relationship and my personal growth will forever be one of the things I’m most grateful for. He was my first podcast guest of the week, and while we were discussing change and leadership in the space of eCommerce, the message that I heard loud and clear was: Be fearless – what’s the worst that could happen?
My second recording that week was with a very dear friend and client, Mike Janay. Mike is a no bullshit business owner from New Jersey and one of my favourite people. He is loaded with stories and has a great IDGAF attitude; he’s a natural innovator and has made tracks in his career. He's a realist and a life-long risk taker. The message he relayed that resonated with me deeply was: Take risks, but don’t be stupid.
The third podcast I recorded was with IFBB Pro Female Bodybuilder and Life Coach (cleverly disguised as a Fitness Coach), Nicki Chartrand. Nicki has been instrumental in helping me adapt and manage my mindset, arming me with strategies and exercises to encourage a stronger, more positive outlook – using mindfulness as a way to help drive a situation to a favourable or more positive outcome. The message I received from her recording was: You’re in charge of your everything – this life experience is yours to own.
The messages were profound in the moment because I needed to hear them. It all seemed to hit me at once while I was reflecting on the week and the privilege, I had recording with these three wonderful humans, so I gave pause and thought about some actions I could undertake that would enable me to feel less overwhelmed, based on their insights.
After giving it some thought and finding ways to embed their insights into action, here are some tips in helping reduce anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed:
Take a deep breath and step away. If you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, a quick way to begin to alleviate those feelings is by doing breathing exercises. (Click here for more tips on Emotional Regulation.)
Think first, respond later. (E+R=O)
Accept your feelings. Sit with them and experience your emotions. Be non-judgmental and allow shame or guilt to fall away. It's okay to feel this way, but find action to help drive you away from these feelings.
Create a “no” list. What are you handling that’s outside of your scope that should belong to someone else?
Create a “to do” list. Understanding what you need to do, or deliver is important to helping alleviate anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed. Often, we make things bigger in our mind than they actually are – seeing the list will give you the ability to assess your time and create a time management strategy or reset expectations with your stakeholders. (Click here for more tips on Problem Solving)
Be kind to yourself. You own the relationship with yourself, what experience do you want to have every day?
Visualize relief. You're going to be in your own bed at the end of the day.
Apply the 5x5. If it won't matter in five years, don't spend five more minutes on it.
Reframe your thoughts. Try looking at the situation from another perspective. If you've been in conflict with someone and it's left you feeling overwhelmed, reframe the experience from their perspective. (Click here for more tips and tools on Empathy)
Ask for help from a trusted friend/colleague. Open yourself up and find a way to ask for help or the opportunity to share what’s happening for you. Talk when it makes sense to talk. Share the undiscussable thoughts. Can’t say them out loud? Get them down on paper at the very minimum.
When I started this post, I didn't know what was going to come flowing out, but I knew I had something to share – I have infinite gratitude for the space and ability to share my thoughts and feelings with you and those who support me, thank you for being a part of this dialogue with me.
If there’s one message I can leave you with, I want it to be one of love and hope. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or triggered by the world events, you’re not alone. There are many people who are feeling the same. Find your safe space, or find your safe person.. find the Mason who can help you heal the cracks in your foundation and above all, give yourself grace.
Want to discuss how you can increase your coping skills or develop personal time management? Need to find a good Mason to help you be your best self? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing!