Overwhelm can grab hold and give you a big squeeze at this time of year. I’m seeing and feeling it’s effects on many clients as well as myself.
In today’s world we are bombarded with infinite distractions, choices and responsibilities. Perfect conditions for overwhelm – where you get crazily future focused, over-thinking and fearful, letting go of where you are right now. You’re left feeling dis-empowered, disconnected and exhausted.
What happens to you – fight, flight or freeze? Or a you a mix of all 3?
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye
What can you do about overwhelm?
Overwhelm is more about how you choose to respond to the world rather than the actual events. Managing your time and energy are crucial elements and keeping a big picture perspective.
Here are symptoms of overwhelm:
- Feeling anxious
- Nerves are shot
- Have no inner space
- It’s hard to breathe
- Constantly feeling stressed and tense
- You’re irritable
- There’s no fun in your life
- You’re feeling constant pressure
- Procrastination and indecision
Awareness is essential to finding YOUR antidote to overwhelm. So many people unconsciously live in an overwhelmed, anxious and stressed state. Take the time to check in now by stepping your mind back into your body then scan from head to toe like a glass of water emptying – “how do I feel?”, “how does my body feel?”
Here’s what you can do to shift overwhelm –
Have the courage to stop what you’re doing, step back and get a big picture perspective. Do this by shutting your eyes, deep breathing and checking in with your body – how do I feel? Opt out for chill time – 15 minutes, an hour, a day or a weekend to reset.
Overwhelm is literally your head being full of complicated thoughts. Let’s aim for simplicity and spaciousness. Ask yourself, how could I make my life simpler? Brainstorm possibilities.
3. Know your priorities
What’s most important to you? What do you value? How do you want to live on a day-to-day basis? How do you want to spend your precious time and energy? The answers will give you focused flow, which will feel so much easier.
4. Value yourself
Needing to constantly produce, perform and prove can be a sign of low self-esteem. You turn yourself into a human doing to get external appreciation and approval. Are you over-doing and over-committing? Check in – why am I doing what I’m doing?
When you value yourself, you are approving and appreciating yourself from the inside out.
5. Tune into what you want to feel
Refocus your attention and intention on how you want to feel most of the time. Is it balanced, free, kind, playful? What are your words? Now aim towards living it. Aim for progress over perfection.
6. Let go or limit things
Notice where you’re spending most of your time. What’s draining your time and energy? What are you able to delegate or let go of? A good way of uncovering these things is to journal nightly to uncover your overwhelm triggers.
Paradoxically by creating more discipline in your life, you have a greater sense of inner freedom.
7. Commit to less
Are you over-committing your time and energy? Are you setting unrealistic goals? Are you a people pleaser? Is it time to say thanks but no thanks more often?
8. Re-imagine a new schedule
Ok, it’s time to create a new schedule that keeps you out of overwhelm. If your happiness and health were a priority, what would your day look like? What time would you go to bed and wake? What morning routine would you have? How would you set up your day to thrive? What self nurturing elements would you include regularly?
Overwhelm is a very uncomfortable place to live. Know that it is only a perspective shift away and you have a choice in every moment. Is it time you chose, checked in, scheduled and made time for a new way? Start somewhere and improve over time.
“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” – Tyler Knott Gregson
Wishing you a soul nourishing week.
PS. If self care has been missing from your schedule? Please value yourself and make time. Click here to book in with Emily Pettigrew, a Self Care & Relaxation Specialist for 1 hour Divine Massage (only $70) or Nurture Package or purchase a soul-nourishing bath soak online.
Emma’s opening line as she plopped down was, “I need your help I’m feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed and I’m done with feeling this way. I’m on my third different antidepressant and I’m not feeling any better, I’m feeling worse.”
I’d heard this comment expressed in many ways over the years. As a pharmacist I’d dispensed endless boxes of antidepressants and very few of the patients had experienced a miraculous surge of happiness.
Emma sat across from me slumped in her chair, pale, drawn with a deep sadness. Downtrodden, lost and overwhelmingly stuck were words that came to mind. I’d seen that look many times before.
She’d just turned 50 and taken a life stock take, that scared the hell out of her. Marriage limping along, energy 3/10 most days and she’d given up work a few years back because of a shoulder injury that wouldn’t mend and her parents needed constant help to desperately cling onto their independence at home. Her two teen boys were testing boundaries in their quest for freedom as they became young men. She was going from crisis to crisis.
After years of experience, I feel antidepressants may push the reset button if you’re in a crisis, for some people and situations but for others it makes them unable to process their feelings, increases anxiety, crashes their libido and dials up their appetite.
I feel the real answers lie in more than a pill. We’re complex being in our own microcosms. Life is a series of choices and some things we have control over, others we don’t.
Real solutions lie in addressing these microcosms and underlying problems we have control over, which may be low energy, diagnosed thyroid problems, relationships problems, poor boundaries, poor self care, bad diet and lifestyle, low iron or B12…..the list goes on.
Emma was sick of her antidepressant merry-go-round and wanted to see what other options were on offer. She wanted results, something that really worked long term. The emotional pain had become so great she couldn’t stay there any longer. She was on a life decluttering mission.
I identified Emma’s problem areas through thorough case taking, blood and salivary hormone testing, life coaching, reviewing her daily habits and patterns. I crafted a plan unique for Emma and within 2 visits I had a beautiful 50 year old woman with energy, hope, spirit and optimism. She had a plan, momentum, tools, energy and a new perspective on life. Yay
Ever reached a time in your life when the pain was turned to a 9/10 and you asked yourself how did I get here? And at that point realized it was a series of choices you’d chosen over time and doing nothing is a choice as well.
Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to addressing them. I start at the foundations.
Here are 4 antidotes to feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed:
Are you sick of feeling flat, exhausted and overwhelmed? Want to bring back your spark?
As a naturopath, I treat people from all walks of life – young, old, all shapes and sizes. Lack of energy, zip, mojo (whatever you want to call it) is the most common problem by far. They’ve lost their spark – their ‘get up’n go’. If that sound like you or someone you know read on. I’ll show you how a combo of naturopathic medicine and life coaching can bring back your spark ASAP.
Most come to see me for the tip of the iceberg, exhaustion, overwhelmed by life, often living on carbs, sugar or caffeine to give them energy for life. As a naturopath, pharmacist and life coach I delve below the surface to find what’s driving the show.
To find out where the problem lies I assess a few things. Number one is your base layer – your patterns of eating, thinking, moving, drinking, sleeping, recharging, these reveal a lot about how you’re showing up every day and have a huge impact on your health. Small things done often tend to do that, which is an “ah-ah” moment in itself.
As we grow older it’s only natural to get a bit comfortable with where we are in life, but with that often comes a sense that we have to be responsible now so we can live a little later. Life is happening right now and while it might be smart to have a nest egg for the future, that doesn’t mean you can’t live a little (or a lot) right now. Stop making excuses about why you can’t go on that big trip, volunteer in another country, or do that seemingly crazy thing you’ve always wanted to try. Life is a journey to be enjoyed, embraced, and explored and what good is it to wait to do all of those amazing things if you are too old to enjoy it? Don’t wait, do it now. – Huffpost
“Change your patterns, change your life” – Julie Smethurst
Once you’ve addressed your foundations you look for imbalances in your body. Signs, symptoms, testing, intuition and experience help me to dig these up. This where my 28 years of experience in health industry kicks in (yes I started when I was 5yo!). Here you may find a variety of problems ranging from digestive issues, gut infections, nutrient deficiencies, food intolerances, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue and the list goes on.
Now, it’s time to step back and construct a masterplan to suit you. This means knowing how different systems affect each other and seeing the big picture of what needs to be done and in what order. The art is in assessing where you are now and knowing the path to get to where you want to go. I guide you along step by step coaching and teaching you what needs to be done.
Ultimately my job is to empower you by teaching and guiding you along a path tailored to your needs, so you arrive at your desired destination. From here, amazing things will happen. I’ve seen people finally take that job, go out on that date, declutter what’s not working in their life and bring in what does.
It makes me smile all over every time I see a transformation from hopelessness to hope, with a spring their step and a sparkle in their eye. All I know is the world needs more people who’ve come alive.
They live longer happier lives. Having their spark back allows them to love bigger, live brighter and contribute more to making the world a better place. Who could ask for more than that!
Bring Back Your Spark Case Study – Treating Symptoms of Low Energy and Weight Loss Through Naturopathic Medicine
Here’s Lisa’s case study:
- 44 year old female
- Presented with low energy 3/10 and couldn’t lose weight even on a restrictive 1200 cal/day.
- Poor stamina, weak muscles, could only manage walking once a week for exercise.
- Bad PMS symptoms, heavy, clotted, cramping periods
- Bloating after every meal and prone to constipation
- Had an itchy rash that comes and goes on her forearms
- History of glandular fever as a child that took 12 months to recover from
- Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 10 years ago and was on thyroid medication prescribed by her doctor.
- Family history of autoimmune disease Lupus
- Presents as exhausted, dark circles under eyes, dragging herself along…lost her spark
- Goals – lose 13kg, increase energy
- Ran a new set of blood tests at GP
- Tested for food intolerances
- Salivary hormone testing
- Increased water intake to 2.5L/day
- Reduced caffeine drinks to ideally 1 per day
- Green smoothie 1/day
- Reduced alcohol to maximum 2 drinks on weekend
- Daily deep abdominal breathing 2 minutes
- Gave nutrients to maximise energy production
- Blood tests from GP revealed low iron, B12, MTHFR (needing activated B’s)
- Food intolerance results revealed problem digesting dairy, eggs, some grains
- Started detox & gut/ liver reset programme
- Salivary hormone results revealed extremely high cortisol on waking & extremely low after midday, explaining the energy crash after lunch and treated with nutrients, herbs and lifestyle recommendations
- Low progesterone, high oestrogen detected via salivary testing and treated with nutrients & herbs. Addressing liver/gut and adrenals makes huge positive impact here.
- Continued with anti-inflammatory diet
- Swapped to sublingual bioidentical thyroid medication and titrated to most effective dose, now Lisa’s able to exercise daily without muscle soreness and has loads of stamina.
- Spark is totally back in her eyes, dark circles have gone.
- Periods are lighter, no PMS and sugar cravings, feeling emotionally more balanced
- Fluid retention has gone, feeling energised and alert
- Lost 5kg to date
Now Lisa’s body has been rebalanced by addressing her gut and hormonal imbalances (adrenals, thyroid, sex hormones, blood sugar) she is all set to repeat the new skills I’ve taught her often. Super easy now her energy’s back and she has great patterns of eating, drinking, moving, thinking, recharging and being.
Bring Back Your Spark – Mission accomplished! And I’m still around if she needs a reset or tune-up.
Is it time to bring back your spark? You only get one go in this body so you may as well make the most of it. CLICK HERE to book online to get started today. Appointments available in person or skype.
Julie xx (Naturopath, Life Coach, Pharmacist) Feeling Great Health Solutions, Mt Martha Ph: 0438 593523