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.
Intermittent fasting is the latest buzz word in the health and wellness industry….which can immediately make you roll your eyes and dismiss it as just a craze. But, before you do, I’ve seen fantabulous results from intermittent fasting, particularly in clients that have been doing all the right things but still can’t shift the weight or were inflamed, had high blood sugars or poor liver function test results.
Fasting has been practiced by many cultures for thousands of years, whether as part of a religious practice, to conserve food supplies or as part of a healing treatment.
In today’s world, we’re literally eating ourselves to death. Food is a comfort tool, social connector, reward, celebratory tool and much more.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting means eating in a compressed feeding window, so your digestive system gets a rest for a specific period of time. During the fasting phase you can drink water or clear non-caffeine herbal teas with no sweeteners, such as lemongrass and ginger, chamomile, or peppermint tea, if desired.
Why intermittent fasting works
Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a break and uses that excess energy to clean, repair and rebuild your body. Digesting and absorbing your food can take up to 5 hours after eating and during that time your insulin levels are high, so your body can’t easily burn fat for energy.
When you’re in the post digestive phase, that takes place 8-12 hours after your last meal and your insulin levels are lower, you can easily burn fat.
When in the fasting state, your body naturally finds ways to extend your life. It’s kind of like a survival mechanism, where when faced with the possibility of starvation, your body will do everything in its power to heal and keep you alive.
Health benefits of intermittent fasting
In my clinic I’ve seen huge success with 16:8 intermittent fasting for losing weight, especially if clients are already eating well but were lacking the results. For instance, they were eating cleanly, hydrating, de-stressing, doing a mix of strength and cardio exercise, sleeping well – yet their body still holds onto those extra kilos. It’s very frustrating for those people, but also comforting to know they’d do well if starving in the desert!
16:8 intermittent fasting practised daily dropped off the weight consistently and quite quickly.
Initially there will be hunger pangs but if you use herbal teas and lemon water in this period and ride them out, they will reduce over the days to follow.
For best results exercise at the end of a fast then eat. If you’re a morning exerciser, that means eat after training. Eg, Exercise 6am, feeding window 7am to 3pm, fasting 3pm to 7am.
You’ll get results with intermittent fasting even if you can’t manage the exercise at the end of a fast because you’re an evening exerciser.
Giving your gut a break frees up energy for detoxifying, cleaning, repair and building, and also resets and lowers your appetite.
Intermittent fasting also improves gut microbiota, increasing the ratio of beneficial gut flora. This is a by-product from the positive changes of reducing inflammation, losing weight and normalising blood sugar levels.
Blood Sugar Levels
Intermittent fasting keeps blood sugar levels more stable and prevents the constant spiking and crashing of insulin levels that can have you craving sugars and chasing caffeine fixes all day long. It’s very helpful for those with diabetes or those struggling with fatty liver.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury, toxicity and disease. Chronic inflammation is at the heart of many chronic degenerative diseases and ageing, as well as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and much more.
Intermittent fasting also enhances your body’s natural resistance to oxidative stress which reduce inflammation throughout your body.
If you’ve ever seen an interview with a centurion, most talk of eating less, often one meal a day, and having gone through extended periods of fasting, whether their choice or not, in their life.
There’s an old saying “The less you eat, the longer you’ll live” and I’d have to agree with it.
Intermittent fasting prevents cognitive function decline and decreasing memory and learning as we age. And the anti-inflammatory effect can slow the progression of neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Intermittent fasting can improve your heart health by helping to lower the following common risk factors that contribute to heart dis-ease:
- Blood sugar levels
- High blood pressure
Perfect for those with a looming family history of by-passes, stents, strokes, heart-attacks and more.
Ways to intermittent fast
There are three ways:
Most popular and easiest method, involves you eating in an 8 hour window and fasting for 16 hours. This can look like first meal of day at 11am and last meal of the day at 7pm or 7am to 3pm. Set your own window to suit your life.
You can do this every day, only weekdays or a few times a week depending on the results you want and what works into your schedule.
Remember you can start anywhere and improve over time. It’s better than not starting at all. You learn by doing.
This involves eating a maximum of 600 calories two days a week. I liken it to whole food fasting. Make sure your diet on those days is of quality wholefoods like vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc.
This method requires you to fast for 24 hours, ideally from dinner one day to the following day, once to twice a week.
Intermittent fasting is definitely worth trialling to set yourself up to remain healthy, energetic and disease-free.
Love to hear if you’ve tried it and what results you’ve gotten? Or if you need help to get started?
Julie XX (Feeling Great Naturopath, Mount Martha)
I’m just back from cycling a 300km portion of the Camino de Santiago Trail, a bucket list trip I’d been contemplating for over 10 years now. Sure, I may not have walked it like the traditionalists, and I only did over a third of the trail, but I did manage to do it with my family (teenage boys and all) over 9 action packed days. A great experience we’ll never forget! I’m sure I’ll be back again to hike or cycle more of the trail and add to my story collection.
So what is Camino de Santiago?
It’s one of Spain’s most popular ancient pilgrimage routes (the way of St James) marked by yellow arrows and signature blue and yellow scallop shells. It starts at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France and goes right across to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. 800km in total trekked by over 200,000 pilgrims per year.
The trip is sensational for breaking free of the routine of everyday life, to live simply, immerse yourself in the elements, new landscapes, cultures and meet adventurous new friends from all corners of the globe with fascinating stories to match.
I’ll never forget riding past ancient Spanish castles, over Roman bridges, winding down sweeping mountain passes, cruising over medieval cobble stoned paths, glancing over beautiful vineyards and past breath-taking villas. The history, wild flowers, bubbling brooks, local people, wind in your hair, delicious homemade food, camaraderie of fellow pilgrims sharing moments and stories. The delight of a warm shower and soft bed at the end of a day of adventure. Complete immersion in the experience – feeling, tasting, touching and exploring it all.
Here’s six useful tips if you’re planning to tackle the Camino de Santiago yourself:
1. Make it your own
When you’re in Spain, doing the miles along this ancient trail, you, my friend are a pilgrim. Please don’t get lost in whether you’re a real pilgrim or not because you did (or didn’t) do it the traditional way.
This might mean you spent each night in luxury accommodation instead of hostels, only did the last 100kms, cycled it or took twice a long as everybody else.
It’s the diversity of the pilgrims that make it such a special experience. You’ll find the reasons people do this pilgrimage, varies as much as their journey. Some are overcoming addictions or hardships, others are taking it on behalf of others that couldn’t make it, some physical adventure, some for spiritual enlightenment or even not really sure why.
Honour your choices and be unashamedly you.
2. Embrace the challenges
You know there will be many! It’s guaranteed.
There’s nothing like a challenge to highlight your daily patterns and gain insight about yourself.
Talking of challenges. There was a testing time on our recent Camino journey in searing 30 deg shadeless heat where my youngest son had a flat tyre and a bolt that wouldn’t allow it to be fixed. So here I am left behind with a distressed son, no map, no phone reception, no address of destination, minimal Spanish, roughly 6km to go, lost, one flat tyre and no help in sight. Options were to cry, panic or get resourceful. I chose number 3 after a small window of panic. I’m only human…lol!
With streaming tears from my 14 year old we ventured across fallow corn fields to join our rightful path ever so slowly with the disabled bike. Hours later we finally reached town and stumbled across familiar faces. Crisis resolved. There were big lessons learned right there. Lessons learnt for me – carry your own map, know where you’re going, ask for help sooner rather than later, keep following the yellow arrows always and learn more Spanish…lol!
3. Integrate the lessons
Acknowledge the lessons you learnt from the days before and integrate them as you move forward. Found this out the hard way! Pain and discomfort are great teachers.
4. Honour your own rhythm.
You’ll find your rhythm half way through the first day. Go faster and you’ll burn out quickly. Slower and you’ll get frustrated.
Quiet persistence pays off and beats showy bursts any day. The Camino will show you that.
There’s plenty of trekkers who have charged out of the gates only to break down midway through the journey.
Remember the Camino isn’t a race and you’ll find your fitness improves every day. To my surprise I got better as the days went on. At times five hours into the ride I was at my peak.
Be kind to your body, keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion, and take rests when you need them. Drink lots of water and take a magnesium supplement to help your muscles recover.
5. Do the work
Enthusiasm is great. But, you need to put in the training before you hit the track. Nothing can make up for miles in the legs on the mode of transport you’re taking. I learnt that!
It might not be the case for everyone, but, if you spend the bulk of your time sitting at a desk, easing into the walk is a good option. There’s no shame in breaking up your first few days into “shorter” stints: start with 15 to 20km days, and gradually increase the distance from there.
6. Enjoy the journey
Keep an open-mind, reserve judgement and enjoy the experience as it unfolds, for that’s where you’ll find the magic.
Be exactly where you are and soak it all in. Enjoy the mental space to mill over the meaning of life, review your priorities and burn in lasting memories.
Above all join in the catch cry exchanged amongst fellow pilgrims and local well wishers along the way – Buen Camino!
It literally means good road in Spanish, but it can also mean good path, both physical and spiritual.
Do you have a bucket list trip simmering? Love to hear about it?
Fitting in Versus Belonging popped up in my LinkedIn feed. Clicking and reading more of David Mead’s words I had an aha moment. Finally, I stumbled across the words that named a common thread in hundreds of conversations I’ve had over the years.
Cathy’s story was a common one. She’d gone through a messy divorce and was now left renting and raising two teens every second week. She’d survived the rocky transition from married to single life through endless partying with friends, a bottle of wine most nights and a constant cigarette in her hand. It had been a distraction that helped her to numb the pain and grieving of what was. Now the divorce papers were signed, the assets divided and it was time to create the life she really did want rather than getting by. That’s when she saw me to get her energy back, lose weight and just feel great again.
Eight weeks later she emerged an energised, slimmer version of her former self with a clearer mind, greater sense of herself and a burning drive to get shit done as she moved towards the life she dreamt of. Fast forward six months later she was weight training most days, had bought a house, quit smoking, drank only occasionally and ate cleanly most of the time.
Now Cathy’s old life no longer fitted and the friends who had partied with her as she got by, now made her feel like she couldn’t be the new version of herself. There was the constant pressure of conformity, ‘aren’t you going to drink with us anymore?’ Yes I can have one but I’m running 10km tomorrow at 6am and I need to be fresh. I’m happy for one drink and a dance but need to be in bed this side of midnight. ‘Oh, what’s wrong with you, where’s the old Cathy she was always so much fun. Remember when we……’
Unknown to many is when you change your habits, priorities, beliefs and values, it changes your world. We truly live life from the inside out.
A midlife crisis can be sign posted with a loss of your confidence, feeling anxious and disappointed in the middle years, often questioning your purpose and direction. Did you know the best indicator of a midlife crisis is big lifestyle changes? Being discontent and looking for change. Often friends, family or co-workers will notice it before you do.
What is a Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis or transition is a time when you naturally change biologically and physically. It’s an active process of transformation using play, exploration and flexibility.
Did you know every 7 to 9 years we change who we are? Think of how you changed from birth to age 7, then 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56….
Your most significant seven year cycles are adolescence & midlife. Adolescence you’re getting into society and there can be conflict about the release process of you entering into the world.
Whereas midlife is about being old enough to become your own person and the ending of reproductive years to free up energy for other things. There’s no fixed age, rather a range often from 35-55. A Midlife Crisis can be induced by stress, death of a loved one, divorce, separation, job loss, family dramas, social circle, menopause or feeling inauthentic to who you really are.
During your midlife crisis you will have new found energy that’ll attract new friends and fuel your desire to explore life and find yourself once again.
11 Top Signs of Midlife Crisis
- Desire to run away to somewhere new.
- Feel like quitting a good job.
- Unexplained periods low mood or depression
- Feeling trapped in current family relationships or leaving the relationship, either physically or mentally
- Keep asking yourself, ‘where am I going in my life?’
- Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
- Desiring a simple life.
- Recent trauma or stress can trigger a Midlife crisis – Death of someone close, experiencing a health crisis, changing jobs or divorce
- Irritability or unexpected anger.
- Doing things out of character often, to mix it up a little.
- Sudden desire to get fit, healthy and look good.
Why do Midlife Crisis Happen?
A Midlife Crisis or Transition shakes things up and gets you back on track to where you really want to be in life. The more off track the bigger the transition.
In midlife transformation you are becoming two people at the one time. There’s your –
- Mature self – dealing with job, family responsibilities
- Younger self (8 year old essence) – exploring life, playing and growing.
Midlife is about merging your younger spirit, full of dreams and desires with your older responsible self. A midlife readjustment can be needed if you’ve got off track.
There’ll be times when you switch between your younger and older self. Your younger self often doesn’t have the words to explain what you’re doing and can often be overwhelmed by responsibility. This can be hard for people around you to accept.
Ideally, allow time for the two parts of you to integrate so you can find peace, joy and contentment moving forward.
Play, movement, experiences and flexibility are essential to test, rebalance your body and integrate emotional and spiritual changes.
This time can made painful by viewing it as a midlife crisis. Better to view as a midlife transition, acknowledging and owning your feelings and processing them bit by bit, allowing you to make a transition in steps, realigning as you go.
How to Make your Midlife Crisis a Midlife Transition –
- Graceful awareness, acknowledging and owning your feelings. Repressing and denying your feelings and emotions until you blow like a volcano, with lots of collateral damage is not a good idea.
- Take moderate steps. Small mistakes are easier to recover from than big ones.
- Remember the lessons are in the doing. Start somewhere, you learn by making mistakes and autocorrecting to find your way.
- Running away isn’t your answer, rather reducing pressure bit by bit to allow the space for you to grow into a new person
- Ideally, release in staged amounts interspersed with holding on to keep you more stable long term.
- Embrace exercise and movement (yoga, swimming, dance, belly dancing, gym, paddle board..) as an essential part of re-integrating your life.
- Express yourself through journal writing, art or being creative to allow you to discover new words and expand beyond your boundaries.
- Be selective about who and how you talk about the change going on inside to others. It can scare them, elicit judgment and resistance, which can feel like they’re holding you back.
- Release self-judgment, so you have more options to change. Beginning to change creates less conflict internally.
- Foster opinions rather than judgments. Opinions can be changed, judgments can’t.
How long will Midlife Crisis Last?
Often 3 to 5 years, as you work through incongruencies in your life. There will be highs and lows, false starts and tangents before the dust settles. Roughly 30% will be disappointed with the outcome. 25% of these will often repeat the crisis roughly 7 years later, without help.
Getting help and guidance can mean resolving a midlife transition in less than 2 years with a great outcome and less traps and tangents.
Words of wisdom – release, go slow – learn, grow and thrive.