NAVIGATING OVERWHELM

 
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A lot of times people say they’re overwhelmed because they spend their days managing chaos. 

Chaos has become normal.

Not just once in awhile, but like...every day

Most people don’t see it as chaos though. They say something along the lines of, “Well, it’s just the way it is” or “It’s out of my control.”

Can you relate?

And listen, sometimes it is out of your control (like newborn feeding schedules). Most times, though, it’s NOT.

We can do better and guess what? It can be easier than you think. 

To do better, though, we need to know better - in the form of other possibilities in how to think and relate to overwhelm.

This is not going to be a full-on, comprehensive undertaking on overwhelm. However, I do hope that this walkthrough will be simplifying and very helpful as you allow yourself to seek and implement more ease in your everyday life.

From my perspective as someone who teaches ease, I watch people run around in a hurried haze each day half on their phone, half driving, half already in the meeting they’re late to prepping the excuse they’ll say, half in the dentist chair for that appointment later today, half picking up their kids late, half eating their sandwich they started three hours ago...noticing any issues with my math here? How can six halves of you be in six different places all at once?? 

There’s only one you and multi-tasking isn’t actually a thing. #markmywords

Even as I write this very article on navigating overwhelm, all of a sudden there’s a long string of church bells going off, several dogs parking (including one right next to me), music playing and ambulance whirring nearby and my heart rate is rising in a very natural irritation. It suddenly got very loud out of nowhere and my nervous system is getting activated in the direction of overwhelm. If you’re wired for overwhelm as a norm, there is no shortage of triggers to induce that state in this modern day world. #forreal

So this is where we start to look at things differently (and naturally, as I write this sentence, the bells just stopped, no more dogs barking, quiet streets, phewwwww, breath anddddd….it’s already working. Okay, here we go...)

This article is going to be split into four, brief sections. 

Why sections? Because if you’re used to overwhelm as a norm, some clear-cut structure is gonna pierce right through that hazy, fuzzy, cloudy norm. 

Why brief? Because making this easy and workable for you in your life is what I’m after here. My intention is to make this process as rinse-and-repeatable as possible until looking for ease in a moment of overwhelm becomes your NEW norm.

Sections AKA “Your New Routine”

  1. NAME IT: What is happening here?

  2. GROUND IT: Can I feel my feet?

  3. FLIP IT: What else is possible?

  4. FIND IT: Where’s the ease?

First, we’ll start with definitions.

OVERWHELM: According to lexico.com, the definition of overwhelm includes the following:

  • Bury or drown beneath a huge mass

  • Have a strong emotional effect on

  • Defeat completely

Welp, no wonder being overwhelmed feels so crappy! Geez louise! 

CHAOS: According to lexico.com, the definition of chaos includes the following:

  • Complete disorder and confusion

  • The property of a complex system whose behavior is so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.

That second one intrigues me.

Where in your life do things feel unpredictable based on a great sensitivity to small changes in external conditions? 

This “new routine” that I’m going to walk you through will help you, if you so choose it, take your power back from the external condition shifts that tend to throw you into chaos, turmoil, frustration and/or overwhelm.

Let’s do this, my friend!

Let’s find where the ease in hiding as you’re navigating overwhelm.

For this walkthrough, I’m going to use an example that happened TODAY (literally like 7 hours ago as I’m writing this) to illustrate how to use this new routine helped save me from a possible downward emotional spiral. 

THE SCENARIO: I drive my car to the nearest bank and pulls up to ATM #1. ATM #1 has a blank, white screen and is unresponsive. Cool. I reverse her car and pulls into ATM #2 two lanes over. How convenient! I put my card in the atm and put pin in. I get my cash out of my wallet that I want to deposit. I press the deposit button on the screen which is followed by a notice saying, “This transaction cannot be processed at this time.” Ummm, okkkk. That’s annoying. I pull to the front of the bank to see if there’s an atm inside the doors and after watching a guy try to go in, I gather that try #3 is a no-go.

I pause, take a breath and say, “Okay, what else is possible?” I pull up my phone and see that there’s an ATM up the street inside the Giant Eagle (grocery store). Giant Eagle on a Sunday...woof. Okay, not optimal, but with my schedule tomorrow the way it is, it’s still easiest to head there to deposit my money.

Feeling slightly irritated at the extra steps required to do one simple thing, I drive to the store, park my car, go inside and find a long line at the bank store front. I say to God/Universe, “How easy can it be to deposit my money and be on my way within five minutes?” Looking at the line, it’s an unlikely request but I request it anyway and therefore, expect it to happen. I get in line to wait my turn.

A guy comes walking towards the line talking very loudly on his phone and gets in line two people behind me. Within the five minutes we’re all in line, we now know all the details of the drama of the last 24 hours of how the girl he was interested in was spotted by a friend of his last night hanging out with his brother. On and on and on he goes telling her he just wants her to be happy while he’s obviously feeling slighted by the whole thing. The longer he’s in line, the louder he gets. The louder he gets, the more I start to lose my presence and patience. 

And here we go:

1. NAME IT: What is happening here?

I ask myself, “Okay, Krystal. What’s happening here?” In being honest with myself, this line and this guy is frustrating the living bejeezus out of me and I just want to deposit my money and get the heck outta here. He’s being so loud and I don’t want to be here anymore. 

NAME IT: Frustration. Irritation. Overwhelm. Impatience. Anger.

2. GROUND IT: Can I feel my feet?

I close my eyes. I take a breath. Innnnnnn….outttttt…...ahhh. Okay. I ask myself, “Can I feel my feet?” Yes, I can feel my feet. Cool. Progress. 

The question “Can I feel my feet?” serves two purposes: 

  • It is a pattern interrupt to what’s happening in that moment of overwhelm (it gives you something else to focus on) 

  • It helps ground you by moving your focus to your feet making contact with the earth because all good next steps came from grounded decision making

GROUND IT: Can I feel my feet? Yes? Proceed. No? Take another breath and keep focusing on the sensation on your feet until you can feel the floor beneath you.

3. FLIP IT: What else is possible?

Now that I’m grounded, I sincerely ask myself, “What else is possible here? I wanted to get in and out of here in five minutes and it’s going on ten minutes now. I must be missing something. What else is possible?” I just let the question linger in the air. 

FLIP IT: With sincerity and presence, I ask, “What else is possible?”

4. FIND IT: Where’s the ease?

Within seconds of grounding myself and asking what else is possible (not exaggerating, literal seconds...it happened that fast), an ATM appears 15 feet right in front of me as if the Gods opened a magical golden portal. It occurs to me that I came inside this store to use the ATM, not the teller! Why am I even in line? I can just walk up to the ATM, deposit my money and leave! E A S E. Where’s the ease? It’s at the friggin’ ATM, that’s where.

FIND IT: Walk out of long line, deposit money into ATM, go on my merry way. 

Word to the wise: When ease shows its self, it may be difficult to not burst into laughter at just how easy your moment just got (and that likely it was there the whole time). LOL!

Circling back to the overwhelm and chaos piece of this conversation, in this example, I found myself in a moment of conjuring more overwhelm by being overwhelmed. I attracted more chaos to me (dude on the phone broadcasting his drama all over everyone within earshot) by being in a chaotic, ungrounded, irritated state of mind. 

Naming what was happening, grounding myself, opening myself up to another possibility and then finding said possibility is what turned it all back to EASE.

I mean, seriously, how much easier does it get than an ATM being right in front of your face as you stand there huffing and puffing in frustration?! It’s HILARIOUS when you really can see it. I’m literally giggling over here. 

MY INVITATION: Use this new routine this coming week. Put it to the test. Then, share your answer to the question below in the comments, “How did ease show up for me while navigating overwhelm?”

REMINDER #1: Finding ease takes practice.

All of your daily overwhelm isn’t going to disappear overnight by doing this one time. It’s in using this new routine over and over and over again until it becomes second nature that will allow the overwhelm to dissolve and ease and flow to take its place. And yes, that is possible. I live it every day. <3 

REMINDER #2: Let it be easy. 

I love you. You’ve got this. The sooner you divorce yourself from overwhelm as a norm, the sooner we get to receive those treasured gifts that live inside you (which are now buried under overwhelm). If ever there was a time that we need you in your own natural rhythms and truth, it’s now. This work is worth it. It gets easier and easier. Keep going. 



 
 

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