The Strong Healthy Mind Series - How To Deal With Overwhelm

Overwhelm: ‘To be overcome completely in mind or feeling’ - ‘To cause someone to feel sudden strong emotion.’

Everyone has heard of the term, and has no doubt experienced it, the feeling of being overwhelmed. Whether it’s triggered by a high work load, by an emotional trauma, or by extreme tiredness and fatigue, in every instance it has the psychological effect of the emotion we deem to be overwhelm.

Here’s one of my diary entries in which you can get the sense of an example of being overwhelmed.  Maybe you can relate to this too.

Tue. Jan 15th 2019

‘’Fears. They creep in and more often than not never actually materialise at all.  Fears of what can be, what could go wrong.  Right now I have a few.  The fear of it going wrong, being stuck in a situation I can’t escape from, and having everyone expect things from me.  I need to remember that I am in control, and that nothing is forever.’’

I was overwhelmed.  I had a lot of things happen simultaneously and I was physically and mentally exhausted.  Sharing something so personal to me is something I’m not afraid of however, because I know that you all can relate on some level.  And this in turn, allows me to relate to you.

So how do we deal with it?

Funny story, I actually woke up at 1am this morning and had this whole blog article and the following 3 specific points made up and ready to go.  Strange thing when you have one of those scattered over-active obsessive brains, you also tend to come up with great ideas at the most random of times. (Hence why I keep a notebook and pen by my bedside.)

The way to deal with overwhelm is by having an outlet.  And I’m not talking about just one, you need an outlet each to cover the following 3 bases:

A Physical Outlet-

This type of outlet is purely kinaesthetic. Bodily movement in order to get rid of excess energy and frustration built up out of the overwhelm that you have been experiencing.  Movement aids in the production of happy hormones which in turn make us feel happier and calmer.  Being physically active also requires focus, when you are focussed and truly in the present, you are unable to ruminate and worry about any thoughts that you may have been stuck with.

A Creative Outlet-

I thought of this when I realised one day that all I had been doing was my job.  And as much as I love doing my job, I was doing it day-in day-out 7 days a week, 24/7 on the brain, it was mentally exhausting because I was always pushing myself to work harder instead of smarter.  I realised that I had not done many of the things that make me, me.  I used to sing, I used to write, I used to be extremely creative in my previous job which was Hairstyling.  Now even though that used to be a job, it was also a creative outlet, a way for me to lose myself in the creation of something physical and it required focus, directed focus.  Directed focus is actually a very interesting way of looking at an outlet because when you are focussed, you are in the present and away from the life stressors that are currently holding you back from experiencing relief and calm.

A Cathartic Outlet (I also liken this to a ‘Poetic Outlet’) -

Last but not least, a cathartic outlet.  This could be anything that makes you feel better because of an emotional link that you have to the activity.  It could be writing in a journal and getting all of the anger and frustrations out, it could be a sport (similar to your Physical Outlet - a certain physical activity/sport could possibly serve both purposes), it could be listening to music, it could be poetry! 

I say this because I want it to provoke an emotional reaction for you on purpose.  Whether it’s happy, elation, or a flood of tears, as long as it has the ability to remove some frustrated energy and replace it with a calmer, happier environment, then you are on to a winner.

Create your own ‘Overwhelm Contingency Plan’ for when life gets a little too much.  You will thank yourself for it, we are all way more productive when we don’t stand in our own way.  Taking a little time for yourself is something we all need to learn how to do, and yes is the answer; I’m still working on that part too.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you did give it a like and/or share, it will help other people find my articles too!  Also, if there are any topics that you really want me to discuss, feel free to drop me a message on my website, Facebook or Instagram. 


-Coach Kim x

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Kimberley WilsonComment