Does your life make you feel like you need three more of you?
I remember spending my days with a feeling of foreboding and helplessness washing over my body. I was always running around after everyone else – putting out bushfires, solving their problems and being their counsellor. It was like I was always ‘rescuing’ someone and trying to smooth their lives out for them.
I had to wear multiple hats, all at the same time – and be an expert in everyone else’s life. I was stretched so thinly it felt like everything got done at half measure … and nothing lived up to my high standards.
I ignored all the warning signs: that my physical and mental health were suffering, that my life wasn’t working for me.
I pushed myself to work harder and be more supportive of everyone … until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I crashed and burned in a big way – a way that took me 2 years of hard and confronting recovery before I could heal at a basic level.
Looking back on my journey, I realised that I was so stressed and exhausted all the time that I lived my life in complete overwhelm, and a lot of my recovery was focused on learning how to overcome that overwhelm.
My life now is very different. I know how to manage my energy, I know the things that I am passionate about and I know how to make sure that there are loads of those things in my life.
I’m often asked by people to articulate the biggest lesson that I learned through my recovery. I always tell them that it was discovering that there is nothing that I have in my life now that wasn’t readily and easily available to me BEFORE I collapsed and couldn’t get back up.
Significantly, the things I have now are so simple, and so easily attainable … and yet so supportive and rewarding that it seems ridiculous that I didn’t have them before. The fact is, I had access to all of them, but was blinded to their existence by fear of failure and conditioning.
Overcoming overwhelm is as easy as implementing some of these steps, one at a time:
- Start listening to yourself. We’ve been taught that following exactly what others tell us to do is the best way for us to live. But … we’re all unique individuals, so you’re the only one who knows what is best for you.
- Learn to say ‘No!’ When you learn to say ‘No!’, you learn to take back control of your time and energy. Saying ‘No!’ to the things that you really don’t want to do is one of the most liberating things you can do.
- Grow self-compassion for yourself. We’re often the most supportive, caring and loving people to everyone but ourselves. Give yourself a break and give yourself the same level of support and love that you would give to your best friend.
I know from experience how hard it is to rebuild your life after a breakdown. Because I know how hard it is, I spend every day teaching others how easily they can do things a little bit differently, so they don’t need to reach the point I did.
Once you get going, you’ll find that overcoming overwhelm will be easy – in fact, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to avoid overwhelm forever.
If you want some help working out how to start asking the questions that might make it easier for you to live your life differently, check out my free email series that is full of articles and videos that will help you to begin your journey – simply click here to start you on your way. There are also loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from my website.
Want to chat? Email me on email@example.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at her website; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
First published on mywellbeingmagazine.com 26/02/2018