Overwhelm, the frantic dance, spinning dance that occurs in your mind and body when you just have too many things to do in too short a time.
You may have bitten off more than you can comfortably chew.
There is too much on your plate…
I am no stranger to those feelings.
Cut to a play date with my six-month-old Granddaughter Iris yesterday…
What a cutie pie she is. Gummy smiles and looks of complete wonder, as well as pea, apple and mint compote all over her face!
We had a lovely time and were also able to deliver her back to her mum, with little Iris having done a poo! Excellent news as she had been suffering from constipation!
Hang on…how does that relate to overwhelm?
Babies can bring you down to the basics and the very simple pleasures of life. A full tummy, people to play and communicate with and give you attention, plenty of sleep for strength, and… a good poo.
Clearly part of the reason for a baby being able to concentrate solely on those basics of life is that they can’t do very much for themselves. We, who look after them, have to do all the running around, picking up toys, finding the money to pay for the food, for the shelter, exercise our bodies and our minds.
I can feel my heart racing again….
And it has to be said that life isn’t all sweetness and light for Iris either; she suffers from growing pains, painful wind, frustration. She arches her back, she screams.
What do we do? We comfort, contain, and seek practical remedies to her discomfort. We rock her so she can go to sleep where peace and mending can be achieved.
Back to adult overwhelm. I do believe that the answer is to strip things down to their basics, be calm, be practical, be soothing, just as you would be with a baby.
This is what I do:
- Acknowledge how I am feeling – it is real. A feeling is a warning and it is also information. Once I have respected its existence I can move out of the emotional hold to look coolly at the information.
- Everything calms down when you fill your lungs, without tensing, pulling up your shoulders or pushing out your chest. Just breathing as a baby so your tummy goes in and out.
- When I have become calm through breathing, I can calm my mind. I can step out of the feeling and just look at the data, the facts, without any panic.
- I think of it as a huge meal. When I look dispassionately at that plate of food I think, what can I leave behind for another time, what can I give to someone else to eat…
- Then I look at what I have left and imagine how satisfied I will feel when it is eaten and beam at the sight of a lovely clean plate.
- I decide to simply get down and eat it and relish every bite.
- Then I give myself a hug.
So then I am dancing an elegant Viennese waltz, rather that performing the moves of a whirling dervishe.
And the baby is sleeping soundly…
I am running a new interactive workshop Breath of Life, Joyful Voice, to help you re-learn how you were born to breathe, which you may be interested in, so if you would like to find out more, and know more about how I can help you to gain confidence (and actually enjoy) speaking, contact Fiona Whytehead at firstname.lastname@example.org.