Overwhelm comes to me in two deceiving forms:
1) I tend to feel physically sick
2) I actually haven’t gotten a task done but have been ‘busy’
A few days ago, I sat down in front of my computer and I started to feel nauseous. I flipped through emails and surfed the internet. I couldn’t get started with an actual task.
And then, I thought I was coming down with a cold or worse. And so I slowed down enough to see if maybe I was really becoming ill. And as I took in breaths I could feel the line of queasiness across the bottom of my stomach.
I took in more breaths and as my stomach started to loosen a little I realised that I was in overwhelm. I kept focusing on my breathing and my body. With my mind, admitting I’m in overwhelm doesn’t come easy to me.
What helps is to drop down into your body, allow your body to surrender to the sensations instead of trying to intellectually make sense of what’s happening.
The other times I don’t realise I’m in it, I’m unproductive in my work. That often looks like going through emails aimlessly, flipping from task to task, etc. but the to do list for the day doesn’t get completed.
And this kind of overwhelm can go on for the whole day that the next day I’m triggered by it again because my to do list has grown bigger.
Overwhelm rarely announces itself. The signal is usually in how we physically feel or our lack of action that moves us forward.
Overwhelm continues to perpetuate itself. And when we can’t pause it, we won’t be able to move forward on the things in our life that we actually want to accomplish.
The next time your body feels off, go to it for the answers. Sit with the sensation long enough. Breathe through it and soon you’ll be able to tell if it’s coming from an emotion or from physical pain like illness.
And the next time you can catch yourself in mindless tasks without actual output, go to your body for the answer. See if a few breaths can help you regain control so you can focus your mind better on the task at hand.