Whenever we start a new adventure we enter into the unknown. And even though there are feelings of excitement that come along with new adventures there are also feelings of overwhelm because of the many things we feel we do not know in new situations.
This feeling of overwhelm is something I hear commonly in my practice. Whether it’s working with families trying to conceive, pregnancy or figuring out how to do this parenting thing. The decisions we have to make can feel huge and important, especially if they may affect the rest of our lives or the lives of our children.
When I was a new-to-be mom I felt as though there were many overwhelms going on all at the same time. There was the overwhelm of my physical body changing and not allowing me to exercise. There was the overwhelm of choosing a birth plan or doula and whether or not to take a birth class. There was the overwhelm of my relationship changing and the overwhelm of wondering what kind of mother I would be. And I haven’t even mentioned the overwhelm of all the stuff you are “supposed” to buy, know about and prepare for.
Overwhelm can either paralyze us into indecision and major procrastination or throw us into the panic of over researching everything trying to plan for every possible disaster.
We often are not aware that we are even feeling a state of overwhelm until that one thing that breaks the camel’s back. We all know that feeling when we’ve just had enough. So the question is what can we do to help ease, or possibly prevent, the inevitable overwhelm? Here are a few suggestions that have helped me and my patients in the past.
Focus on what you DO know.
Many times when we feel overwhelmed we are focusing on what we don’t know and saying the mantra over and over again to ourselves, “I don’t know!” But there is so much that we DO know in any given situation and that can be a confidence booster, comforting us when we feel like there are too many unknowns in our life. It can be helpful to make a list of what we DO know and place it front and center. Color hearts and sprinkle glitter all around the list as a reminder to yourself that you have figured out many things in your life with grace, ease and confidence. And that whatever you are up against, know that you will figure this out too! If you want a little insight into your own personality and what strengths you already do have I created this fun free 5 element Creative Personality Quiz- check it out here!
Give name to your worries.
Almost always there is a sigh of relief from my patients once they talk about their fears and anxieties out loud. Often they were unaware of how much they were feeling overwhelmed (anxiety, stress, depression, etc.) and just by naming it and saying it out loud they are able to shed some of the burden they’ve been carrying around. One ritual that I love to do when I can’t talk it out with a friend is writing down the things that I want to let go of on one piece of paper, and then on another piece, writting down what I want to invite in. Then I burn the paper with the things I am wanting to let go of and keep the other paper posted in easy view to remind me to focus on what I DO want. This simple ritual is magic! If your interested in some other easy rituals that you can incorporate into your life, I did a short little solo podcast on my podcast The Messy Middle all about it! You can listen in here!
With our ability to google anything under the sun and find answers with one finger swipe, actually giving yourself a break from taking in information can allow the space needed to digest whatever information you are already chewing on. The spleen in Chinese medicine has the role of taking in food, information, thoughts, feelings, etc. and then transforming them into something that we can physically or metaphorically digest. If we are too full with information overload then our spleen becomes fatigued and bogged down keeping us stuck in the overwhelm cycle.
Support your Middle.
In Chinese Medicine there is an entire school dedicated to supporting the spleen and stomach. It is thought that the center is where all things are balanced. And, Western medicine has confirmed the brain gut connection. The spleen loves to be warm (wearing warm socks, plaicng a heating pad on your belly, wearing a hat), oves easily digestible foods (such as congee, lightly cooked vegetables and bone broth) and receiving nourishment from loved ones (asking for help, getting a foot massage, back rub, etc.)
These are just some of the ways that you can support your spleen so that she can better handle the overwhelming feelings in your life and current situation.
P.S If you want more support in this area specific to your condition, I offer a free 30 min consultation to go over your current needs and wishes and letting you learn a little more about what I do. Just fill out this quick form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.