I’m overwhelmed. Cuts to the core of a person who fancies herself as a keep-it-together, don’t-show-weakness-or-failure woman.

Some folks react to overwhelm with anger, laughter, going out with friends, talking with a therapist, or fill in the blank. When I reach the tipping point of overwhelmed, I cry. The feeling of tears seems to come out of nowhere, at an unexpected time, as a result of a “happy” or “sad” experience or conversation. I think, “What the heck am I going to cry for … right now?”

Of course there are signs (often weeks before) that I’m becoming overwhelmed before this tipping point. Here are a few of my warning signs (maybe you identify?):

  • There’s a “+6” on my day’s calendar, meaning I have to scroll down in my phone for 6 more events, meetings, or to-do’s. Oh, & the following 2 weeks are similar.
  • I’m heating up frozen burritos for lunch on my way out the door – but they’re “organic” so I feel better about it.
  • I notice I’m not sleeping through the night — when I’m reaching a tipping point of “too much,” my body wakes at 3am & starts thinking, planning, worrying. (Towards the end of a previous & awesome job, this happened regularly for a couple years)
  • I do my morning practices – lemon water, neti wash, abhyanga, asana, relaxation & meditation – yet sporadically & more out of sheer survival than for enjoyment, fulfillment, or self-care.
  • Time with Jim deteriorates. I’m too distracted for time hanging out, getting outdoors, or intimacy.
  • I’m out of touch with my family.
  • My dogs don’t get their morning walk, & I’m flying in / out the door through the day saying, “I love you, I’m sorry, I promise we’ll walk, snuggle, play when I get back.”
  • My hair sheds more. My digestion goes haywire.
  • I procrastinate – more than I already do – because I just don’t know where to even BEGIN.

And then one day I come home & cry. My body finally says, “Look sister, once AGAIN, this isn’t working for you. Time to let the flood gates open.”

I’m still overwhelmed with too much on my plate mentally & emotionally – yet admitting it to myself & letting myself cry releases some of the self-imposed pressure.

So here I am, writing a blog post in the middle of it.

I haven’t graduated from periods of overwhelm. Seems to be a lifelong learning course for me =). My ongoing lessons include:

  • Notice subtle signs in my body, mental state, sleeping & eating patterns. Early.
  • Go easy on judging myself for getting myself into this overwhelm. Again.
  • Delegate. People want to help, work together, be part of something bigger.
  • Say “No.” To projects better suited to someone else’s time, talent, passion.
  • Say “Yes.” To self-care – to quality sleep, cooking good food, making time for yoga on & off the mat. To spending time with my husband/dogs/family/friends, getting outdoors. (Connecting Heart & Mind came across my email this morning … so I said “Yes.” The practice deserves sharing!)

Maybe you’re like my husband, who takes most of life in stride & doesn’t let much get to him. Maybe you’re like me, who works through periods of “Gaaaaaahhhhh! It’s all too much!” There’s room for all of us. We’ve each got our “stuff” we’re working through, learning from, to become the True version of our Selves (1.3).

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Let’s just take things one day at a time.


Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

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