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Waking Up to the Overwhelm

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“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dream of meeting your heart’s longing.” 
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Thanks to those of you who took time to fill out my recent survey!

The results are eye opening, and yet not that surprising, because I so relate to how many of you feel.

We. Are. Overwhelmed.

32% of you feel stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility on your plate, which leaves you depleted and tired the majority of the time.

15% of you let fear and self-doubt keep you from taking healthy risks and living your true purpose.

14% of you give so much and take care of other’s needs at the exclusion of your own, and you end up feeling disconnected from what you truly need.

12% of you feel your work/family/personal life imbalances are affecting your health.

The common theme from your written responses are:

You feel overwhelmed by work responsibilities, family and daily obligations. The amount of commitments and demands on your time, money and energy are intense, and that makes you feel overextended, exhausted, frustrated and irritable. Giving so much and doing so much leaves you little time for personal interests, creative expression or fun.

Feeling like you aren’t doing enough, makes you then do too much, which results in a day where there is no time left for self-care and that makes you feel guilty, tired, depleted, scared, stuck, blocked and sometimes even trapped.

And downtime, space, stillness, slowing down – what does that mean and how in the heck do we make time for that in an already overwhelming schedule?

Sound familiar?

When will we feel like we are doing enough so that we become ok with a slower pace?
When will we stop believing the facade our society feeds us – that we must DO MORE, BE MORE, BUY MORE in order to feel better, happier and whole?

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but I’m telling you, this is serious.

IMG_0910

 

We are spinning on this beautiful earth each day, and instead of noticing the breeze in the trees, the beauty of the emerging flowers or the amazing colors of the sunset, we are CONSUMED by LACK of time, LACK of money, LACK of space, LACK of stillness and LACK of freeeeeeeeedom.

This is no way to live day in and day out.

One of the participants of my survey said, “Women have been duped into thinking we can “have it all” when really, it’s just too much stuff!”

I agree!

There’s so many expectations and pressures coming from all directions.

You see it all over Facebook: 7 Tips to a Perfect Body, 10 Ways to Looking Younger, 5 Ways to Get Rich Quick…

You see it all over the TV (thank heavens we can fast forward): drive this car to feel good about yourself, wear these designer clothes to fit in, take this medication and you’ll feel better than ever…

You see it all over your community: sign your kids up for 32 activities a week, put in the extra hours at work to pay for those extra activities, and make sure your house is clean, you keep up on laundry, feed your family well and on and on and on…

You see it in your own mind: You’re too fat. You screwed up again. You’ll never be as good as her…

Where’s the space?
Where’s the downtime?
Where’s the rest?
Where’s the stillness?
Where’s the compassion?
Where’s the peace?

And when is enough going to truly be enough?

Please take a moment to fill out one more short survey for me. I appreciate you and your sharing will help our community!

 

YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION:

Think about the following questions. Better yet, take 10 minutes to write in your journal.

1) Write a quick assessment of your day. What are the main activities that are taking the most time?
2) Look at your list. Do you schedule downtime, rest or space?
3) When do you feel the most overwhelmed? What stresses you out during the day?
4) What does it feel like to say, “I’m doing enough. I AM enough. I can say ‘no’ and do less and feel ok about that.”
5) When do you feel most at peace?
6) What are you most passionate about? What do you dream about? What makes your heart and soul feel inspired?

Making space to reflect on these questions is a wonderful exercise. Your insight will be helpful as you start taking small steps to eliminating the overwhelm.

 

IMG_0971 Your life may not be perfect.
In fact, it may be a big old mess.

Mess is good, even though it doesn’t seem like it when you’re in the middle of it.

Are we going to stress out from time-to-time? Absolutely. But living in a constant state of overwhelm doesn’t have to be our reality.

Practice embracing your imperfect, beautiful and messy life, just as it is, in this moment.

And remember, you aren’t alone…

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SHANNON KINNEY-DUH

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