Stressed and Overwhelmed

It can happen to us all …. 

If last week saw me feeling like I had lost my mojo a bit, this week saw me heading to totally overwhelm and it was and is time to make some changes.. I was over the moon to have been selected the key speaker for the Tower of London Feminist Fete and yet whilst this should have spurred me on and relit my motivation it seemed to do the exact opposite. I was ignoring the pebbles and the signs that I needed downtime and this week the boulder came along and rolled right over me !

I woke early ( very early ) on Monday morning with a list of things I hadn’t done churning in my mind , things I needed to do .. should do and was behind on .. my morning routine has gone out of the window and I dozed fitfully on and off until the very last minute before needing to wake up my son and get him ready for pre school – all in a quite a brain fog . After one client it seemed the universe had listened because a scheduled photo shoot and a further client all wanted to reschedule .. did I use this time to be uber productive and plough through my list  – study and make notes and plan ?

No I did not ! – I said thank you very much and crawled back to my bed emerging a couple of hours later to binge watch original Will and Grace . I took the day off ! I thought that would be enough … I was so wrong ..

Tuesday came and I had things to do but I still couldn’t shake the feeling of exhaustion and questioned constantly why I was not totally #onit with the projects I have lined up.. and so we are here on Thursday and I am realising that it is not going to be a quick fix and I need to start practising what I am preaching !

I am in overwhelm – the stress that comes when you have loads to do  which should be great but actually leads you to simply wanting to put the duvet over your head.. ( which I did on Monday). And I am right when I say it won’t be fixed over night but I have taken steps which I hope in turn might help you if you are feeling this way ..

Firstly I have asked for help – I have booked meetings with key people such as my uni lecturer , my book coach and my business mentor . I know that meeting with them will be productive in terms of planning and give the confidence boost to see what I have already achieved and can build on.  I bit the bullet with uni and asked for an extension also – I haven’t done that all year but I know that it’s needed and will take some of the pressure off.

I did something else I don’t normally do and I backtracked on a commitment to be at someone’s event – I knew I was already double booked and it would be a mad rush to prep and I made a good choice to make life slightly easier for myself.

I outsourced – I looked through all the meetings and 121 requests and I asked someone I trust to help me do that and take it all over.

I allocated short periods of time to completing some key pieces of work so I felt I had achieved something.

I also gave myself a break on the – ‘I am not exercising enough and I am not getting up early enough ‘ nag that we often have constantly going on – when I could sleep in I have done that . When I have wanted to watch Loose Women because my brain needs a break – I have done that ..

Plus I have unsubscribed to social media groups where I am constantly seeing how productive other people are being .. because that just wasn’t helping!

And today I have looked back over the last few days and I have said actually you have still achieved a lot – you saw all your clients , you found a new home for your community group and a bunch of other stuff that needed to be done ..and everyone is safe and well .. so I have given myself a break again .

Like so many of you I am one person juggling many things and overwhelm is your brains way of saying – this is enough now.. I didn’t listen to those first signs so my brain did it’s job and it upped the stakes until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I know that if I tried to keep going the way I had been I will be on the floor. In our society we see so much pressure to be on point all of the time – with very little downtime. We talk of self care but we pack our schedules with appointments and our self care can become stressful in itself- am I meditating every day , am I prepping the right foods , do I take down time and read the right books .. we can start to self care in a way that is all about achieving and therefore loses the benefit.

I don’t have all the answers and I am not going to plan to stick to a routine that I may not keep but I am going to keep making small changes , be mindful of the messages my body and brain are sending and see where that takes me …

 

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The Other Side of Darkness

Overcoming and Working Through Depression.

It was an emotional start to the week in Bemoore as my Life Challenges radio show hosted the amazing Hannah Armitage of Mum’s Life. She is now making her name as an on-line influencer – Hannah is confident , well presented and bubbly. It was a delight to interview her – and she is a radio presenter in her own right! So it was a honour that Hannah chose to talk about an event in her past that led to depression and her overcoming through therapy. It may also have been potentially a surprise to those  that see her public persona.that Hannah had not always felt like the confident sparkly young woman she presented herself as.

However it is not an uncommon story – many individuals will be able to put on their game face, get out there and be the person they need to be – all the while hiding the feelings which can be all-consuming and prevent them from embracing what life has to offer.

I personally held down a very tough role whilst battling on a daily basis negativity and massive lows. When I asked women what achieving meant to them on the original launch of my webpage someone said – just getting out of the bed in the morning. I get that ! …

Where Does it Come From?

Depression can come over someone for many reasons but two types are the depression caused by experiencing a specific event which you can remember and pin point as a starting point. The other feels as though it just appeared and you cannot understand what has happened to cause it. This could be due to chemical changes in your body – a physical process you are going through ( think of post natal depression for example) or it could be that there was an event you experienced and you are not able to recall it because it happened when you were very young or your memory has chosen to suppress it..

Depression itself can feel a very lonely place and yet it is the world’s leading  mental health problem and in 2013 a survey by mental health.org showed it to be the leading cause for disability in 26 countries. Scary as those statistics are the fact is you are not alone and there is no shame in seeking support.

What To Look For ?

symptoms vary according to individuals – ranging from just not feeling themselves to insomnia or the need to always sleep , changes in relationship with foods ( not eating enough or binge eating) , leading to poor concentration and lack of energy, feelings of guilt and a drop in confidence and self-worth. People will describe at a physical tangible thing which is upon them and Winston Churchill famously described it as his black dog which followed him.

People may experience strange thoughts and or dreams – remind me to tell my own story of the chimp that I created which became the big boulder of a hint that it was time I got myself sorted !

What Can I Do?

We are thankfully seeing a big change in people being able to talk about mental health problems and sharing your feelings and thoughts is the first step to getting support.

Find someone you can simply confide in and also see your GP who will help to identify what additional support will help. This could involve medication and or counselling or therapy.

Take small steps to review what is going on in life – make time to look after yourself and start to look for those small but important positives that you have on a daily basis – even getting out of the bed in the morning is a big achievement so celebrate it.

Overall listen to your gut instinct. You will get small signs that things are not right and if you try to ignore them they will just grow.. Oprah talks of listening to the sand and the pebbles otherwise they will become rocks and then a boulder which will come hit you upside the head.

There is so much I could write about this topic and a blog just doesn’t do it justice but if you want on-line support why not come over to my FaceBook Group Bemoore -Reconnections where there are loads of hints and tips and lots of fabulous people supporting each other.

My final message is that recovery is possible. Through initial medication , therapy and support I ( just like Hannah) was able to overcome and create a life filled with purpose – it actually led me to where I am today supporting others to be able to do the same.

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