Moving Through Overwhelm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with life lately. In the past few weeks, I was in a car accident (no one was hurt, thankfully, but I was driving my parents’ car). After that, I ended up getting my own car (yay!); however, the process of getting there was a little stressful since I had to rearrange my schedule to look, sign papers, etc. Additionally, I’ve been feeling like I’m behind on my business-related work, dealing with issues with my ex more recently (Venus retrograde, perhaps?), and just day-to-day life.

During this time, I’ve really had to remind myself and practice staying calm, at peace, grounded and centered.  And I say remind myself because even as the calm coach, I, too, have to remember to practice what I preach: Peace is a choice, and it’s up to me to actually do the things that bring me peace because my inner peace is inside of me, no matter what’s going on around me. With that said, here are some of the things I’ve been doing, just in case you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, too:

1. Pause and breathe.

If you’re anything like me, when you’re stressed, you can find yourself overthinking and overanalyzing things, which — of course — leads to more stress because you’re probably thinking of all the things that might go wrong. Or, you’re obsessing over your to-do list, wondering how it will all get done.

When you have these moments, stop (and you can do like I do sometimes and literally tell yourself to “stop” out loud). Bring yourself back to the present moment, and take 5 to 10 few deep breaths. As you inhale, fill your belly with air like a balloon and count to four. And as you exhale, bring your belly button back towards your spine, counting to four.

2. Release any physical tension. 

As you may already know, we often physically hold on to stress, and it’s usually unconscious — we don’t realize we’re doing it.  Most commonly, we hunch our shoulders by our ears, clench our jaw, furrow our brows.

So, when you notice that you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to scan your body, starting at the top of your head and going down to your feet. As you do this, breathe deeply and note if you’re tense in any area of your body; if you are, relax that area. (This is also a good practice to get in the habit of doing regularly).

3. Stay present and focused.

Like I mentioned before, thinking too much about the future is a big cause of our overwhelm (trust me, I know). Being mindful and staying present, brings you inner peace, improves your mood, reduces anxiety, and brings emotional balance.

Some ways to practice mindfulness are:

4. Practice gratitude. 

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to have a “woe is me” attitude and feel sorry for yourself, like nothing is going right. Taking time to focus on the positives in your life and what you have to be thankful for brings you more joy, calm, and contentment. A couple of ways to do this:

  1. Start a gratitude journal, and every day, write down three to five things you’re thankful for or positive things that happened during the day.
  2. When you feel stressed, take a couple of minutes or so to write down everything you can think of that is going well for you.

5. Choose a different thought and affirm.

It’s challenging to just change how you feel from one minute to the next, especially when you have a lot going on. But, one (relatively) simple way to start feeling better is to choose to think differently (because generally, our emotions come from our thoughts). Again, you can literally tell yourself to “stop” when you feel yourself going down the path of thoughts that don’t serve you. Then,  bring your awareness to what’s actually going on in the moment. You can also use affirmations or reminders to shift gears. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • All is well.
  • Trust the process.
  • Focus on one thing at time.
  • Life/Spirit/God/the Universe is conspiring in my favor.
  • Everything is working for my good.
  • I got this.

Do you have another suggestion you would add? Do any of these resonate with you? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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