Last week I took some time off and noticed that on day two and three I started to get edgy and restless. Even though I was on holiday with my family I started to think ahead and go through a mental list of a million tasks that I needed to do when I got back. And I feel that is very much how overwhelm gets created: thinking ahead, feeling the gravity of what is to come with no opportunity to do anything about it in that moment in time. For me, it's not when I do things that I feel overwhelmed, it's when I start overthinking, overanalysing and thinking ahead, which creates a sense of paralysis and/or anxiety in my body. Often a perceived lack of time, resources or skill for all that needs to be done is a deciding factor, too. There is a dose of feeling helpless sprinkled in there as well. When I was on holiday, I kept reminding myself: Right now, I'm on holiday and that is what I'm focusing on. When I'm back at work, that's when I work.
One of the most important tools to stay out of overwhelm is to focus on what is moving through the body in this very moment. The question of "What is happening right now?" is very useful in feeling one's body and anchoring oneself in the present. In Forrest yoga the basic moves of activating the feet and Ujjayi breath are great ways to sense into the body, too. Moving the body, like in the sun salutations, can also be a good method to move out of freeze or anxiety.
When we are present there are limitless possibilities and we have the opportunity to create new approaches to old issues (Dan Siegel, The Mindful Therapist). Being mindful is "avoiding premature closure of possibilities".
We really don't know what's coming next, so let's lean into what is happening now and trusting that we have the resilience and skills to deal with what is to come and by doing so, we will stay out of overwhelm.
Walk in beauty and with presence