Why am I so overwhelmed? [HMHE Podcast Ep 5]

by Oct 11, 2022

Show Notes – 005: Why am I so overwhelmed?

In this week’s episode of the podcast, I chat about a question we all ask ourselves from time to time, “Why am I so overwhelmed?”

Click below or search “Happy Me Happy Earth” wherever you get your podcasts to listen to the full episode. And please subscribe so that you don’t miss an episode!

This is part one of a two-part series about overwhelm. Tune in next week when I share seven steps to heal your overwhelm!

Introduction

By addressing the root causes of this common feeling we can get out of overwhelm and feel more focused, balanced, and on purpose.

This week I discuss the root causes of overwhelm and dissect the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions that lead to our feelings of overwhelm. And I share why we environmentalists, changemakers, activists, and advocates tend to deal with more overwhelming feelings than the average person.

Below is a brief outline of the show and the show notes.

What is overwhelm?

Chances are you know precisely what overwhelm feels like, but I think it’s often interesting to look up the actual definition of these words that we throw around so often. The definition of overwhelm is – bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something.

Maybe you feel buried beneath your to-do list, your work, the demands of parenthood, or (for us changemakers) the weight of the world, systems of oppression, and everything else that needs to change!

These feelings of overwhelm sap our motivation and our energy. We doubt that we’ll ever be able to get everything done and get out of overwhelm. We become judgemental of ourselves, anxious, and hopeless.

What are the signs of overwhelm?

When we feel overwhelmed we often have thoughts such as:

    • I don’t know where to start.
    • There’s not enough time.
    • I’m just getting by. I can’t get more involved.
    • I can’t slow down. I don’t have time to rest.

We feel like we can’t trust ourselves to know what to do next because we don’t have time to make a mistake!

This leads to procrastination and busy work. By busy work, I mean working on things but never feeling like we’re actually getting ahead and running from one thing to the next without a clear strategy or plan.

Since we feel like we don’t have time to pause and process our emotions we become more and more stressed and frazzled. We don’t make time for self-care or the things we know we need to do to keep ourselves healthy.

Sometimes this leads to feeling paralyzed and we numb out with Netflix, food, etc. but on the other end of that temporary distraction is our same overwhelming life.

It’s not your fault.

The news, media, and advertisements keep us overwhelmed for a reason. When we feel like we don’t have time to slow down and look inward we can’t access the healing and resources within ourselves. We’re so busy “staying informed” that we don’t have time to actually act.

If we’re so overwhelmed by our everyday lives we don’t have time to effectively create the change that we want to see in the world. We don’t have the time or energy or mental capacity to tackle the bigger issues – the climate crisis, anti-racism, women’s rights, etc. when we’re so busy and overwhelmed.

Why am I so overwhelmed?

On the podcast, I dive deep into the following common reasons why we tend to feel overwhelmed. Please listen in for the full explanation!

    1. You choose to keep your eyes open. We listen to the news and choose to be aware of the reality of the world.
    2. There are so many things in the world that need fixing.
    3. You’re not clear on your priorities, so you don’t know where to focus your attention. When we don’t have a clear focus it’s easy to be swayed by the latest activism trends instead of focusing and actually doing work that makes a difference.
    4. You’re judgemental of yourself and lack confidence.
    5. You’re indecisive. Our brains become overwhelmed when we have too many open decisions and we get “decision fatigue.”
    6. You lack self-trust.
    7. You’re stuck in the fixed mindset.
    8. You’re lacking structure in your daily life, so you have a hard time following through with your plans.

Important note: There is no need to beat yourself up when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and if you identify with any (or all) of the points listed above.

We all have periods of overwhelm, and getting down on ourselves for feeling this way only adds to the overwhelm!

While this emotion is common, it’s not inevitable. We can choose to bring awareness to the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions that are keeping us in a state of overwhelm and begin to shift them.

We often choose to be overwhelmed for a reason.

Our brains often default to an overwhelmed state for a reason. Although it doesn’t feel good, being overwhelmed keeps us in our comfort zone. Our brain’s primary objective is to keep us alive and safe. Being paralyzed by overwhelm is safer than making decisions, moving forward into the unknown, and taking action.

It can be helpful to ask yourself, “What am I getting from this overwhelm? How is my overwhelm allowing me to stay in my comfort zone?”

Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to, “Why am I so overwhelmed?” it’s time to take this a step further. Next week we’ll dive into strategies to root out the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions that are contributing to your overwhelm.

But just having this awareness, understanding, and a deeper level of self-compassion can help you begin to shift out of your feelings of overwhelm this week!

I hope that this podcast episode was super helpful for you and that you no longer need to ask, “Why am I so overwhelmed?”

Let’s Connect!

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Feedback? Topic suggestions? Ah-ha moments? I’d love to hear from you!

Please email me at hello@theevapeterson.com

Music: “Bounce” by Coma-Media on Pixbay

Welcome! I'm Eva, creator of the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast & blog. This is a place for aspiring changemakers, experienced activists, environmentalists, and social entrepreneurs to learn, heal, and get inspired. As a certified Ayurvedic Counselor and Life Coach, I'm here to support you in expanding your impact while you thoroughly enjoy life!

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