So many clients come to me with deep sense of being overwhelmed by life. Sometimes it’s the circumstances they find themselves in and sometimes it’s a more entrenched, way of feeling that pervades their everyday lives. Whatever the source, it’s draining and sucks all the joy out of life.
At this time of year overwhelm becomes a regular visitor to many of us as we struggle to meet the demands of others and ourselves during December.
What causes us to feel overwhelmed?
Overwhelm often arises because we’re not holding our boundaries. These may be external boundaries with others or internal boundaries with ourselves. When our boundaries are breached we feel out of control and that’s uncomfortable.
We face unrelenting demands in the lead up to Christmas. Whether you’ve young children with a list as long as their arm or endless evenings of Christmas socialising or a punishing schedule at work as you try to complete tasks before the year end. They all take their toll – and in our desire to say yes to everyone we put our own needs right at the bottom of the pile.
More insidious still are the expectations we set ourselves which infringe our own internal boundaries. Flooded with images of happy families, beautiful homes and delicious food we push ourselves to be deliver the undeliverable. Our perfectionism goes into overdrive as we trawl the shops late into the evening and then even later online trying to buy the best presents, create amazing menus and decorate every space in the house.
So how can we limit this feeling and get a better perspective this month?
People often feel guilty for prioritising themselves – but what good is the mother who’s so exhausted by Christmas day that she’s resentful and angry with everyone. What’s the point of showing up at a party only to spend the evening feeling bored and wishing the time away. How many people have burned the midnight oil trying to get everything finished then sleep their way through Christmas and end up with burn out.
Take back control and find your boundaries!
Learn to say no without feeling guilty – you’ll be a better person for it and can actually give so much more to others when you’re OK. It’s not selfish to put a limit on what you can achieve. We’re not superheroes actually and trying to pretend you are is not doing anyone any good. Ask for help, say no when you need to and manage the expectations of others so they know where your limits are. That way the efforts you do make will be genuine and others will appreciate them much more.
Rein in your own perfectionism and prioritise what’s really important to you. Those insta posts with beautifully decorated homes perhaps don’t show the take out containers from the last three nights as the cooking never happened. No one’s doing it all. Decide what’s important to you and stick with it – comparison sucks the joy out of life. You do you and let everyone else get on with what they’re doing.
Hopefully by new year you’ll feel relaxed, rested and ready for 2023!