Overwhelm. As an Earth Warrior this is one of our biggest adversaries. It can swoop in and take the wind out of out sails, stopping us in our tracks. In my mind there are a few different types of overwhelm in our lives, and they do all interrelate but today I’m focusing on the big common one: overwhelm at the state of the world. By crikey, everywhere we look these days there’s another critical disaster. Then along comes a federal election and all the things we care about become political footballs, or they fall off the radar entirely. I don’t know which is more insulting! Too much to do too little time, and noone to help. Too hard, too big, too scary. It’s easy to spin out and feel small and insignificant.
You are not though. Not at all. Not even a little bit small or insignificant or powerless.
If you find yourself in this place (and hey, we’ve all been there), try some of these tips to stand up as the radiant Earth Warrior that you are and shine your light in the world.
1. Call Captain Planet
Haha nah… aside from the obvious technical challenges there, as I recall that particular super hero (marvellous as he was) had to get his arse saved by the Planeteers every single episode, and not only did they do that but they sorted out whatever the original problem was themselves. He was more of a cheerleader, a moral support person who believed in their ability to solve the problem at hand. Glass half full kinda guy. If you have one of those in your life or a fellow group of Planeteers it really helps to debrief. Reach out. Feel supported, and know you’re not alone.
Writing things down always helps to pull me out of an overwhelm spiral. It’s like the thoughts creating overwhelm are surface scum which is obscuring sunlight from penetrating the water column. Writing it out works for me like a big pool scoop, clearing that scum so I can see the whole picture with perspective and start to work out what my next best step is, and usually it also highlights where I had been getting stuck and need to ask for help or do some work on. My favourite here is the ‘Shitty First Draft’ (SFD) method discussed by Brené Brown in Rising Strong. Set yourself just 15 minutes or so and brain dump whatever is in there without editing or judging or justifying. Let that overwhelmed part of you speak. If you’re not comfortable with what you wrote you can always do a ceremonial burning of it and neither you nor anyone else ever has to see it again, but maybe you will find some wisdom hiding in there too.
Gratitude is a great way to stop that ‘too much, too hard, arghhhhhhh’ spiral into overwhelm. Stop right where you are. Take a deeeeep breath in and out. Now, what is going right? What can you be grateful for right now in this moment? There is nothing too big or too small. Name what it is and feel the gratitude in your body. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful that I can share with you here. I am grateful that you care about the world so much. I am grateful that there is still plenty of nature to save. On that note…
4. Nature time
Take as much time as you have. Having a ‘time out’ in nature is way more productive than having a spin out. Go place your feet on the Earth. Hug a tree (they are good listeners too), swim in the ocean, stare at the stars, listen to bird calls. Be there in that moment. Let everything else go and appreciate her. Fill up your cup. One of the calling cards of overwhelm is the feeling of too-big-too-muchness. What we are doing here is simplifying. When we are in the moment as Eckhart Tolle tells us there are only two choices – to accept what is, or to change it. There is a strange peace that comes with that idea. Go be a human being for a bit.
5. 3 + 4 = 10
Let’s pair this nature time with gratitude and switch gears. When we focus on the problem the problem grows. We have all seen this with politics for example. When we choose to move our energy into what is going well and into creating solutions they are what grows. Honour the Nature that thrives and the many many people working with her. Attract more people and energy into these projects by being a beacon of light – it’s just like being the friend who greets you with a loving smile versus the friend who complains all the time, you know where you’d rather spend time. You can start simply by doing a supportive message on the Facebook page of a project you love, sharing a good news story, or donating a small amount to a good cause. Take control, and redirect the flow of energy into positivity.
6. Turn it OFF
Is your overwhelm being fed by the media? We live in a world where our poor brains are overloaded, constantly bombarded with information. Guess what, we don’t need most of it. It can be easy to find ourselves in the story of having to know everything that is going on, but it’s not true. Whatever you need will find its way to you, but for now, if you are overwhelmed, don’t go there. It’s draining you energy and clouding your mind. You are not helping anyone by taking on more information and becoming more overwhelmed. Turn off the tv, stop following those Facebook pages, put your phone down. Just like the previous point, take control of who and what gets to infiltrate your energy and let’s find more balance.
7. Tap on it
Have you come across EFT tapping? It really is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it for myself or the people I’ve taught in moving through a problem quickly. It even works for when you get past overwhelm and into that depressive place of fuckitwereallfuckenfucked. All it involves is speaking where you are at, telling the story of it basically, while tapping on your body at key meridian points. It’s so simple that you can teach yourself how to do it. My favourite resources are from The Tapping Solution, and they even have a script for feeling stressed out about the world, and plenty of how tos for beginners. If you’d like a private lesson you can also book in for one of my one hour Wounded Warrior sessions and I can teach you 🙂
These are some of the things that work well for me. What have you found good for you – please share in the comments below!
PS. I’d love to be your Captain Planet! Moral support, standing in your corner, believing in you. If you’re interested you can have a free discovery session with me and we’ll chat about where you’re at and get to know each other. Book your spot here.
PPS. If you didn’t grow up in the 90’s and you missed the Captain Planet cartoon I’m very sorry for you. Search it on Youtube.
PPPS. For more tools like this to not just come out of overwhelm but to build a resilience to it, sign up below for your free copy of my 12 page ebook, ‘Beginners Guide to Soulstainability’!