Many people today are in a state of overwhelm. How many times do you hear someone say, “I have so much to do, I don’t know where to start.” or “I’m so overwhelmed, I can’t cope.” and perhaps burst into tears?
Overwhelm occurs when you are stressed, stuck and afraid to tackle something that is unknown, difficult or scares you. It is the fear that you have too much to do, too little time or energy, don’t know where to start and will never get it all done. It is a form of procrastination especially for the perfectionist and those who feel responsible for everything and everyone. For those who have poor self-esteem and lack personal boundaries, the inability to say no can result in overwhelm when they realize they can’t fulfil all their commitments.
Overwhelm manifests on both physical and emotional levels and can show up as tight neck and shoulders, a knot in your stomach, tiredness, stress, confusion, anxiety, helplessness, lack of motivation, short-temper and panic attacks. Each person is unique and so your way of manifesting overwhelm will be unique to you.
Burnout occurs when overwhelm has been present for an extended period of time without being addressed.
Here are a few tips and essential oils to help you get out of overwhelm and back on track.
1. Admit you are overwhelmed and ask for help.
2. Make a to-do list of all that needs to be done. Choose 3 to 5 tasks to do each day. These may be the most pressing, or will help you breathe easier and give you a sense of accomplishment once they are completed. Also consider choosing tasks that once done will eliminate the need to do other tasks on your list. Only plan to finish these tasks so they can be crossed off your list. Should you finish these quickly you then have the choice to add another 3 to 5 tasks or give yourself time for you and your own self-nourishment.
3. Learn to say no. This can be difficult when you have low self-esteem or difficulty setting boundaries. Pine essential oil (along with an affirmation or mantra such as I am worthy and I can say no) used on your solar plexus can be helpful here.
4. Delegate and let others help you. You don’t have to do it all. If you feel responsible for everyone and everything try using black pepper essential oil in your diffuser or on your solar plexus or sacral chakras.
5. If there seem to be too many tasks and you don’t know which to choose first try meditating with neroli or sandalwood. Meditation can be as simple as taking 5 minutes to inhale the oil and savouring the aroma or of going into the garden and really seeing a flower or looking out the window and really concentrating on an object. After taking this time out look at your list again and choose.
6. Get grounded. When you are overwhelmed your energy is scattered. Try grounding yourself by going outside, taking off your shoes and socks and putting your feet on the grass or some other natural surface. Take a barefoot walk, lie on the grass and look at the clouds, sit on the ground and do some deep breathing. Breathe in vetiver, a very grounding oil, if you don’t have access to the outdoors.
7. Consider what you are avoiding and what the fear is behind it. Once you are clear about what’s stopping you, face the fear and go and do the task. Use nutmeg to help you over that feeling that it’s all too hard, ginger to help stop procrastinating, geranium to bring balance and grapefruit to remove those heavy negative feelings.
8. Use sweet fennel in your diffuser to help you complete your tasks.
9. Once you have completed the 3-5 tasks you set yourself for the day, take some time out to nourish yourself. Have a fragrant bath, eat a nourishing meal, spend a little time outdoors, have a massage or do something you really enjoy.
Before you know it you will have completed your to-do list and have a sense of accomplishment. Continue to use the tips and essential oils above to stop you getting into overwhelm and possible burnout again.