When Change Becomes Overwhelming
It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colours, the air is getting cooler, and the sweaters are getting progressively thicker. I don’t know about you, but this season of new beginnings is hitting me a bit differently this time around. Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting about where I am in life, where I want to go, and how I want to get there. But mostly, I’ve been thinking about the things in my life that I’m ready to let go of, just like the trees are letting go of their leaves. And let me tell you, there’s a scary amount of things that I need to release my grip on and I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed about it all.
Because here’s the thing about change. We’re all so reluctant to go through it, yet we know it’s inevitable and deep down (like, really deep down) we know that it’s good for us. We’re just not okay with getting uncomfortable for a little bit. More often than not, we get excited about change on the surface but we actually end up feeling more anxious and stressed out on the inside.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. The world is moving faster than ever right now and it’s very easy to get caught up in the midst of it all. Especially with this new period of isolation, it’s more important than ever to stay grounded and find stability in soothing activities.
Here are a few tips I’ve found to be useful when dealing with some of those overwhelming feelings this fall.
“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.” – Unknown
As soon as you start to feel like you’re getting overwhelmed, an important first step is to recognize the need to put self-care—whatever that may look like for you—at the top of your priority list. Whether it’s meditating, journaling, taking a walk in nature, cleaning your workspace, cooking a nutritious meal, or writing a gratitude list, put some time aside just for yourself and nobody else. No really, write it into your calendar if you have to.
Don’t wait until your ship begins to sink before you start taking concrete action for your own wellbeing. Remember, showing up as your best self every day means thriving, not just surviving.
Practice mindful movement… or any movement, really
As a yoga teacher, I might be slightly biased about this but believe me when I say that mindful movement activities like yoga work wonders when it comes to settling into a more relaxed and grounded state of mind. Even a walk in nature can be a mindful exercise if performed with awareness.
The idea behind all these mindful activities is to get you out of your head and into your body. Notice how you feel when you do these things, and then take this increased body awareness into your daily life. Do your shoulders creep up when you feel tense? Does your breath shorten when you’re faced with a difficult conversation? Do you clench your jaw when you’re anxious?
Your body is very good at giving you signals about how you really feel. Yes, it’s much better at it than your mind is. Over time, recognizing and responding to these signals can really help you navigate life with more ease as your body awareness lets you tune into the present moment.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, try to slow down and check in with yourself often. It’s easy to feel like you need to be on the go all the time, but frantic rushing only stirs up more activity, which can strongly impact the quality of your work and relationships. Take control of your perception of time instead of letting time control you.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said,“change is the only constant in life” and I’m telling you, that guy knew exactly what he was talking about. Whether we actively try to keep things as they are or not, change is simply unavoidable.
So at the end of the day, remember to surrender. Recognize that you don’t have to do everything and just let go of your need to control everything. Accept every moment as it is and find solace in the fact that we are all going through this rollercoaster together.
Feeling overwhelmed with life is normal. The most important part is that you always come back to yourself and take the steps you need to overcome those thoughts and feelings so that you can focus on living a happy and healthy life. Let’s embrace this opportunity for new beginnings, but let’s try to not let any overwhelming feelings get the best of us, shall we?
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