We are WOMEN and it is in our DNA to juggle, all balls in the air at once (while keeping the manicure perfect). We are not supposed to get overwhelmed, no no no, we are supposed to handle it all cooly.
We knew this last year was going to be BIG! We decided to rebrand our business. A thoroughly BIG, but exciting opportunity; no complaints. It is also a BIG year because we have to apply for the 'right to remain' in the UK. We are here because all our ancestors were born here (hey, I can date mine back to the court of King James I) but now 'the powers that be' get to decide if we can stay on happily ever after. (I may have to flash the royal connection,after all we now have the crowns!). Update, we're here to stay!
Later that same year, when the timing was right, we were going to move house. (well move cities as a matter of fact) Don't you just love it when all the stars are aligned and the plan fits together nicely. Well, we have a sign here that says, "Tear Up The Plans!" Oh yeah!
Some anti-social idiots had made it their raison d'etre to burgle the offices below our place, not just once, oh no, these are over-achievers, they kept coming back and back and back! (There was a positive, they didn't want our stuff they wanted our business neighbours truly expensive computers!). But, it's scary! It's maddening! AND it is infuriating because now we felt like we had to move quicker than planned. We had our timeline for the year worked out, it wouldn't be perfect (we gave up 'perfect' for Lent years ago) but it was doable. But now this! Enough is enough!
In the past, we would have hidden being overwhelmed and attempted to look like we were handling it all effortlessly. Those days are done! We admit it, we own it, it was royally overwhelming!
So why on earth as women do we fall victim to the epic myth that we should be unbothered and unflappable?
Well, it's all in the training to be a Burnout Queen!
I don't know about you, but when I got overwhelmed as a little girl, it would be tears and stomping, pouting and sulking, or maybe throwing a 'hissy fit'. Although incredibly annoying or embarrasing for Mum, it was completely appropriate as a kid's coping style. Unfortunately, and maybe for you as well, expressing my overwhelm as a child would herald responses like: "You are 'too' emotional and too sensitive; stop whining and whingeing; you're being a cry-baby, or a 'princess' (good for me on the way to becoming a Queen!) or you are being overly dramatic". I regularly heard, "Surely it's not that bad". Well yes it was!
Here's a quick story: A number of years ago Dr. B and I had a pretty serious car accident. Two days later we were back in the office. My first client of the day looked at me rather strangely and asked gently, "Are you ok?" to which I replied "Fine!" Many years later I happened upon a photo of myself at that time. I burst out laughing when I realised why my client had looked perplexed, my face was swollen and black and blue! Talk about living the myth! I didn't want to be that 'whiny, whingeing little girl'? I Didn't want to be accused of being 'dramatic, emotional, or weak'. I was going to handle it all. Inside it was a very different story! Overwhelm reigned supreme.
As of right now, here's the Burnout Queen's declaration! There is absolutely nothing wrong or uncool with being overwhelmed! Whether from too many changes, decisions to make, too many details to juggle, too many emotions, competing timelines or deadlines, or multiple life problems. Au contraire, it takes strength, confidence, and personal power to acknowledge and accept that there are times when it all just gets to you.
Being overwhelmed simply means you are being temporarily bombarded by 'too' many emotions and thoughts all at the same time. It doesn't mean you are weak, incompetent, stupid, unable to cope, or a personal failure. It means you are human.
Keep these few things in mind the next time you feel overwhelmed, and there will be a next time, it's natural.
• Make no decisions on one hours sleep! (That's a Burnout Queen rule).
• Ignore all middle of the night catastrophic mind chatter: 3am disasters look very different at 6am! (If that is not a rule, it should be).
• Focus on what is real for you. Do not let others' opinions or advice rush you.
Remember, you are strong, directed, highly creative and sensitive. You care deeply about your life, you take things seriously and you want to get it right. It's just that sometimes you can't, but it's not you... it's life. From time to time this means being overwhelmed and that can feel decidedly uncool.
At times fear, pressure or time overshadows clarity, but you are a Burnout Queen and that means that you will find the most creative, 'uniquely you' solution to whatever challenges life throws your way. In the meantime...
Heres one great tip!
Stand up, declare it and own it! I'm overwhelmed! Now, while you are still standing...Eat chocolate, go shopping, and get a manicure! (How did that get there?)!
In Calmness, The Burnout Queens