Have you noticed that overwhelmed is your default setting these days? While we can’t escape stress completely, being overwhelmed all the time is a sign that something needs some attention.
Let’s take a look at why being exhausted, wired and stressed out is the default these days and how you can turn it around.
Here’s why you feel overwhelmed all the time
What you juggle in everyday life
First up, let’s get honest with ourselves about how much we actually have to handle on a daily basis. Hands up if you are dealing with:
- One or more kids (and all that brings – homework, hobbies, school dramas…)
- Work (I bet you have more responsibility than ever, sound about right?)
- Ageing parents
- Running the household
- Keeping up a social life
- Worrying about the environment, global warming, pandemics, world wars (need I go on?)
While you might not tick every single one of these boxes, you do have a lot of mental tabs open in your head at any one time. It’s no wonder why we have an epidemic of wired but tired humans – particularly women who are in their 40s.
And believe it or not, that is only the tip of the iceberg!
The physical causes of feeling overwhelmed all the time
No, that stress and inability to cope with life are not all in your head. There are legit physical reasons behind why you get so overwhelmed all the time – and they all come back to us having primal bodies and brains in a modern, high-tech world where everything is running 24/7.
You know how you kind of feel fine – you’re active, doing things, buzzing away… but at the same time, you’re physical and mentally exhausted? Every day you wake up weary to the bones and feel like just getting out of bed is like wading through knee-high mud.
This is what is known as wired-but-tired, or for those who prefer a more science-y term, hyper-arousal. In this state, you’ll experience:
- Changes to your brain waves that make it harder for your mind to shut down and rest
- A rapid heart rate
- Disrupted circadian rhythms
- Sleep issues including waking overnight, being unable to fall asleep, sleeping lightly and/or waking up at a ridiculously early time of morning
You might find you need coffee to kickstart you in the morning and a glass of wine at night to switch your brain down a notch. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the wine effect is only temporary and actually adds to the disrupted sleep pattern!
And if that wasn’t enough, there are the added factors of:
- Being undernourished (not eating enough calories, particularly if you’ve been dieting or drinking coffee as your breakfast of choice)
- Having low level of nutrients (because most packaged foods have energy but little to no nutritional value to offer)
- Lower progesterone due to perimenopause (bye-bye natural stress resilience!)
All of these combined mean that you don’t get enough restful sleep, you’re more likely to make poor food choices that further deplete you, and you are stuck on the merry-go-round of symptoms that feed into each other.
How to ditch overwhelm for feeling cool, calm and in control
So you want to stop feeling overwhelmed all the time and switch to a more chill approach to life. How can you do that? Here are the tips I give to my clients:
Add more restfulness to the day
This can mean getting enough sleep for some, but it can also be about a few moments of calm wherever it fits in. For example, you might like to carve out 15 minutes every morning to sip your coffee and enjoy the fresh morning air. Give your nervous system a chance to chill out.
Of course, we can’t say no to everything. But I bet you are saying yes to a lot of things that you don’t need to, and all it’s doing is draining your energy! The world is not going to fall apart if you’re not the one to help with every issue and event that pops up.
Either outsource or reset your standards
This depends on your support system and financial situation. But in a lot of cases, we either need to outsource (get someone else to help or do tasks) or we need to be more realistic about what we can do about those tasks.
The most obvious example here is keeping the house clean. If you’re low on time, you can either:
Outsource to your partner/your kids/a paid cleaner
Accept that your house won’t get vacuumed every single week, dishes might pile up on busy days and dusty skirting boards are not a sign of failure 😂
There are plenty of other ways you can apply this approach to the tasks that get you bogged down. And it doesn’t need to involve spending cash either – you could alternate carpooling with another mum in the area so you have 2 days a week where the school run isn’t on your list.
Reduce your intake of caffeine, sugar and alcohol
Sorry not sorry, these are not doing you any good. Now I’m not saying you have to give up coffee or wine completely! But when you are feeling overwhelmed, they simply add more to the burden on your nervous system and your liver.
Correct any nutrient deficiencies
If you’re low on nutrients, it puts extra stress on your body. And if those nutrients are used in the processes of stress and the nervous system’s functions (think magnesium, B vitamins, zinc…) then it’s a double whammy. Your health practitioner can help you to uncover any deficiencies and recommend supplements and diet changes to help.
Balance your hormones
Make the most of what you’ve already got! We want to make sure you’re making enough calming progesterone to balance out your oestrogen (especially if you’re on the perimenopausal rollercoaster) The same goes for your calming brain chemicals – you want more chill GABA and serotonin and less adrenaline.
But what if you don’t even know where to start?
I get it – if you’re feeling overwhelmed all the time, the last thing you need is more to-dos on your list. That’s why I’m here to help you ditch the struggle and rediscover peace (even when life gets chaotic!)
The best part is that you only need to do one thing – book in for a free discovery call today, and we can explore how I can help you to support and nourish yourself – mind, body and spirit.