A Reminder for When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
How are you holding up? We’re post-Covid but not post-chaos.
In full transparency, my answer usually depends on what day someone asks me, whether or not it’s sunny, and how I’m holding my pen. In other words, everything completely shifts hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute. And at times, I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Tuesday I was on top of the world — I had been able to work efficiently out on the back patio, get a ton done, and have time for a little yard work when I was done.
Wednesday felt like it blew up in my face and I never really recovered. I was constantly overwhelmed, felt tired and cranky and didn’t want to do anything.
But then last night I went out front and got my hands in the dirt. I cut some daisies and put them in a jaunty green vase. I watered a few plants. Cut some lavender. And pulled out some mounding ground cover so my Yucca plants could breathe. And suddenly I realized I was happy.
Happiness Is Possible, Even In the Chaos
It felt like a shiny jewel as it shimmered in my awareness. I felt lighter. Despite the moodiness and frustration and insane expectations of the day, in that moment, the mess all fell away into a vast hopefulness. I almost felt silly to have wasted emotional energy on it.
My front lawn is overgrown but I don’t want to cut it yet because the bees are loving the clover. And I’m loving the bees. So much so that I spent at least 30 minutes sitting on my sun-warmed step, watching the sun go down as they bounced from clover to clover. I didn’t have my phone. Didn’t read my kindle. Didn’t listen to anything but the birds. My soul needed the space. I needed to see that this very small part of the world was doing okay. That there was life and normalcy.
Lean Into Nature When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
This summer, I’m finding that nature provides this gift of space and reality for me. The weeding doesn’t feel like work. Removing sod makes my heart sing even though it ruins my nails. To see plants pushing upward, to find a curling worm wriggling through dirt, and to hear the birds twitter and sing from fencepost to arborvite to cedar tree to my giant maple — it’s like a symphony.
I think part of it is the way that the natural world continues on, even though everything else around us is endless shifting. The world is in dizzying chaos. Yet it’s not. The breeze still blows. The sunlight still sparkles through the trees. The day turns to night and turns to day again. The moon is still waxing and waning.
These days I’m choosing to focus on these beautiful things that are steady and constant. I’m grounded. Nature has become a safe place. My trees are planted solidly in the ground and give shade when it’s sunny. They flex in the wind. And the millions of creatures in my yard — from ants to spiders to raccoons to my own three little puppies — are carrying on.
So if you’re working hard and can’t seem to find a space to rest, I see you. And if you’re part of the women business owner crew, remember this: slowing down can help. Pausing is okay. Take 30 minutes to just sit and breathe and observe — electronics free. Let the trees and the grass and the flowers be your social support. She can help reduce your stress.
Get the thoughts out of your head and let the ground soak up any negative emotions. Let it support your in stressful moments. Allow any overwhelming thoughts flow out of your head as easily as the dandelion fluff takes off in the wind.
Give yourself permission to get out in nature. Observe her in her full beauty. And take your cues from her. She has her own set of coping strategies. But always, she’s resilient and slow and steady and sure.
Please Know This:
It’s good to talk to a mental health professional. (How we all could do better in life if we did this regularly!) They can help you manage your anxiety, support your physical health, any physical symptoms, help you set boundaries and deal with negative thoughts. And they’re absolutely the best for any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I’ll ALL about that! And best yet, many now offer online therapy.