Podcast Episode 19 – When You’re Overwhelmed

Jul 1, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode Number 19 When You’re Overwhelmed. 

DIANA: Hey. Hey. How y’all doing? I’m hot. It’s July. I think all of North America is hot right now, right everywhere. And I’m very thankful for air conditioning. I think that’s an amazing invention. So today we’re going to talk about overwhelm, everybody. I did a poll on the Rym podcast community on Facebook. So if you’re not a part of that, what gives? Why aren’t you over there on Facebook with the Renew Your Mind podcast community? We get to chat, and I checked in with them, and we had a poll. I gave them several topics to see what people are most interested in hearing on this podcast. So, uh, if you want to have a voice in choosing the topics for upcoming podcasts or if you have questions for me, it’s a great place to connect. So Rympodcast.com has the link for the Facebook group. 


Okay. The poll that I gave them, they chose overwhelm as the number one thing they wanted me to talk about on this podcast. So we’re going to do that today. Before we jump into that, I want to share a couple itunes reviews. The itunes reviews are how we spread the word of all this great mind renewal stuff that you’re learning. Please, if you haven’t yet, head on over there. Leave a review. That would be so cool. I’ll probably even read it here on a future podcast, and that would be fun, right? So I’m going to read two today because one of them is short. First one comes from a hey, Grandma. It says, wonderful advice. We are what we think that’s even biblical thought is so often habit. Diana gives practical information that is user friendly and truly helpful. Thank you very much. Hey, Grandma, one more. This is from Mama Cass. 86 86. Mama Cass says, compassionate and firm. I love Diana’s Renew Your Mind podcast. Diana seamlessly weaves biblical and Christian thinking principles into her podcast on caring for your mind. Diana’s voice is calming yet firm, encouraging you to examine your thoughts, all while empowering you to be the creator of your thoughts and feelings. I love this podcast. Every minute spent listening helps you manage my mind. Thanks for a great podcast, Diana. Well, thank you, Mama Cass. That was awesome. You’re too kind, and I’m so glad that it’s helpful and it’s resonating with you. I love talking about this stuff. Can you guys tell? So I’m going to keep doing it as long as you guys are listening, I will be podcasting. 


So today we’re going to talk about when you’re overwhelmed. I looked up overwhelmed, surprise, surprise. I found some words that describe it. Overwhelm has some synonyms. They are overpowered, upset, submerged. And one of the definitions of overwhelm was to subject to incapacitating, emotional and mental stress, which actually listen to the verbiage of that. To subject to that means overwhelm is usually coming from a place where we are trying to put it on. So we might be trying to put it on someone else. Sometimes in sports or competition, we might try to overwhelm the other person. But the fact that it’s something we do to a being to subject someone to means we’re doing it. It’s something we’re doing to ourselves. Let’s just look at when we use this word, which a lot of people use these days. And obviously a lot of people are feeling this. This is why it was the number one request from my listeners on my Facebook page. When we use this word, we’re using it because we’re very busy. We use the word overwhelm when there is too much. 


We use this word when we think that it’s just too much. I can’t take anymore. It’s way overboard. This is a lot, right? I know our culture plays a part in this. Our country in the United States, we have so many things to do. There’s so much to do. We’ll never run out of things to do. And we tend to use busy as a badge of honor. Like we’re doing it right. If we’re busy, people will ask us what’s going on and we’ll tell them, oh, I’m so busy. Work is busy, the kids are busy, we’re getting ready for vacation. We’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do that. Things are busy. It’s almost as if we didn’t present ourselves as that busy that we think other people would judge us. And if you think about it, when you ask other people, hey, what’s going on with you these days? You don’t hear a lot of people saying things like, I’m great, I’ve just been chilling, hanging on my front porch, walk the dog, not much. Life’s kind of slow. And then even if we do hear someone answer that way, what do we say? We usually say, that must be nice, must be nice. And oftentimes we’re secretly judging that person. We’re thinking they’re slacking off or we might resent them for having the ability to not be overwhelmed. As if we don’t have that ability. It’s not possible for us. How lucky are they? They can chill, but I can’t. We think if we don’t keep doing all this stuff, then it would be bad. So we just keep piling on the things, we keep piling on the projects, we keep piling on the appointments and the work responsibilities. What is it for you when you’re overwhelmed and busy? What’s causing your overwhelm? 


Could be things like household chores, family obligations or responsibilities, job duties, even health goals or exercise, marriage schedules, volunteering social outings to do lists. I admit, though, when I asked you what’s causing overwhelm for you and then I gave that list, it kind of was like a trick question. And I made it sound like all those things are actually what’s causing your overwhelm. None of that is what actually is creating the feeling of being overwhelmed. So if all that stuff isn’t causing you to feel overwhelmed, what is? I’ll tell you. Overwhelm is happening because of your thoughts. Overwhelm is happening because you’re not managing your brain. All we have to do is take a look at the thoughts. When you feel overwhelmed, your thoughts are probably a little bit dramatic if you really admitted it. Things like, it’s too much, I can’t do it all, I don’t have enough time. There’s too much on my calendar, too many people are making requests of me, there’s too much on my plate. And we blame all the people who ask us to do things and we resent the roles in our lives like parenting or our, uh, occupational roles that seem like they come with too many demands. We make a big to do about all the stuff and we say it’s just too much. And we ask, how can I ever do it all? And why can’t all these other people see that I’m drowning here? All these thoughts and questions we ask ourselves and all this drama we create about all the stuff just brings anxiety and overwhelm. And by the way, it’s putting us in the role of victim. We’re the victim and all the stuff is like the perpetrator and we’re the victim of it. 


Or all the people that have expectations of us are the perpetrator, or our bosses or our spouses or whoever else, or all the just general powers that be in the world that seem to expect me to get all this stuff done. We don’t even name it half the time, but we’re for sure a victim of it. And if you did have a choice, all you’d really have, it seems like, is, well, either I just succumb to all that’s being inflicted on me or I can run and hide from it or take a stand and fight against it. I’m guessing you’ve even tried these things, or some of them, or all of them and discovered that none of them actually work to manage feeling overwhelmed, at least not in the long run. Maybe you find enough relief. You get to muster up some temporary relief by fighting back or hiding or whatever it is. But overwhelm is just going to be waiting for you on a different day. That’s the ugly cycle of overwhelm that’s running on the hamster wheel and never making progress, that’s going to wear you down until you finally want to give up. It doesn’t work. So since that doesn’t work. How on earth are we going to stop feeling overwhelmed? I’m going to give you some practical ways. Of course I am, right? First thing, I want you to own that you’re the creator of your overwhelm. All those traumatic thoughts, that’s what’s producing the feeling of overwhelm. A lot of times they come because you have unrealistic expectations that you put on yourself. Remember, have to versus choose to. I talked about this in an earlier podcast. I think it was episode eight or Around There. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you haven’t listened to that yet, go give it a listen. It will help. 


Because you can stop believing the lie that you have to do any of it. All that stuff that’s overwhelming you, you don’t have to do any of it. You really don’t. I had a migraine a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday, a work day. And I did not do most of the things I planned to do that day. I didn’t have to. I didn’t have to do any of it. I did do some of it, but most of it I didn’t. And guess what? Everything was fine without me. Nobody called to tell me I didn’t do enough. I laid in bed most of the day and everything was fine. My kids were fine. My husband was fine. The community was fine. My clients were fine. It was amazing. The world just kept going without me. Imagine that. And I didn’t have to do anything on my calendar or my to do list that day. Fascinating. Hey, we put so much pressure on ourselves that we have to do it all. And then a day comes and we don’t do it all and nothing fell apart. Okay? Why else do we pile on the stuff to do and the dramatic thoughts that bring us overwhelm? A lot of us do it because of fear of missing out. What if I don’t go to that wedding? What if I don’t go see the fireworks? What if I don’t go watch my brother in law’s cousin’s band play at that thing? I’ll miss out on the fun. I’ll miss out on I don’t even know what, but for sure, I have to go. I don’t want to miss out. 


We add things to our calendar that we don’t really need to be at. Another reason we pile on stuff that creates overwhelm is to prove ourselves worthy. We think, I have to get all this stuff done. Otherwise I’m not good enough. Smart people graduate from college in four years, not longer. So for sure I got to graduate in four years. Accomplished people push hard at work and do all the extra things, and they get promoted faster, so I have to do that. A person that has it together, keeps the house super clean, and never gets behind on laundry. A good mom. Guess what a good mom does? She helps her kids with homework and she volunteers for the PTO and she bakes the cookies and she does it all. Mhm we think we have to do all this stuff if we’re going to be good at contributing or if we’re going to be a successful person. If we’re going to be a good person, we have to do all this stuff to convince ourselves that we’re good enough. The problem is, none of that stuff proves your worth. 


Your worth has nothing to do with any of that. When you tell yourself that you have to do all the things to be acceptable to yourself, you’re forgetting that you are valuable and worthy just because God chose to make you and breathed life into you. That’s it. You don’t have to do any of the stuff to prove you’re worthy. Another reason we pile on the stuff that creates overwhelm is fear of consequences. I used to watch reruns of shows like the Ed Sullivan Show with my grandma, the variety shows where different acts would come on. One of the acts that I would see, I remember seeing a few times, was the person who spins plates. If any of you seen that, they have multiple skinny poles that go across the stage, and then they’d start to spin a plate on one of them, and then another, and then another. 


But by the time they got a few plates down, they’d have to run back and spin the original plate if it got too slow or wobbly. And then they’d have to pay attention to the new plates they put on until there’s many plates spinning. It was not relaxing for me to watch. It was very tense, actually, because I feared the consequences for that person, which basically was a plate dropping. I would think, oh no, a plate can’t drop. What if a plate drops? The plate would break. The act would be ruined. I thought, honestly, if a plate dropped, the act probably wasn’t ruined. It’s just a plate. Plates are replaceable. Maybe they’d start over, do it again, and then we’d be amazed when they made it work the second time. So it’s not like it would really be a big deal. Even spinning two plates is amazing. I can’t spin one anyway. We often treat the things that we pile on ourselves like those plates. We’re desperately trying to keep them all spinning to avoid the consequences of letting just one of them fall. But I think just like if that plate spinner dropped a plate, if we choose not to do that thing, or if we entrust that thing to someone else, or if we just let it go, we think in our minds that there’s going to be terrible consequences. And yet much of the time it really isn’t a big deal. 


There really isn’t a bad consequence. Just like when I had my migraine a few weeks ago, maybe the plates didn’t drop. At least I went up to them and I just took some off and set them down like I’m not spinning plates today. Everything’s fine. There was no dramatic plates mashing to pieces and loud gasps from the audience. Nobody even cared. It wasn’t a big deal. And I’m not saying nothing has consequences worth considering. There are some things in our lives that are important to others or others are relying on us. And maybe we do those things, but then we get to let go of the rest. Not everything has dire consequences. You get to choose. You get to prioritize. And you can let go of most of what you think you have to do if you were really honest about it. All right, where are my people pleasers? People, pleasers. Are you listening? The last reason I’m going to give you today of why we pile on all the stuff to do and think all the dramatic thoughts that bring us overwhelm it’s people pleasing. People pleasing is our attempt to control what other people think about us so that we can give ourselves permission to believe that we are okay. It’s another way of trying to prove our value and worth through what we do. But we do it in the name of pleasing other people. 


A people pleaser has a hard time saying no because they have the thought that if they do say no, they’re going to disappoint the other person. And if they disappoint the other person, that will mean they aren’t good enough, that they aren’t caring enough about others, that they aren’t loving people enough. Because love is shown in our actions and for all. As Christians, we’ve heard that faith without works is dead. I spent the month of June going through James with my Life group. Did I mention this on the podcast before? I don’t remember. I forget what I mention each week. Sorry if I’m repeating it. But anyway, James tells us that our faith is lived out in works. If our faith is real, we will do all the amazing things to help others and love others. And it all sounds beautiful and like we should for sure say yes to every opportunity that we ever get to live out our faith in the things we do, in the things we add to our list, in the places we show up helping other people. Sounds good, right? The reality is we can’t do it all. The reality is we need sleep. The reality is we need some downtime. 


Even Jesus took time away to recharge. Even Jesus walked by people and didn’t help um them. And we aren’t even Jesus. We aren’t God. We cannot do it all. We will burn out. We will feel overwhelmed. And I know it’s hard to say no to people, but I promise that you can and you won’t die when you do. And then when you do, I also want you to remember that you have no control over other people’s thoughts and feelings. All you people, pleasers think you can control what others think about you, but you can’t. And if you say no, what they think is going to be about them. Their thoughts are about them, not about you. Many people will just understand, but even the one who doesn’t is struggling to understand because of his or her own faulty thinking. It’s about that person. It’s not about you. And it does take practice. If you are a people pleaser and you don’t want to be overwhelmed, though, this is one of the things you’re going to have to learn how to do. So let me give you a couple of strategies before we finish. Ready? These are going to be quick for not being overwhelmed. 


Here’s a couple of strategies. You can just try a few and start with them first, decide ahead of time. For example, volunteering at school. I have four kids, so as they were growing up, I decided ahead of time. One event per kid per year. That’s it. I decided before the school year started I could pick one event to volunteer at per kid. When I was done with that, I said no to everything else. I can decide ahead of time when I’m going to meet with people or how many people I’ll meet with a week. For me, with my coaching business, I don’t coach on the weekends. I need that time to recharge and not get overwhelmed. So I just don’t. If you go to the rampodcast.com and you click on that free coaching call link, you’re not going to find a Saturday or Sunday on there and I’m sorry if that’s the only time you can meet, I’m really sorry, but I don’t coach on weekends. I do have other slots available though, so go check it out. I decide ahead of time what fits into my values and what fits into my family plans and goals. It makes it a lot easier to know if somebody asks something of me, if m I want to say yes or no or if I have an idea of something I can do in my life. 


Yes or no, because I’ve decided ahead of time what fits into my priorities. Okay, next strategy how to say no. I love this one. This is great. Especially if it’s somebody you honestly want to say I love you too and say no. You just say I love you and the answer is no, I love you and it’s a no. Other people in your life, if they’re not people you say I love you to. You say thanks for thinking of me, but I have to pass or you are amazing for heading this up. Thanks for asking, but I won’t be able to help this time. It’s the nice way to say I love you and no, I appreciate you and I can’t do it. Okay, last strategy. 


Give yourself permission to make choices. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to be dramatic about your decisions. It’s okay. To decide not to do some things. Give yourself permission to make a choice. You get to decide differently from others. Your decisions don’t have to match theirs. Even with a spouse. We get invited somewhere. He says, I want to go. I say that’s awesome. I’m going to stay home. I love you, and you go, and I’ll stay home. It’s fine. You get to choose. If you don’t know, I suggest you get rid of the don’t know. It doesn’t need to be difficult to decide if you’re not sure if you should or shouldn’t do something. And you’re struggling with overwhelm, and your answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know if I should. Ask yourself, what if I did know? What if I did know? Then what would I do? Or what do I want to do? Or if this was just a choice and I got to choose, and it didn’t matter what I chose, what would I choose? Give yourself permission to choose. To those of you who are stuck in a loop of overwhelm, I want to know. Are you uncomfortable enough to start thinking differently? Are you in enough pain from the anxiety and stress of overwhelm to let go of people pleasing? Are you willing to let go of the unreasonable expectations that you’ve been having for yourself? 


Some of you aren’t ready to let go. I get it. And that’s okay. Then just consider some of the things I’ve said today. But some of you are in enough pain that you want to start thinking differently today, and you want to let go of some of the things that you’ve piled on to yourself. I’m with you. I am for you. And I think, right on. It’s time to let go of overwhelm. It’s not serving you overwhelm. To me, I think overwhelm is just as useless as worry. It doesn’t serve you. So for you who’s ready? Just pick one thing from this episode and take a baby step towards releasing yourself from overwhelm. You’ve got this. All right, y’all, that’s it for today, and I’ll catch you next week. Take care. 


As an advanced, certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast Um.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.


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