Overwhelm – none of us are immune to it. And as a small business owner you might even experience overwhelm on the daily!
I know it well too.
The reality of being in biz is that overwhelm does arise.
On this episode of the podcast I’m sharing my experience with overwhelm and what I do to go from overwhelm to owning it!
The first step is to understand that overwhelm is a very normal human response when we are growing, when our business is growing, and when things happen that are outside of our control.
Not making yourself wrong when you are feeling overwhelm brings more resilience for you.
And once you’ve got that reframe turned on, you can then look to the other strategies that I discuss to work directly with your nervous system so that you can manage overwhelm more skillfully.
Are you ready to go from overwhelm to owning it?
Find out more about Impactful Women Coaching Program for small business owners here https://resources.meegancare.co.nz/impactfulprogram
Full Episode Transcript
I am Meegan Care mindset coach and meditation teacher. This podcast is here to help you unwind self-doubt, people pleasing, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm so you can step into the confident leader you were born to be. Women. It is time to bring your purpose into the world in an impactful way without sacrificing your well being.
Are you ready? Let’s begin. Hello my friends. How are you?
Today on the podcast, I am talking about overwhelm and we’re gonna go from overwhelmed to owning it, and I’m gonna give you strategies that are gonna help you really lower the level of overwhelm that’s showing up for you in your body and your brain and in your life.
So if you are a purpose-driven business owner, you’re a small business owner. Overwhelm can be something that feels like it’s there pretty much every day in smaller or larger degrees. And overwhelm is described as a feeling of being excessively burdened and unable to cope with the demands of your daily life or your business life.
And it’s a really, really common experience for business owners. So many business owners that I talk to will include in our conversation that they very frequently feel overwhelmed, that they feel like their level of overwhelm is too high, that it’s causing them physical, mental, emotional harm, and that they really wish they could lower that level of overwhelm and for good reason.
and oh my goodness, I am not immune to it at all. It has been showing up for me quite significantly as I’ve been moving my courses onto a platform that will house the courses that will market the courses and. My clients or students will be able to log in and go through the courses, through the platform.
And so over the past four weeks, I’ve been looking at different platforms and deciding which one’s gonna work for me. And there’s so many different moving parts, and there’s a lot of it that I don’t understand yet because I haven’t used it in depth and I have been having quite a few experiences of feeling overwhelmed with it.
So there’s that.
And when you are looking at where you are at in your business and you are driven by purpose, you have a vision, you have a goal for your business, and you might have quite a lot of clarity about that around the difference that you wanna make in your community. , this is really important for you and I’m sure it’s important for your community as well.
When we have those goals, dreams, and visions, and we aren’t there yet, it can really amplify feelings of overwhelm because our brain tries to do everything at once. Tries to get us to do everything at once, and of course, that’s just not possible. And so feelings of overwhelm arise when that’s the case. It is really, really important to recognize that feeling overwhelmed is absolutely completely normal.
there’s nothing inherently wrong with you that you are feeling overwhelmed. However, the reason I wanna share some tips and some strategies for reducing the level of overwhelm for you is because if we stay in an overwhelmed state, for long periods of time. That then means that our nervous system, all of our body is in a stressed state, and stress for short periods of time helps us to grow. We know that stress without rest and for long periods of time leads to burnout and sometimes all we really need to do when our system is in stress and overwhelm fits in with that stressed state is introduce some pockets of time.
Where the body can unwind from stress and come into a neutral state or a calm and relaxed response state. And so it’s not like we are saying overwhelm shouldn’t exist in my world. It shouldn’t ever arise for me. I would be successful if I just didn’t feel overwhelmed all the time. A great goal for us to go for in terms of managing overwhelm
Is to introduce pockets of time where we are teaching our body, our nervous system to come into a calm and relaxed response state, and overwhelm is really, really common when our business is growing, evolving, changing, taking a new direction. You are buying a business. You are selling a business. You are growing your practitioner based business, maybe from scratch, maybe you are moving clinics. All of those events will very often give rise to overwhelm, particularly for the small business owner.
Right, because often we’re working with a lower budget. We’re doing a lot of it ourselves. We can outsource some of it, but we may not be at a stage where we can outsource all that we would like to. So there’s a lot that falls on your shoulders.
Now, particularly when we are stepping outside of our comfort zone and something within our business is growing, then what can ramp the overwhelm up. Is when we put two shorter timeframe on what we want to have change. And I know sometimes things are outside of our control, but what we can look at is what is in our control.
And so if I wanna launch a new line or a new offer and I make the timeframe too tight, then it is gonna be really hard for me to take those actions within that timeframe to fulfill that offer. To get it going, and I’m gonna fall into overwhelm really quickly. So there are things within our experience that we can control.
We can’t always control the weather. We’ve got wild weather here today. Our business owners in Auckland couldn’t control the flooding a couple of weeks ago. . There are many, many things that are outside of our control, and that will absolutely lead to feelings of overwhelm, for sure. So if your business has just been flooded out, that’s your reality and you can’t change what has happened in the physical realm. You can only work with what’s showing up for you.
And so really practicing radical acceptance for what is, particularly when the shitty stuff shows up is the first piece to the medicine because if you check in on your brain when something unexpected happens, and it could be a good thing, it could be perceived as a negative thing. It could be like very bloody, obviously a terrible thing that’s happened. . If you check in on your brain, it can take a little while for it to accept reality, to accept actually what’s happening.
And so that’s always the first stage. And if you are in a state of overwhelm, just check in with yourself. am I fighting against reality right now? That will be an important piece for you.
And there, there is another piece to the this overwhelm subject, and that is how we are using our thoughts, our mind, and our expectations. to measure our success, to measure how well we are doing. So that’s basically around am I having too higher expectations on myself for this project, this offer that I want to get out in the world?
Do I just not have the support that I need? , do I not have the technical capability for it? Do I need to wait until I have a better budget so that I can get some marketing support with it?
Am I being impatient with myself in terms of how my business is growing and expecting that my business has gone from zero to a hundred, where my dream is within a few weeks or months and it’s not there and I’m feeling a lot of overwhelm around it. If that’s going on for you, then you can look at, okay, so let’s take stock and think about what are my expectations here? What have I expected to have happened by now that hasn’t happened? And you can write it down a new journal because sometimes overwhelm is like a really stormy cloud in our brain, and we actually have to.
tease it out in terms of what am I thinking about right now? So in my example where I am setting up my impactful women program on a new platform I had in my brain, when I look back now, I had in my brain that it would be, take me a couple of weeks. not full-time, obviously, because I’m still working with clients and groups and all the other stuff, life.
But it would take me a couple of weeks to get it sort of up and running to be able to have a sales page, to be able to have the program logins and the email sequences and stuff sorted. Well, it hasn’t, it’s taken me a month and I’ve at various times gotten overwhelmed.
So there were many different little problems to solve, and what put the pressure on the overwhelm feeling for me was that I had an expectation. Looking back now, it was probably unrealistic given that I was. setting this platform up. I didn’t have someone else doing it for me. I had an expectation that I’d get it done in a couple of weeks.
The reality for me anyway, in this circumstance was that it took twice as long, and so I’d have this experience of overwhelm over and over again through this time. and how we are with the overwhelm and what we can do when it arises is the key to our longevity as a business owner because if I’m gonna fall into that state of overwhelm and just let myself get more and more wound up, confused, stressed, and stay in that state for long periods of time.
That’s gonna be really tiring on my nervous system and my body, and it’s fine to experience overwhelm, to name it, to say it. I’m having a shitty time. I’m overwhelmed. But also, what can you do to help yourself when that’s happening? So here we go with some. As a small business owner, it’s really easy to fall into that trap of putting, always putting work before your own wellbeing.
And so the first thing that we need to do to really pull ourselves out of that consistent overwhelm state is to do something for your own wellbeing. And that might mean scheduling time for yourself In a really busy, hectic week where you’ve got so much on and you’ve got deadlines, you actually might need to schedule yourself an hours downtime or 20 minutes rest time each day.
The thing is, I don’t mind a little bit of overwhelm showing up in my system.
For me, it’s often a sign that I’m growing, I’m broadening into a new direction. I just also know that if it’s going on for long periods of time, that it’s really unhealthy for my mental and emotional state. And so if that’s going on for me, I will do. three different strategies and the first one is to set some boundaries.
And those boundaries might be, okay. Megan, you are gonna have to go to bed by 10 30. So if I’m working on something like this platform where there’s some tech involved that I’m learning or that I’m setting up, I’ll often stay up late. Because I, I do really enjoy it. I love it. But then I keep going and keep going and keep going.
And then, so I might go to bed really late, 12.30 – 1, but I still wake up at six 30 and that is not enough sleep for me. And so then I’m running that next day tired, and I’ve still got the same pressures of getting this platform set up.
We can definitely work more and extra for short periods of time, but if it’s going on too long, then I need to have a serious talk with myself about boundaries, boundaries of time, boundaries of separating out a little bit more your personal and your work life. And I know they blend into one another, particularly if we’re working from home.
We are always online. The boundaries aren’t so defined anymore, but you can create for yourself pockets of time and boundaries that are gonna support you to have that time to defrag in your system. And so when I’m working on a project, I know that once I start, I won’t wanna stop during the day. And so if I take half an hour, an hour in the morning to do something quiet for myself if possible, that’s really gonna set me up. So for me, that can be walking in nature, that can be meditation, that can be having a coffee on the deck and staring out to the trees, not doing anything that can be going down to the beach in the summer or the winter
because once our brain really starts to realize that as a small business owner, it’s never gonna be done. All of the things that we have to do, you take one thing off your list, another thing is gonna show up. . And so the fastest way we can manage overwhelm is to reframe how we think about how much we have to do.
And so it’s a subtle psychological reframe so think about your to-do list right now. How does that feel for you? Sometimes when I, I think about it and I feel into it, it can feel like something that’s really pushing on me. There’s quite a lot of pressure and it’s pushing me forward.
Well, having that internalized pressure is going to raise the temperature of overwhelm inside me. But if I can end my imagination, and this is helpful for the little reframe, is to give some space with that to-do list, like, yes, it’s. I am gonna put it to this side right now, and if my thoughts are along the lines of I have to get all of this done today, all of that done tomorrow, and all of this whole massive list done this week, as well as seeing clients, as well as being there for my family.
You know the drill. We’re living with it all the time. If my brain is telling me that over and over. I’m gonna start to feel more stressed, overwhelms rising. So the reframe is for our brain to understand that there is always gonna be more to do. There is always going to be a to-do list that feels too big, and that’s okay.
Just allow it to be. , allow it to be there in its discomfort and find some neutrality inside yourself. Allow that to-do list to be there
if we can find some space. with our to-do list and not have this expectation that we have to tick off all of those 20 things in one day and we can practice that over and over again. It is gonna lower the levels of overwhelm in your brain and in your nervous system.
And so sometimes if I’ve got a big list, so I’ve got something new going on, and I maybe have a do have a big list. I will highlight a couple of things that for me are important and urgent today, and I will do those things and the rest of it will have to wait,
and that might mean that I have to change my time That might mean that in the case of me setting up this platform, I have to go with something that’s a little more simple for this round of the program.
I think I’ve got it sus though.
And sometimes it’s actually looking at our workload and realizing this is not reasonable. This is not reasonable that I do all of this every single week. I’m going to need to outsource some of this work, and then of course you’re gonna have to problem solve around, well, how’s the business gonna pay for that?
Now, I’m not gonna buy into that belief system that we see a lot online, that you are overwhelmed because you are thinking the wrong thoughts. And all you need to do is change your thoughts, then your feelings will change. Then you’ll no longer be overwhelmed. The reality is, is that overwhelm arises for all of us at different times, and.
We can’t have a hundred percent control on our external environment. We’re just bullshitting ourselves if we think that that’s the case. But what we can do is work with our reality as it’s arising, and when we are feeling overwhelmed, we can check in with ourselves as to. why, what’s going on? What can I control?
What can’t I control that my brain is trying to control that’s causing overwhelm?
What can I give some space to? And maybe it’s gonna take longer than what I thought. and I might just have to adjust my timelines to take that into consideration.
How can I bring in some clearer boundaries just for now that are gonna support me to take some more rest, take some more space to not always be thinking about this problem? In my business, this growth phase in my business that I’m actually gonna take some mental space and thirdly, Building, and it sort of comes in with boundaries as well. Building in that time where you are looking after your wellbeing, if you think about it in terms of your nervous system, when we’re in overwhelm, our nervous system is in stress. It’s in fight or flight.
Nothing inherently wrong with that. Our body will go into a stress state many times a day. It’s when it doesn’t get a break from the stress. And so we need to create those pockets of time, those breaks for our nervous system to come into its Parasynthetic response. Its calm and relaxed response
so that the volume then gets turned down on the overwhelm. , and that might just mean, okay, I’m in a pattern of overwhelm. I do have these time pressures. I do have these action pressures. I’m gonna take 20 minutes every single morning to practice a meditation before I start my day. You do that for a week, and that is gonna make a massive difference.
It’s something I do sometimes if I’m really, if I am feeling overwhelmed, I’ll increase the amount that I’m meditating.
And so again, we are leaning into what can I do to turn the volume up on my parasympathetic response? It’s not like we need to necessarily take the stressful events away before we can find calm in our nervous system. We can actually. , activate that calm and relaxed response through walking in nature, swimming in the sea, staring out at the forest, meditating, doing a breath practice, taking regular breaks during my busy day, making sure that I’m not staying up till one in the morning every night this week to finish this project.
and then repeating that for the next week without a break.
So by introducing these strategies, we are not fighting against reality. We’re accepting reality exactly as it. We are finding ways to calm our nervous system so that we can respond to reality with more skill, with more creativity, with more joy on a more consistent basis.
This is how we manifest accepting what is. And opening up to a greater possibility in our lives. And then, then this is the key part, noticing if that sneaky striving has come in
with out a pause. . It is good to strive. It is good to wanna reach our goals, but if it’s always there and if that striving is there to prove to us somehow, that we are good enough, that we are acceptable, that our brain is like, I’ll show them. That is the kind of striving that is gonna lead to overwhelm.
But coming from a place of, you know what, I’m enough, I’m enough, and I’m growing, I’m evolving, and so is my business. And yes, overwhelm will show up, but I’ve got some tools here that I can introduce into my day that are gonna help to raise the volume of my parasympathetic nervous system, my calm and relaxed response, and then our whole system can breathe.
That sigh of relief can find harmony, and we keep going.
Thanks for joining me on the podcast, friends. I hope that’s been a really interesting, helpful exploration around overwhelm. We talk about overwhelm a lot in the impactful women coaching program, as you can imagine, because we all experience it. It shows up for all of us. And the key thing is to, okay, so how can I bring something else in that is gonna lower the intensity, the volume of the overwhelm?
What is gonna help me during this time? It’s not making the overwhelm bad. It’s a normal, natural part of actually of life, of being a business owner. But how can I turn the volume down? And we do a lot of that in the impactful Women coaching program. And guess what? We’re starting again soon. On the 8th of March is our very first coaching call.
I’ve got an early bird running until the end of February where you can save on the cost of the program, find out more. Send me an email info@ meegan care.co.nz, or just send me a message on Instagram. I’m always happy to chat, answer questions, tell you what the coaching program is gonna look like.
Okay, my friends have an amazing week and I’ll talk to you real soon.