Spotting overwhelm

I only realize that I need to stop when my body hits an absolute wall.

The red flags of frustration, anxiety, unmanageability and irritability just do not seem to register as much as my body giving up on wanting to function.

I have a wonderful busy life, juggling clinic management and massage treatments. I organize social media, website work, manage a team of 45 and give on average 10 hours of treatment a week. As with anybody else, I also have social commitments, family events, phone calls and that last on the list requirement of exercise!

The modern life is a high functioning, list making, goal attaining one. There is little time given to just being. We are human beings, not human doings. Too often it takes the body to break down to tell us we need to slow down and witness the present moment.

I write this whilst under a blanket on the couch. This is progress as I have spent the last 3 days literally eating and watching films. Now days of doing just that, to me, sounds like heaven, as I’m an innately cozy seeking, lazy kind of person. However I only ever give myself this kind of at home holiday when I am on the floor ill.

Spotting overwhelm

I turned up at work on Monday and just felt like I was tired and pissed off. Everything felt like a total effort and all a bit much, despite the tasks in front of me not being particularly challenging at all. It was only half way through the day when I got a call to come to the front desk and as I dashed to pass along the hallway, I noticed how dizzy and jaded I felt, that I finally figured out that I was unwell.

I have been working 6 day weeks so that I could make up for lost time when I attend a course down in Brighton. Everything is aimed towards meeting the right amount of work hours, whilst packing in two courses and saving as much as possible to buy a friends barn out in Sweden, do it up and have my own home. Great goals, great aspirations, but in those plans, there was not a moment to JUST BE scheduled up to the nth degree. So what happened? I got so sick that I had to cancel the course anyway!

The past few days have given me time to reflect.

Red flags I will watch out for when I am approaching overwhelm:

  1. When I am looking at my calendar and micro managing 3 months ahead and already deciding that I don’t have enough time / money / resources.
  2. Essentially If I am trying to control everything in order to feel safe and secure, then I know that I do not trust the flow of life. I am acting through fear instead of having faith that everything will unravel as it should. Not to evade from taking responsibility but to accept that I am not the master of the universe!!
  3. If one of my best friends call me and I do not have time to speak to them or even know when I am going to get time to speak to them. When my reaction is that I am resentful, then that is a red flag.
  4. When I buy food so that I can create really quick and simple healthy dishes, but then don’t get the time to actually make any of it and the food goes to waste.
  5. When I am cranky, finding tasks that I normally enjoy awkward, complicated and aggravating.
  6. When I get tight chested and feel like I am not really breathing.

Other signs of being overwhelmed can be general unhappiness or Depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation.

sh_nutrition-b.fastAs much as possible I try to stay healthy and well, not just for my work but for my happiness in mind and body. I drink lemon water every morning when i remember to. I eat porridge religiously with nuts, banana and honey.

I often take vitamin supplements.

I try to take time each morning to calm my busy mind in meditation.

Everyday I speak to somebody I love to see how they are doing.

I book in monthly treatments to get that sense of well being that I value so highly from Holistic work.


The power of retrospect is a great thing. I do sincerely hope that I will see the next mountain of overwhelm coming from a bit further away.

I wish you a healthy, fruitful spring, with plenty of blank spots in your diary to just be.

Yours sincerely a Human Beeeeing!

Sophie McNicholas   Clinic Manager and Massage Practitioner