deep dark hole
Slowing down, Your best self

Avoiding overwhelm and redefining success

So last week I found myself in a deep dark hole. Completely overwhelmed to the point where just getting through daily tasks of living was a tough ask. I couldn’t believe I was here – again. I’ve done so much over the last few years to avoid falling into this familiar hole. But nonetheless, I fell. Exhausted, emotionally strung out and unavailable to my family. And it got me thinking about my definition of success. Or rather, how I want to ‘redefine’ success.

By all accounts I shouldn’t have been in this position. Giving up my paid job has reduced my overwhelm and anxiety drastically… but clearly there’s still room for improvement! And redefining what success is will play a big part in avoiding future trips down this hole. To understand what I mean i’ll tell you a little bit about the events that led to me falling down said hole…

Last weekend I helped plan and run two reasonable sized events… that unfortunately coincided in the same weekend. In addition to this, it happened to be that time of the month when my hormones decide to slap my around for a bit. And then, to top things off, our youngest came down with a nasty case of croup, causing a sleepless night for the house in between the two events. Needless to say, come Monday I was a blithering mess, just shy of rocking in a corner.

Some of these things were simply out of my control. But yep, I’ve learned (or relearned) some lessons.

Plan more mindfully, say no more often!

And while both events were by anyone else’s definition ‘successful’, I sat in my dark hole, knowing that I’d failed, and that this was NOT success for me.

How could I call it successful when I was completely spent? When I had nothing left? How could I call it successful when I had nothing left for my young busy family. My two girls are busy learning and growing. I find this incredibly draining and magical all at once. Just this, being their mum doesn’t leave me much at the end of every day. It’s just the way my introverted soul is built. They need me and I had nothing left to give them.

I spent three days down that hole. It was horrid but when I finally clawed my way up and out, I brought some things with me;

  1. A redefinition of success. I want my success to look like being connected with my family. I want success to be having time and energy to play with them. Success is caring about myself enough so I can care for my family. Success for me will often mean saying ‘no’ to many other things.
  2. Determination to continue on the journey to live more mindfully and to slow down. This trip down into overwhelm could have been a catalyst for giving up the journey. But I’m choosing to press on. Overcome vs. overwhelm!
  3. A deeper understanding of myself and the needs I have as a highly sensitive introverted person. I HAVE to say no more often. It’s crucial to my mental health. And I have to say YES more often, to the things that are important to me.
  4. Peace. It’s taken almost a week of reflection but I’m finally at peace with my recent trip down the hole of overwhelm. Sure it was painful, and for awhile I berated myself for taking the trip yet again. But I’m not perfect, and in order to continue to grow I have to be kind to myself and know that there’s always a tomorrow.

So, what’s next for the girl who is on lesson #223 in ‘how not to get overwhelmed’? Get back up on the horse and try again.

In between trying to tame our wild gardens this week i’ll be focusing on writing and hanging with the fam’. And that’s it. No coffee dates, no big ‘to do’ lists. This week I only have time to replenish and refill my cup.

I’d love to know… what overwhelms you? And how do you replenish and refill your cup?


2 thoughts on “Avoiding overwhelm and redefining success”

  1. What overwhelms me? Much the same as you I think – not saying ‘no’ more, feeling like everyone wants a piece of me, having a huge to do list, and not taking time out. I’m goal oriented, and feel like it’s a successful day if I’ve got tangible things I’ve achieved. But after several burnouts, I’m learning to slow down, take an afternoon nap when I need it, and prioritize. It’s amazing how the world still keeps on spinning, even if I don’t get all my tasks completed!

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