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Dealing with overwhelm and signs of burnout – starting with the knicker drawer


For most of us, we only notice we are overwhelmed when we are unable to function as normal, so busy are we spinning plates and keeping everything together, being modern-day superheroes.  Then we react to provocation in a way we wouldn’t normally and inevitably feel disappointed with ourselves. 

I’ve had this experience a few times this month, life throwing curveballs, unexpected practical issues to deal with, slightly too much responsibility and on top of that the scourge of “other people’s opinions” which can feel rather loud lately, I think we can all agree. 

When I experience overwhelm, and I’m fortunate that this doesn’t happen to me often, I try to rest more, (I mean actually do nothing, lounge on the sofa, so unlike me!) eat more organic vegetables and sprouted seeds and beans, remember to take my supplements and drink more water. I then try to spend some time doing really simple tasks which will make life a tiny bit better and more manageable. Like, tidy up my underwear drawer. No, really. As comical as it sounds, this has become such a grounding and centering habit for me when everything else feels all ‘too much’.

And life feels easier when things are easier to find, somehow. I love the act of simplifying through tidying, donating, and recycling. I’m not sure how I manage to accumulate so many belongings in my life, or how I can be so emotionally attached to so many things, but there is something really great about having a ‘donate’ box  and a ‘recycling’ bag in the airing cupboard and just taking time to ask myself “Do I need this, do I love this, do I use this?”

Not having to step over things or search for things makes the beginning of the day feel so much more spacious somehow and makes me also think “Do I want to be available for every text, WhatsApp message, email, and notification? Or shall I just give myself a break here and take an evening off replying?”

I find once I start to re-assess my priorities, my wants and needs and get back to my inner self, I’m able to contribute more, be more boundaried, take less sh*t, and generally have a nicer time. And isn’t that what we all want? 

Clare Honeyfield is a coach working with entrepreneurs and creatives.

You will find her on social media raving about all things ‘creativity, courage and community.

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