A Counterintuitive Strategy for Banishing the Overwhelm Feeling

A red head gazes at nature from the basket of a hot air balloon trying to banish the overwhelm feeling

Something’s in the water these days. I know I’m not the only one who feels like I’m barely staying afloat and seeing little return on that energetic investment.

I know because everyone I’ve talked to has agreed they’re wrestling the overwhelm feeling.

What about you? Can you relate to this?

  • Your To-Do list grows 5x for every task you cross off.
  • Simple things seem harder.
  • And all work and no play has made you a dull boy/👩🏽/👻/🧙.

If you’re feeling like your brain is going to ooze out your ears while you watch it all come crumbling down (with the appropriate drama of one who carries the entirety of the world on their shoulders), I recommend turning your back on all of it for a day.

Better yet, five.

It makes little sense, I realize, when my life was a dumpster fire of deadlines, to disappear into the woods for five days.

But you know how they say when you’re at your busiest is when you most need to meditate? Yeeeeah. That counterintuitive piece of advice is precisely on point.

Don’t get me wrong, I wrote copy for clients in my folding chair, next to the fire, until my data ran out and I was forced to do nothing. At first, I was incredibly antsy, not having so much as a book to read. But very slowly, I felt a knot of anxiety begin to unwind itself — a knot I hadn’t known was there until my only option was to be STILL.

In life, we get infrequent reminders of what stillness feels like.

It’s that first waft of campfire as you snuggle into your camping sweats.

It’s awe at how far the moon travels from one night to the next.

It’s that sense of silence that is anything but — full of crickets and critters and night noises — but a far cry from the usual sounds of a bustling metropolis.

We barely notice that we disappear in these moments, but we do.

And that right there is the gold.

When the world is changing so fast you can no longer keep up: Quit trying.

Just be still.

Whether it’s for several days or one precious hour.

It will serve you enormously when you have to return to the mayhem.

Like when a monsoon blows in and topples your bug shelter to the ground — permanently.

Or when a raccoon eats the gluten-free cookies your friend’s mom sent you from Colorado. 😩

It will definitely help you return to your To-Do list a few days from now with a red marker and zero tolerance for anything that isn’t mission-critical.

You know, all the things you forget about when you just slow down and let yourself live.

So, if you’re battling that overwhelm feeling, let this be your reminder to be still. Especially if you think you can’t possibly right now.

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