When people find out that I am a psychologist, one of the first questions they ask is
“What is your speciality/who do you work with?”
(Sometimes they also ask if I’m trying to read their minds and that’s when I need to remind myself that it’s not polite to roll my eyes.)
When I reply that my primary focus is overwhelmed and worried women, the typical response is:
“Isn’t that all of them?”
“You must be really busy.”
“Can I have your card?”
While I’m incredibly grateful that I have found my professional passion and there is a need for the work that I do, it’s also super disheartening that we have come to a place that we have accepted that a woman’s natural resting state should be “overwhelmed and worried.”
What is contributing to your overwhelmed and worried state?
1. You think of “worried” as a stable personality trait, rather than something that can be changed. You may come from a long line of “worriers” and been exposed to excessive worry, so it’s the norm for you. You may have integrated “worrier” into a part of your identity and can’t envision a life without worry. It is not even on the radar that maybe you don’t have to worry so much.
2. You have unrealistic expectations of yourself. You feel that you should be able to do it all; be a great mom, great wife, great friend, great professional, great decorator, great cook, great “insert favourite Pinterest board.” This is a great way to end up overwhelmed, because there is no way you can be great at everything.
3. You have a hard time saying no. Sure, you’re more than happy to bake 100 cupcakes for the school bake sale! Of course, chairing that awful committee is no problem! You would absolutely love to organize a camping trip for 20 people. Or not. But, saying no feels icky and then you have to deal with the guilt, so you just say yes. And then feel resentment. And tired. And you vow that you will never agree to something that you don’t want to do again. Until someone asks again.
4. You link your self-worth to what you do, rather than who you are. It feels that you need a long to-do list to prove your value. If you’re not doing, you’re not worthy. It is hard to accept that you are enough simply because you are you.
5. Your coping tank is empty and you need refuelling. When you are running on empty, worry can take over. Most things feel so much more difficult and challenging when you have nothing left in the tank.
While this overwhelmed and worried state is common, it is not normal or healthy. We cannot simply accept that our lives should make us emotionally and physically ill. One of the easiest things we can do to reduce our feelings of being overwhelmed and worried is to start making a conscious effort to engage in more self-care. Make your own well-being a priority.
If you’re ready to ditch the worry and create a life that truly works for you, please contact me. I would be happy to help you start shedding the overwhelmed and worry label.