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Detaching From Overwhelm

By Alexis McCarthy

As someone who loves to write, I try to think about the way in which we use our words and how it relates to the way we live our lives because, well, there’s a powerful connection. Something I found myself saying often – whether out loud, or in my head, was – “I’m Overwhelmed.” While this isn’t an uncommon thing at ALL to say, I sat back and thought about the power that I was letting that word have over me.


It’s a strong word. Particularly strong when it’s being used in the context of something I’m using to describe myself…You see, when I said the word, or thought to myself I. am. overwhelmed. In that very moment, I took on the emotion of overwhelm, and let it become something physical. No longer was it just the situation that was a lot to handle. It was an emotion that was going to determine how I acted/reacted to whatever was in my life that was causing me to say that I was “overwhelmed”.

So, I took a step back, as I often do, and I reflected on the ways that overwhelm had seeped it’s ugly face into different areas of my life, in ways I was allowing it to, because I was giving it the power of my emotions. It was making me react in an urgent or rushed way, rather than calm. I was stressing out over things that were definitely important, but they were not life or death,

Nor did they deserve to hold the weight I was letting them hold in my mind.

I was being taken out of moments that did deserve that spot in my mind, because the overwhelm was not shaking off when I desperately needed to be able to connect in those times. I was creating a sense of panic in the people I came in contact with because now MY problem processing my feelings became their problem to handle. Needless to say, letting overwhelm control you is not the way you want to live your life. It’s not the way I want to live mine…so…how do we solve this?

We solve it by removing the physical connection to “overwhelm”.

By deciding that while the tasks at hand may be a lot to handle and the situations may be “overwhelming”…we are calm. we are steady. we are taking it one step at a time. we are taking back the reins of something that could easily spiral us into another direction if we let it, and we’re telling this “overwhelming” thing where we are actually going to go in our life because dang it, we are under pressure but we are not overwhelmed. We are us. The situation is overwhelming, it’s allowed to be. But we are going to handle it in the way we tell it we will.

You may be thinking, “Sure, that sounds great, Alexis, but how do we really make that happen? What does that look like for me?” Well,

it looks like pausing to reflect before we react.

It looks like organizing our thoughts and getting a real grip on what the situation actually is and what the solutions may be – rather than just looking at how the situation makes us feel

because, there is almost always a difference between perception and reality.

It looks like shutting down from it when we can, and regrounding ourselves so we don’t miss the beautiful things that are in front of us during the times when we would have otherwise not been able to focus on anything besides the “overwhelming” problem! It looks like handling what we can, when we can, with the best of the abilities that we have, and letting go of the things that may not be able to be fixed. When you detach “overwhelm” from yourself it will feel like you’ve pulled a parasite out of your body and you’ve been given permission again to be yourself even when life gives you more than you think you can handle. Until next time, Shore Locals, I am sending you peace, love, and good vibes!📷


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