Let me be totally honest with you: The past month hasn't been an easy one for me.
As someone who really needs space, equilibrium, and creativity to thrive in the work that I do, I sort of set myself up for a bit of a disaster when I took on and gave myself too much work to do this month.
This month where Mercury, my ruling planet for my sun, moon, and rising sign, is in retrograde.
This month where I am nervous about going on vacation next month where I will be without reliable internet for two weeks.
This month where I moved to a new apartment and knew I'd be spending a good chunk of time cleaning my old space.
This month where both my husband and myself were sick for about a week each, which neither of us could have predicted.
This has caused feelings of tightness in the chest and jaw, of discomfort in the belly, and of a general heavy feeling surrounding my energy field.
What I've noticed is...I'm not the only one feeling overwhelmed. I have seen this feeling of overwhelm show up not only in my own life, but the lives of women in my tribe and spiritual community.
Sometimes, life sneaks up on you. Or in my case, sometimes you do it to yourself.
In either case, what I am so very grateful for is that I have gathered a few spiritual practices that have been extremely helpful in keeping me grounded, centered, and relatively clear-minded as what feels like total chaos swirls around me. As I become more and more familiar with how overwhelm presents itself within my body, I am able to use these tools *before* the overwhelm sinks in. I have been working with all these practices daily over the past month.
Here are my tried-and-true ways to deal with overwhelm::
1. Keep yourself nourished: I'm the kind of person who can become so consumed with tackling my to-do list that all of a sudden 4:00 rolls around and I realize I've forgotten to eat and am feeling dehydrated. Staying nourished and hydrated helps to keep us grounded, soothe our adrenals, and helps to relieve anxiety. I personally get quite cranky (or hangry, as it's affectionately called by some) if I haven't eaten.
I solve this by being sure to schedule meals and drink breaks into my day. When I am planning out my day each morning, I give myself a time slot for breakfast, lunch, tea breaks, and a walk to the store to get a kombucha. I make sure that I have pre-made food for lunch by cooking extra for dinner the night before, and keep eggs on hand to make sure I get enough protein. I also keep a bottle of water on my desk so that I can sip it throughout the day. When I am well-fed and hydrated, I feel centered and at ease.
2. Make time for your spiritual practice: There is a zen proverb that says "You should be meditating for 20 minutes a day - unless you're too busy. Then you should be meditating for an hour." I have noticed that lately my 15-20 minute morning meditation sessions haven't felt like enough to keep me feeling centered and calm throughout the day. When I am busy, I need more. I've been making it a point to go to local yoga classes during the day, or to sit at my altar when work feels overwhelming and just work with my breath. It feels a bit stressful to think about carving out an additional hour in the middle of my day for my spiritual practice, but I've noticed that afterwards I feel more focused and am more clear-minded when I return to work. I am in a better mood when I interact with my husband at the end of the day, and I sleep better at night. For me, carving out that time is so worth it.
If you have not been meditating daily, perhaps 20 minutes is your place to start, and then you can work your way up. You don't need to jump into the full hour right away! Additionally, you may wish to split it up into 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed. If you already have a daily practice, take a good look at your schedule and see where you can fit in extra time for self care. Maybe your spiritual practice isn't meditating - maybe it's curling up with a good book in bed at the end of the day, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk after dinner, painting, or going for a run in the morning. Do whatever it is that connects you with your spirit.
3. Connect to your energetic center: In addition to meditation and yoga, connecting to my energetic center with my Reiki practice has been extra luscious during this time. When I feel into the energetics of my body, I am able to sense the overwhelm happening on a spiritual level and take a bit of time to soothe my energy before any physical symptoms start to manifest.
Having Reiki literally at my fingertips comes in handy (so many puns!) - I can give myself Reiki while I am working on a project, going for a walk, or talking on the phone to a client. I've noticed that when I work with energy healing in this way, I am able to release emotional tension, find ease, and have an overall lightness of being. I love how I can play with my energy in this way, at any time that it is needed. Reiki is one of my favorite forms of self-care and spiritual development.