#237 Three Simple Steps to Reduce Overwhelm

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Today's episode is all about reducing overwhelm.  

Let's face it, life can be tough, and it's easy to feel like we're drowning in everything that's going on. But here's the thing: overwhelm doesn't come from our circumstances themselves, but rather our thoughts about those circumstances.  

Sometimes, we need to take a step back and intentionally decide what can wait and what needs our attention now. 

Fortunately, there's a simple process that can help us separate things out and prioritize our thoughts. Because let's face it, our thoughts about circumstances can create feelings of overwhelm, and it's important to pay attention to them. 

But sometimes, we need a little extra help in dealing with overwhelm. So, know that it’s okay to ask for help and give yourself permission to do so. 

Are you ready to discover the simple steps to reducing overwhelm?  

Listen now and hear more about:

  • How overwhelm is not just caused by everything going wrong at once but also a cluttered mind. 
  • When the mind is too full, it's hard to take action and we may turn to things that numb us. 
  • Overwhelm starts with our thoughts about circumstances in our lives, even if that doesn't seem true when you’re in it. 
  • Sometimes we need to prioritize and intentionally decide what can wait. 
  • Writing down our thoughts and circumstances can create space in our minds. 

Get more support in creating a life that’s better than before breast cancer. 

Join the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership today. 

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Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer  00:00

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life, health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, hello, welcome to episode 237 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And before I jump into the show, I just have one question for you. Have you left a review for this podcast? Are you a regular listener has this podcast helped you in some way giving you some kind of insight supported you or made you feel I don't know a little less alone a little more connected, a little less crazy, as we often tend to judge ourselves to be crazy, has it offered you something that has helped you through the experience of breast cancer and the management of life. And if so, I would appreciate so much. If you could go to wherever it is that you listen to this podcast, I think it's on Google, you leave a like and on iTunes, you can leave a review. And on Spotify, I think you can leave a review. So wherever you're listening, if you could leave a rating or review for this podcast, it would just help so much. And it's not only meaningful to me, gives me feedback on how you're perceiving everything that comes out on the show. But the more reviews and ratings the show has, the easier it is for other people to find that show. So if it has helped you in some way, and you can leave a rating or review, then someone else who may need this information can find it a little easier, and maybe it will help them too. And if you're brand new listener, and you check out this episode and you like it, just go click on over to where you're listening to or down at the bottom. If you're listening to this on an iPhone, you can just scroll right down to the bottom where you're listening to this podcast and hit rating a review. And I would really, really appreciate it. All right, my friends. Let's jump into this. So I have been seeing come up in my calls a lot lately. People who are very overwhelmed, very overwhelmed with life, when someone gets on a call with me, I can tell right away if they're in overwhelm, because of the way that the string of thoughts start to come out of them. One sentence kind of connects to the other and they have so many things going on in their life, that I can see that in their mind, all these things are connected. And all of these things are making them feel overwhelmed. That's what they think. And I can remember when I thought the same thing, when I thought overwhelm is one of those times when all the kids need something, and they're all 10 miles apart where they have to be, they all need something at a certain date. But I have an appointment at this time. And the washing machine just broke and I have a flat tire here. And I didn't expect that bill to show up from the IRS or whoever else. And it seems like life just all of a sudden the sky opens and everything that could go wrong goes wrong at the same time. And I used to think that's what created the feeling of overwhelm. And in that feeling of overwhelm, and I'm sure you could identify with this, in that feeling of overwhelm. There's nowhere to go. It's so hard, if not impossible, when feeling overwhelmed, to take forward moving action, right? To show up for yourself in the way that you would like to show up for yourself or your family or your friends or your job or whoever. It's very hard. Because there's no space in your mind, your mind is literally full of thoughts. And I look at this across the board. Now I see you know, it's like having a drawer that's too full having a closet that stuff too full. Having too many papers stacked on a table. This is what happens in our mind, it gets so full, that we can't really see through everything that is so tightly woven together inside of our head. There's no space to see it, to work on it to work through it. And so we feel overwhelmed by the way we're thinking about all these things. We have thoughts that are like, all this is going wrong. I can't get anything right. I don't have time to breathe, I'm drowning. I can't get ahead. And when we have those thoughts, they always will create that feeling of overwhelm which will always lead to more inaction withdrawal, buffering, right. Oh my god, I can't think through this right now is I'm just gonna go get a doughnut. It will a glass of wine something to numb the suffering Do something to make me feel good in the moment. So I don't have to feel so uncomfortable with where I'm at. And that's where we get to when we're feeling overwhelmed. And it just reminds me right now. So my sister had recently told me about the show on Netflix called beef, B, E, F, beef. And it's not about meat. And it's about a beef as in a fight between two people, right, they have a beef with each other. And it starts off in a parking lot with a kind of a road rage thing. Guy backing out doesn't see a car going past him. She honks he doesn't want to be honked at, and the road rage is on. Now living in Southern California, seeing people in road rage is something that unfortunately, I am not unfamiliar with, I have seen this. And I have been the target not of extreme road rage, but of angry people out on the road from time to time. And I had thought about that as all of this has kind of been happening over the last couple of weeks, I'm seeing a lot of clients that are deep, deep, deep in overwhelm, and that I see this movie. And, you know, it's like that, that cliche, it's the straw that broke the camel's back. Because we only have so much mental and emotional energy to go around. And when there are many things in life, and we're telling ourselves, we have to handle all of it at the same time, right now, it's all on us. And we've got to figure it out.


Laura Lummer  06:22

That there's just not enough energy to go around in your brain. Right, some of the things may weigh heavier, like if they're going to have a financial impact, or a health impact or an impact on a close relationship to you. And then all of the little things just seems to kind of clutter it up even more. It's like a jar with big seashells in it. And then you pour the sand in right to fill up all the gaps between the seashells and the big ones or the seashells. And then the sand is just all the little tiny things. And so the jar is so full that there's just no digging through it right. So we just stopped, we just freeze, and when that last grain of sand drops, and overflows. And that's what happens when we have so many things on our mind. So many thoughts in our mind about circumstances in our life, that one small thing can set off a tremendous reaction with us more so than we would ever want it to be. If we were in a place where we had enough energy to manage our mind. And I think about this, when I have clients show up who tell me I'm not in a good place, I haven't been in a good place. What that tells me right off the bat is a couple of things. One, there are multiple circumstances going on in life. And that that person is having a hard time looking at them individually, or perhaps removing emotion from them. And what I mean by that is if I say the washing machine is broken, that I have a flat tire in the car. Here's an unexpected bill. And I see all of those things as if they're linked together. And my thought is I can't do with all of this at the same time. Right? And so instead of separating them out and working on them one at a time, the washing machine is broken. What does this mean to me? What can I do about this? What do I have control over and just kind of creating some space for yourself by simplifying the circumstances. So you can simplify your thoughts, we tend to just group everything together. And so that's how I can tell when someone shows up and they're in overwhelm. Either they're telling me I'm not in a good place, meaning I don't have enough energy to manage what's going on in my mind right now, where I have a lot of emotion tied to the circumstances that are going on right now. Or I just have so many things I am thinking about at the same time that I can't see through them. Right, I can't step back far enough to see that there's any space to work this out. And now I'm in overwhelm and it feels terrible. And I don't want to get out of bed. Or I don't want to step up and show up for myself by taking charge of things that need to be taken charge of. And now they're piling up even more whether it's emotional, whether it's physical, whether it's financial. And now I'm overwhelmed even more now I'm like really want to bury my head in the sand. I do not want to deal with anything. So in this show, I'm going to give you a strategy, a protocol an offering to help you simplify, simplify the circumstances. But more than that, simplify the thoughts in your mind. one thought at a time. Now I'm sure if you listen to podcasts, you've heard me talk about the model many times and the model is a tool that was taught to me and that I was trained in in the Life Coach School was developed by Brooke Castillo and it is a simple five line kind of quest Shin evaluation, a process you go through to help yourself, see your thoughts to show yourself this is my thought. And this is what this thought is creating in my life. Right? So it's not the broken watch machine, the flat tire the unexpected bill, it's what I'm telling myself about them that is creating this overwhelm. So how do you simplify that? How do you step back and create space and identify your thoughts, so that you can begin to work through them and feel more in charge, and feel less overwhelmed? Begin to be able to have enough space to prioritize what is actually the most meaningful thing to you? And then be able to say, maybe there are some of these other things that I can't deal with right now. Right? Maybe, and I know, there's been times in my life, where the washing machine has broken at the same time that many other things have gone wrong in life where I've said, Okay, well, you know, what, I'm not gonna be able to get to that washing machine for six weeks, I'm just not going to be able to do it. So I'm going to go to a laundromat, or I'm going to go to my mom's, but I can't get to the washing machine right now. And sometimes we have to do that in life, we have to say, okay, what can I deal with and what has to wait, and even if it has to wait, once you've decided that it has to wait, and you're intentional about saying, this has to go in the parking lot over there, and I'll come back to it. There's something that is so comforting about that. So settling about that so that it's not this is hanging over my head, because it's not hanging over your head, you've made a decision. And you've intentionally decided, this is how I'm going to deal with this, this is when I'm going to deal with this. So now it's off my plate, and it's off my mind, and I'm coming back to it at a different time. Okay, so let's come back to the model, when we're looking at things that are happening in our life. And when you hear yourself saying, talking about maybe you go to a friend or your sister, and or spouse, and you just start stringing together all the things that are happening in life, all the things that the people are saying and that they should have done and that they haven't done and that you have to pick up the slack and the things that are going wrong. And you start to hear just everything starts to roll into one. This my friend, is the time for a thought download. This is assigned to you, okay, get some awareness here, this is an indication, there are too many things on my mind. And the simple act of putting a pen to paper and writing down all those things that are on your mind will get them off your mind, because now you've gotten them onto a piece of paper. And now you can separate them out. Now you can look at all of the circumstances. And you can say, Okay, well, this one can wait, this one I need to deal with. And you can start then looking at your thoughts about each one. This is where we come to reducing overwhelm. So if you can break out all the circumstances and just write them down very factually, the washing machine is broken, the car has a flat tire, I have $500 in the bank, whatever your circumstances are, you can write all of those down. And then you start to look at what your thoughts are about them. Because it is those thoughts where one we give up our power to we create the feeling of overwhelm or whatever other feeling you're creating by all those thoughts. And then three, that thought results in how you show up in your life. So if you show up with a mind, so full of thoughts, about 100 different circumstances, so full, that there's not room in it, to allow someone else to make a mistake, or overlook something or allow yourself to do any of those things without literally going into a an emotional spin or blowing your top or just losing your shit altogether. That is assigned to you, you got to get some of this stuff out of your head, you're not showing up the way that you want to show up in life. Okay. So step number one is write out all of the circumstances that you're thinking about. Get them off of your head, right there. You've just created space. It's like when you go to clean out a drawer or a closet, you get everything out first, you take everything out, and then you decide what you're going to do first and then you can decide what what's not going to get put back in you decide what you get rid of. So this T line this thought line is so critical to pay attention to. And most of the time our awareness goes to the circumstances, long before it goes to what we're thinking about them. But trust me on this, if you can start working on that if you can start asking yourself this question What am I thinking about? This? And how does this make me feel when I think you're going to be so far ahead of the game in supporting yourself, and in reducing overwhelm. And I tell you this because you can do it anytime, right? This is easy, it is free, you can do it anytime. So let that be your safe word. When you hear yourself, say, I'm so overwhelmed. Take the 10 minutes, take the 15 minutes for yourself and start taking everything out of that head, right? And think of it as emptying the sock drawer and deciding what's going to get put back in. So once you've got those circumstances all listed, then you ask yourself, what are my thoughts about like, what's the heaviest thought on your mind? Is it the thought about how much money you have in the bank? Is it the thought about the flat tire? Is it a thought about the next medical treatment you have to go to? I'll tell you that as I say that it brings up a thought into my head. Last week, I had another treatment, I had an injection. And it triggered a tremendous amount of pain. And it was just a couple of weeks ago when I had an infusion that created a lot of pain for several days for me. And I had to really take some time to work through the thoughts that I was having about it. Because the pain was so intense, that it was really difficult to see my way forward, it was really difficult to embrace why I'm choosing the treatments that I'm choosing. And so sometimes, we have to look at our circumstance and say I need to deal with this. This is like the big thing. This is the biggest one that's weighing the heaviest on me. And I have to work through this and my thoughts about this to clear up some space to work with any of the other smaller stuff. Okay. So be honest with yourself and be open with yourself about that. What is it? That is the heaviest thing right now, I've had a few clients this week where the heaviest thing is thinking about their past, thinking about past decisions, even having fear that people would discover who they used to be at one time. And then creating a lot of shame for themselves in thinking about that, creating a lot of shame for themselves and thinking about decisions that they've made in the past. And so when you notice that you're in shame, and being in shame is so heavy, that it stops you from being able to do anything else. And now you're feeling overwhelmed, that's where you start. Okay, you can start to unravel that and create awareness around your thoughts that are creating that feeling. All right. And when you do that, it can lessen that feeling. And it can help you move forward in deciding what it is that you actually want to feel. So when it comes to dealing with overwhelm, know that this very simple process can make a huge difference for you, it can really help a lot, get all the thoughts out of your mind, by listing the circumstances you're thinking about, then, which of those circumstances is creating them thought that's bringing up the most intense feeling and write out all of those thoughts. It is such a relief. It's like literally an overfill balloon and you put a pin in it and all of that air starts to come out. And it just relieves your mind and creates that space. So then you can think more clearly through it. And I really strongly offer I mean, I am a huge advocate of therapy of coaching. Because I really, truly believe that addressing our mental and emotional well being is equally as important as addressing our physical well being they're hand in hand, they've got to go together. And even though they're very integrated, and the way we think affects the way our physical body feels, and the way we treat our physical body affects the way that our emotions are and the way that we think giving that specific attention to the emotional aspect and to what you're thinking is a beautiful act of self love. And so I highly recommend, once you've gone through this process, having that unbiased source to take them to and say, look, here's these thoughts. Here's what I'm creating, because sometimes it can be hard. You can kind of see what the thoughts are that are making you feel that way. But it can be hard to know what's the next step that I take care. So speaking to someone that you trust very much, they can help you and have an unbiased view of what's happening with your thoughts and kind of help you to become more aware of them help you to see your thoughts more clearly. So you decide what will work best and moving forward can be a tremendous benefit to you. And it is so worth it. Like I never would have thought I would hear these words come out of my mouth because years ago I wouldn't have said that. Before breast cancer I would not have said that. I used to think about coaching. And I used to think about coaching as someone teaching you how to do something, I definitely did that. But I thought about therapy kind of as when things are out there very worst. And I think a lot of people think about coaching like that, too. It's like, well, nothing bad is happening. So I don't need coaching. But why do we want to wait for something bad? What do we want to wait, so we feel terrible, and we can't manage our relationships, we can't manage our day to day activities without feeling worse. We don't want to wait. We want to give ourselves the emotional and mental support that we need all along the way.


Laura Lummer  20:37

So know that if you find yourself in that place where you do feel like you're struggling, do feel like you're stuck, you do feel like you're overwhelmed. It's so great to reach out to someone to allow yourself the gift of getting support. And I think more often than not, we turn to self judgment. When that happens. When we're feeling overwhelmed, we turn to I shouldn't feel this way I should be able to get through this on my own and whatever else story you tell yourself that we heard, God only knows when from our great grandmas somewhere when we were six years old. But the truth is that if you're in that space now, and you're suffering, you deserve support, and it's okay to reach out. You know, I have conversations with people all the time who say I didn't want to reach out, I didn't want to talk about this, I didn't want to admit it to myself. And I didn't want to say it to somebody else. Because I'm so ashamed, I should be stronger than this. It's heartbreaking. I wish I could reach through the computer and hug somebody. And I can tell you right now, you're not alone. If you ever have that thought, if you ever think I'm totally overwhelmed, and I shouldn't be I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, I'm not worthy enough. Because otherwise I wouldn't feel like this. You're wrong. Everybody feels like that, in especially if you're dealing with a health issue, if you're going through breast cancer, and you're thinking about what that means to your life in every conceivable way. You know, when we have cancer, it affects every single level of our life, from spiritual to environmental, to relationships, everything, mentally, physically, everything, when we're going through something like that. And even when we're putting our life back together afterwards, it takes a team, it takes a village, we're not meant to do this alone. And so if you're telling yourself, you have to figure it out alone, and then you stop and go, well, dang, I've been telling myself that for a really long time. And so far, I haven't figured it out. Maybe it's okay to give your self permission to get support in whatever way that support looks for you. And whatever way you feel like that support would fit into your life fit into your lifestyle, whether it's an amazing friend that you can be completely transparent with, or somebody who doesn't know you personally and can be more unbiased. Trust me on this, you're worth it, and you deserve it. Okay, so let's run one more summary through this process of the Simple Steps To Reducing overwhelm. Remember, number one overwhelm starts in your brain. It is your thoughts about all the circumstances of life, that create the feeling of overwhelm. So it's the thoughts you want to tackle first, separating things out, creating space, writing them all down on a piece of paper, this does not have to take a lot of time. You'd be amazed if you set a timer for five minutes, how many circumstances how many thoughts and get down on a piece of paper, but keep them separate? All the circumstances go down first, then you look at your thoughts about them. Then you decide which one of these thoughts is creating the most suffering, the biggest thing I've really got to get this big boulder out of the way before I can start addressing the pebbles, right? And then get the help and support you need look at it and say, You know what, here's what I'm going to need to get through this big hurdle. Here's what I need. I've got to reach out. I don't have to do this alone. I'm loved. And I'm deserving. All right, simple process. I would love for you to try it. And I hope and I would love to hear so you can come and message me. You can find me on Facebook as Laura Lummer Instagram breast cancer recovery coach, and you can join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group on Facebook and tell me did you use that process? Do you have questions about it? Do you have thoughts about it? Did it work for you? Did it help to relieve some of the mental stuckness and some of the mental suffering that you were experiencing? feeling stuck in overwhelm? I think it will. Alright my friend. I'll talk to you again next week and until then, Please be good to yourself.

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