The Real Reason for your Overwhelm {and 5 Ways to Heal it}

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Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing? You simply don’t know where to start and the to-do list expands as the tasks on it accumulate while you try and pull yourself together?

As a coach, it’s my job to challenge some of the perceptions that hold my amazing clients back from fulfilling their potential in their lives and their businesses. Overwhelm is one of the single biggest challenges clients bring to our coaching sessions. It seems it’s become a major epidemic of the times.

This week I shot a quick video to support you if you’ve been experiencing overwhelm

According to John Robinson, a sociologist, a major contributing factor to overwhelm is self-perception. Through his extensive research, he revealed that many people generally have 30-40 hours free time per week. Although they may be feeling pressed for time and too busy to create the systems that might free up their time, perhaps it’s the self-perception around level of busyness that needs to be questioned, according to John. His work has been featured in Brigid Schute’s book  “Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time”

If the real reason for your overwhelm was self-perception, what would you need to start perceiving in order to put things right in your business and your life so that you can put an end to this pressure?

Do you perceive that your to-do list is never-ending and will never be complete? The fact is that if you’re an entrepreneur, then you’re right. For as long as you’re in business your to-do list will always be ongoing and is unlikely to be any shorter than it is now because (in case you haven’t noticed) as you cross things off it more shall be added J. Is it possible for you to rise above your list and enjoy being in your business and life despite your list? Each and every one of us has the same amount of time in our day. Time passes swiftly and in the meantime, are you allowing overwhelm and a list to win over the spritely, light-hearted, playful, feminine being that you’re here to be?

What if you decided to put some light-heartedness back in your business and life? It would mean rising above the mud and the density, taking a step towards your Buddha-mind, the awakened mind that understands the truth of who you are – infinite, expansive and with a capacity to hold space for thousands, even millions of people and myriad of things to do. How often are you luxuriating in the deep knowing that you are being guided to do something in the world that no one else can do with the perfect amount of time and energy and space to do it in (otherwise it simply wouldn’t be your life purpose)?

I’m constantly marvelling at the different thresholds women hold for overwhelm. When I asked a friend of mine who juggles four children, a hubby and 2 successful businesses how she does it all so calmly and seamlessly she said, ‘I’m not interested in raising my voice.’ Her perception that she would add stress where stress is not necessary is a poignant one. Where are you adding stress where stress is not necessary especially where stress is a perception?

In my own life, overwhelm as sole parent has been a running theme which is why this week I posted on Facebook (with plenty of support and response from kindred spirits): today I would like to offer up all my prayers, light, healing and moral support for the single mothers and fathers out there who are juggling sole parenting with their deep love of their children, providing loving, healthy and happy homes, doing both the domestics and handyman work, providing the masculine and feminine input to their children, making all the important decisions without a spouse to bounce them off and running full time work or business to provide for their kids. All whilst dreaming of one day finding your soul mate. It’s one of the most gruelling, intense, marathons you could ever run. I get it, I understand, I see you, feel you and hear how challenging it is. I understand that you don’t get recognised for it nearly enough and you sometimes get treated like a second class citizen for it. You are not alone and you deserve to be celebrated. I celebrate you! xx

It’s nothing short of a marathon running a sole-parent household and a business, but it’s also taught me everything I need to know about how to manage overwhelm effectively and rise every time with a spring in my stride.

My five favourite healing practices to move through overwhelm and into spaciousness come from the heart of deep feminine principles which I use to support women to thrive in their businesses. They work in my life and my business and I sincerely hope that they work in yours.

  1. Emptying out: a practice of emptying out is the single most potent thing you can do every single day. Take a piece of paper and pen, a comfortable seat and a quiet space. Simply sit and empty everything from the mind onto the page and write it all out until there’s nothing left. The most important next step is to then sit immersed in the emptiness for at least 5 minutes. Every time the mind wanders, simply guide it back to focus on the breath as it enters and exits the nostrils, especially at the space or pause in between the inhale and the exhale. Revel in the stillness, the emptiness and the space within you that you’re noticing with this practice.
  2. Welcome it: what we resist persists. So is it possible for you to welcome overwhelm for what it is telling you about yourself? Is it telling you that you feel as though you’re not capable enough of handling a situation? Is it telling you that you feel as though you’re failing in some way? If your perceptions don’t serve, support or inspire you then we can welcome overwhelm for the message that it brings to show us where we can make some changes that will serve, support and inspire us. The feminine principle is one of receiving. Receiving and welcoming overwhelm as one of the many guests that wish to inhabit your life is a pleasant way to ensure it doesn’t start behaving like an errant child!
  3. Practice Gratitude: when we are able to give thanks for the blessings in our challenges, it can support massive learning and transformation. Consider that every single challenge in your business is a stepping stone to your spiritual growth. That every single challenge is a blessing for what it teaches you and shows you about yourself.
  4. Start Where You Are: one of the biggest causes of overwhelm is not knowing where to start. Start here and now. Pick any item on your list. Start in the middle of the task and work backwards if you have to. Imagine you’re coaching a friend on what to do next. Should she focus on this or that? Where would you advise her to begin?
  5. Pay Reverence to Cycles: the sacred feminine is cyclic in nature. Where the masculine way is very linear and predictable, the feminine is a wave-cycle which ebbs and flows like the moon and tides. Sometimes, overwhelm is a simple case of your business cycle moving down for a while into a slower pace. If you try to ignore the cycle and push past it, you’ll get even more exhausted than ever. So allow yourself to slow down to a gentle simmer and let the non-urgent tasks wait patiently.

I hope this has been helpful and I wish you a spacious, productively poised but relaxed week ahead! I’d love to know what you think so don’t forget to leave a comment in the comments box below.

Posted in

Lisa Fitzpatrick


  1. Indigo Ocean on September 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    You and I are so on the same page, Lisa. I just released a free audio course a couple days ago called “End the Overwhelm” and posted just today about the course and a core lesson from it on micro-focusing our marketing to help get the sense of overwhelm in check. Even though we are addressing the same issue, the really cool thing is that we are doing so in very different ways. Though my course includes some self-awareness and limiting belief release work, it is more focused on the practical business decisions, skills, tools and techniques one uses to de-stress business life. Your article is rich with great ideas and techniques a person can use to go to the heart of the feeling of overwhelm, and start dismantling it at its source. Lovely.

    • Lisa on September 18, 2014 at 11:25 am

      hi Indigo, wow that’s amazing – we are definitely on the same page! I’m looking forward to seeing your work on this topic. Thanks so much for stopping by, namaste Lisa

  2. kelli on September 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Hey Lisa
    Wonderful post here. One of the things that stuck out to me is how much free time people actually have but they perceive they don’t. As a freelance writer who works from home, no children and no other major responsibilities, I can’t play the busy card at all. My primary reason for not doing something is sheer laziness plain and simple and I have to call myself out on it.

    Your tip about just starting something is always my number one piece of advice for people in this type of situation. Nothing motivates us like progress, and even if we do something small, it will give us the push to keep going. Great post!

    • Lisa on September 18, 2014 at 11:24 am

      hi kelli, yes the simple act of starting where you are is pretty sound and solid advice isn’t it? I love that you are so open about your wonderfully free sounding life. Enjoy that very enviable freedom! Love Lisa

  3. Nikki Woods on September 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

    This was the blog I needed to read this week. I was in tears on Tuesday because I felt so overwhelmed. Thank you for giving me actionable steps to move from that dark place into the sunshine. I’m definitely sharing this among my social networks.

    • Lisa on September 18, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Thanks Nikki, I’m so pleased to be able to help. I hope the sunshine feels great! Blessings and many thanks for sharing, namaste, Lisa

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spiritual business coach


A spiritual business and women's leadership coach. Here I discuss the art of feminine leadership and sacred success.

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