Break Free from Overwhelm: 3 steps to feeling better fast

Even on a good day, life can be overwhelming. We have decisions to make at work, home, about our families, how we spend our time, what to eat, what not to eat and how to save the planet. It’s no wonder that sometimes it just gets too much and we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and unable to see the wood for the trees (or the dishwasher for the client deadline).

 Over the years, I’ve gone through countless cycles of doing too much, crashing under the pressure and taking days or weeks to recover. These incidents have chipped away at my confidence and stopped me from moving forward joyfully and intentionally. On the plus side, I’ve spent a lot of time finding ways to end the cycle and live with more peace and less overwhelm. Here are three top tips that really help when I find myself overwhelmed and stuck, I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.

1.       Say it out loud

Something magical happens when we acknowledge and accept what we’re feeling. Our default is to push feelings of fear and overwhelm away in favour of making progress but all that does is make the feelings grow bigger and scarier behind closed doors. Stopping the madness and asking yourself ‘What is going on for me right now’? gives you the opportunity to face the feelings and just that acknowledgement can help to reduce the intensity of the emotions. Ask this question when you feel overwhelmed and take a few breaths to hear what comes up for you.

2.       Forgive Yourself

Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Buddha really have something here. Great healing takes place through forgiveness and it certainly shouldn’t be reserved for huge traumatic events or nationwide difficulties; it can become part of your own dialogue for success.

Part of the cause of stress and overwhelm is how hard we are on ourselves because we’re not measuring up to our own expectations. When you’re in the midst of fear and panic, there’s only one way out of it (for real) and that is through kindness. Say to yourself: It’s OK, I forgive myself for not measuring up to my own expectations, they’re clearly unreasonable at the moment, and that’s OK’. Extending compassion to yourself is the quickest route to feeling better and moving forward. It may feel counter-intuitive but it’s not, being kind is not ‘letting yourself off the hook’, it’s actually feeding your soul with the nutrients it needs to do more and be more productive. It’s about replenishing the energy that’s been chewed up by overwhelm.

3.       Choose to see things differently

Once you’ve recognised that you’re in a funk and forgiven yourself for not being perfect (I know right, it seems crazy that we need to do this but perfectionism can make us go crazy), you can make a choice. You don’t even need to know exactly how you want things to be different, you just need to choose for things to be different. Saying to yourself ‘I choose to see things differently, I choose to see opportunity’, you are encouraging your brain to focus on a more positive, productive way of moving forward.

Using these techniques when faced with feelings of overwhelm can really help to shift thoughts from a place of panic to a calmer more balanced state, and when we’re not operating with fear as our driver, we’re able to see things differently and act in a much more constructive way.

Holly is a Career and Mindset Coach, helping people to change their mindsets and start making decisions that feel right. To find out more and have a chat, please get in touch

Image courtesy of Aziz Acharki

How to: Supercharge Your Affirmations

Affirmations have been an absolute game changer for me! When I craft them wisely, infuse them with intention and keep them at the forefront of my mind, they literally transform situations and my life as a whole. The other day my phone started behaving strangely and refused to work. I was due to fly to Chicago the next day and I needed my phone in order to do work (eerrmm.. and check Instagram and research restaurants). I had no idea how I was going to get my phone fixed, AND pack AND organise my very active toddler. The only thing to do was to create an affirmation and let it go, so that’s what I did. I made an appointment at the Apple Store, and kept the following affirmation on loop in my head: ‘My phone is working perfectly and I feel AWESOME’. Well, didn’t that just come to fruition?! – I went in for my appointment at the iStore, and the love Becky did a diagnostic on my misbehaving phone. After a couple of minutes, she said ‘Ah, it looks like your phone has developed a fault so I’m going to replace it. And, it’s got two weeks left on its warranty so it’s free’. RESULT!

I danced my way out of the store, had a celebratory sandwich at a cool café I don’t remember the name of and sauntered home. Now, this isn’t an isolated incident. Since I’ve really got to grips with affirmations and how they work, I’m able to transform areas of my life quickly and effortlessly, and I’m going to share with you the three tricks that will allow you to do the same.

1.       Craft Your Affirmations Wisely

If you craft your affirmations cleverly, they pack a double punch, as not only are you programming your subconscious mind to make things happen, you’ve got the universe and the law of attraction on your side too. Our subconscious as well as the Universe, live in the NOW, so words like ‘soon’, ‘later’, ‘becoming’ don’t really mean anything. Similarly, abstract adjectives like ‘better’ or ‘more’ don’t really add the wow factor. Keep your affirmations simple and rooted in the present. For example, go with something like ‘I have wonderful friends who love me ‘as opposed to ‘I am making better choices about my friendships’. It is also important to avoid negatives so go for ‘I attract positive people into my life’ instead of ‘I don’t let negative people get me down’. You can also feel what word combinations inspire and excite you as you say them. If you say a phrase with a negative in it, your focus goes to the negative and it can feel flat or draining, but when you use positive language, the energy is lighter and brighter.

2.       Ground Your Affirmations in Your Body

When you do physical movement whilst saying your affirmations, the mental-somatic connections in the brain are reinforced and bring added support to your thinking. The body is also where your intuition and creative energy resides so movement anchors your intentions in your body where they can be brought to fruition. Whatever feels right for you, do it. If you want to dance, drum, jump or do Wonder Woman pose, do it whilst saying your affirmations. You can also say them whilst working out or walking to the station.

3.       Include ‘And I feel….’ In Your Affirmations

This, to me, is probably the most important aspect of creating super-duper affirmations. When I started including the feeling I wanted to experience in my affirmations, they really took on a whole new power. When you’re crafting what you’re affirming, think about the feeling that it will bring you and include it. Take my phone story from earlier ‘My phone is working perfectly and I feel awesome’, how different would it be if I had just said ‘My phone is working perfectly’. Yes, that’s pretty good, but adding the feeling really elevated it and connected me with that feeling.

Affirmations are incredibly powerful, and when created wisely, can yield the most wonderful results. Working with the subconscious mind as well as the universe is a powerful combination, so remember to speak in language that they understand. These two powerful forces know how to get you what you want, they just need direction so keep your affirmations simple, positive and rooted in the present. Repeat them while you move to strengthen the mind body connection and infuse them with feeling. Good luck!

I wrote this article for www.intothetrove.com, check out the great work they do exploring where the mystical meets modern wellness.

Photo by Drew Colins on Unsplash

How To Get What You Want


You've got dreams, you know what you want, you spend hours coming up with ideas of what you're going to do, how you'll make things different and what it's all going to be like. But then it all comes to a standstill because you don't know how to take your dreams, plans and ideas into reality. You know what you want but you have no idea how to actually get it.

I was the same! I had my plans about how I was going to land my dream job in learning and development at a large firm, get promoted and after that, set up my own learning and coaching consultancy, but neither of these things happened for some time because I didn't actually know how to get what I wanted. It took three little but life-changing lessons for me to start getting what I want and I'm going to share them with you.

1. Tell people What You Want
So often, when we want something, we decide to keep really quiet about it and not tell anyone. Where's the sense in that? Often we feel afraid that we'll be judged or laughed at if we've said something out loud and it doesn't come to fruition. BUT, if we don't talk about our plans, how can people help us? When I wanted to be promoted, I kept it to myself, expecting my bosses to read my mind. I spoke about wanting to get involved in different projects but I never actually said 'I want to get promoted'. As soon as I spoke these words, things changed. I stopped being given projects that kept me where I was and I started on a trajectory towards promotion, working on projects that took me closer and closer to my goal. I said the words out loud and the universe conspired to make it happen. 

What do you want? How are you keeping quiet about it?

2. Don’t apologise

All too often, we feel guilty about asking for what we want, so we apologise. We say something like: ‘I’m sorry to ask but……’ or ‘If not, it’s no problem’ (I’m guilty of this one, big time). We believe that apologising shows we’re being polite, but more often than not, it is perceived as unconfident by the other person. Unfortunately, we haven’t received great messages about getting what we want and we’re taught that asking for things is rude and presumptuous. It’s ok, most of us have received the same conditioning so it’s important to be aware of it without letting it dictate how we behave. Asking for what you want is completely right and acceptable so do it, and do not apologise for it. If you really can’t go cold turkey and need something to say, choose ‘Thank you’ over apologising, for example, ‘Thank you for considering my proposal’ as opposed to ‘If it’s not possible, it’s no big deal’.

3. How Can I Help You?

Something quite magical happens when we help other people get what they want. The more we support and champion others, the more good things come to us. I’m not talking about doing things for people because you want something in return, that won’t get you anywhere, I’m talking about genuinely helping others. As the great Zig Ziglar says, ‘“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Let’s take my good self as an example, I am part of various local Facebook groups where members of the community ask for advice and recommendations and sell the odd table, scooter and Ikea kitchen. The other night, someone asked if anyone knew a local coach to a group of 6,000 people. My friend saw the post and suggested me, the lady who runs the cleaning company I use then commented and said, ‘Yes, Holly is lovely’, another local entrepreneur also sang my praises as did a client. There were a couple of other suggestions, but looking at the responses, it looked like I was THE coach to go to in the area. The reason I got so many people mentioning me is because along the line I have championed these women and helped them, in some way, to get what they want.

We all have things that we want, but we often find it very difficult to make them happen. This is largely due to the unhelpful messages we’ve received from society and our parents. Many of us have been brought up to believe that we need to suppress what we want and get what we’re given, that having big ideas and big dreams is too risky and that the views and opinions of others are most important. These beliefs are holing us back from getting what we want, so make sure you’re aware of whatever belief systems are whirring around your brain and make a conscious effort to see them as just that, outdated conditioning and not reality. Use these three tips to help you, and if you need any further help or clarification, please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!

Holly is a Career and Mindset Coach, helping people to shift their mindset and start making decisions that feel right. To find out more and have a chat, please get in touch

3 Words to Remove from Your Vocabulary

We’re talking to ourselves all the time. Nattering away in our brains for the large part of the day. Have you ever stopped to think how your internal dialogue is affecting the way you feel about yourself, what you’re doing in your life and ultimately, the quality of life you have? The impact of the language we use on the way we feel and consequently, the actions we take is massive! There is much research on the link between our language and our levels of success, positive mental health, performance and relationships (Psychology Today has some great articles on the topic).

It takes time and effort to make fundamental changes to the thought paradigms we’ve held for most of our lives BUT, there are some quick and clever ways that you can start making some serious leaps forward in your mindset work, and I’m going to show you how by removing three simple words from your vocabulary:

1.       Must

This is a funny old word, four little letters and it’s one of the most judgemental words you can come across. When you use ‘Must’, it comes with a lot of unnecessary pressure. By saying I ‘must’ go for a run, it has an undertone of force (something no one likes to feel). But if you replace ‘Must’ with ‘Could’, the energy changes completely. ‘Could’ has possibility and opportunity. By using ‘Could’ instead of ‘’Must’, you’re inviting in freedom and allowing your brain to open up and think of creative ideas and solutions, for example, ‘I could go for a run. I could also go for a swim. I could even read my book now and do that HIIT class I love later’. This thought pattern is much more motivating and exciting than the rigidity of ‘Must’, and I’m willing to bet you’ll get much better results too.

2.       Always

Another absolute word that tramples all opportunity in its wake. Think about the times when you use the word ‘Always’. Often, it’s when something not so awesome has happened – ‘My boss is always late for my meetings’, ‘I always get dumped with the sh** jobs to do’. This language reinforces our negative beliefs and renders us victims in the situation. If we take this word out of our repertoire, what are we left with? We’re left with fluidity, with situations that change and outcomes that are different depending on the circumstances.

When we don’t use ‘Always’, we’re left with a situation that carries a lot less meaning. Its just something that has happened and can be attributed to many different factors. The next time something bad happens, refrain from saying something like ‘You ALWAYS do this’ or ‘This ALWAYS happens to me’. When you don’t use ‘Always, see what creative ways of seeing the situation enter your consciousness.

3.       Can’t

This word can often serve as a mask to hide behind. I’ve used it a lot myself. ‘I can’t start my own business as I don’t have enough corporate experience yet’, ‘I can’t go to the gym because I don’t have time’. It’s very easy to use the word ‘Can’t’ as it takes away our responsibility in the situation. But what if you stop using the word Can’t? You’re then able to understand what the real reason is you’re not doing something – is it that you can’t or you won’t? and if it’s the latter, why? Are you not able to do something? And if so, what is stopping you from being able to do it?

Let’s take my example ‘I can’t start my own business because I don’t have enough corporate experience’. It wasn’t that I couldn’t, of course I could. There were no barriers preventing me. It’s because I wouldn’t start my own business – why? Because I was afraid, and why was I afraid? Because I didn’t feel good enough, clever enough, special enough. Once I took away ‘can’t’ from the equation, I could look at the real reason behind my decision and I was then empowered to address the reason. Next time you use the word ‘can’t’, challenge yourself to use a different word and see how quickly you get to the reason behind your block.

We’re talking to ourselves all day, we can be our greatest cheerleaders and our most soul-destroying critics. What we say to ourselves has the ability to propel us into action, creating, doing, living and loving the life of our wildest dreams. OR, it can leave us feeling lost, stuck, anxious and alone, it just depends on the thoughts we choose and the language we use. Try these simple language swops that need little more than some practice but can render big changes in your happiness and the choices you make.

Holly is a Career and Mindset Coach, helping people to shift their mindset and start making decisions that feel right. To find out more and have a chat, please get in touch

Thank you @Paullywooten for the image x