From Overwhelmed to Calm and Joyful

“I should…

…not be so reactive.”

…be able to handle a full day’s challenges and still have energy left for everyone in the evening.”

…be perfect.”

…be able to get more done each day.”

…be able to manage my job, my household and my kids without getting overwhelmed.”

…be a better parent/partner.”

Do you find yourself saying any of these things to yourself? Anyone can live by shoulds such as these, and those of us who are highly sensing can fall deeper and harder into the pattern.

This is especially true if we’re in a constant state of overwhelm and anxiety, largely due our expectations and to so much input coming in and being processed every moment.

The effects of being overwhelmed

When we’re overwhelmed, we don’t think clearly, we don’t feel as motivated or inspired, we don’t value our own work. We tend to be low on energy, but still have our high expectations.

When we’re overwhelmed, we lose touch with our creativity, are more emotionally reactive, and have a harder time sleeping and recharging for the next day.

And when we’re overwhelmed, we can feel irritable and disappointed in ourselves and others and not find joy in the things that used to excite and thrill us. We just lose our joie de vivre. 


If you’re finding that your productivity has slipped, you’ve become lethargic or unmotivated, or you aren’t following through on plans or projects, you might just be overwhelmed, depleted. Your skills haven’t diminished, you just can’t access them.

It’s easy for HSPs to have unreasonable expectations for ourselves, to push beyond our limits while ignoring the messages our bodies are sending us, to overfill our schedules and over commit. It’s easy for us to live by myriad ‘shoulds.’ 

The good news

We can help ourselves by

…having compassion for what it’s like to be sensitive in a non-sensitive world.

…acknowledging all that we do, everyday, in work, family and social arenas.

…celebrating our wins and considering the times when things don’t work well as learning opportunities.

…giving a reality check to our assumptions and expectations by asking ourselves what we’d say to a friend or loved one going through the same things.

…scheduling our days in reasonable ways that honor our deep processing style and our energy needs.

…acknowledging that we’re amazing as we are, doing what we’re doing.

And most importantly…

…taking care of ourselves. First.

We need rest and down time to regroup, a reasonable schedule and performance expectations, satisfying social engagements, solid boundaries, an ability to ask for help, meaningful and enriching experiences and a toolbox full of techniques for calming our nervous systems.

When we give ourselves what we need and seek support instead of trying to do everything ourselves, perfectly, we can be the people we want to be for ourselves and for others.

We tend to love helping others; if we turn that helping urge toward ourselves and grant ourselves the compassion we give to others, we can be an amazing force in the world, and enjoy the journey so much more.

If you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed, struggling with loving yourself and with loss of joy and inspiration, I’d love to chat about what your new story can be.

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