Coping with Overwhelm to Restore Sanity

In this episode:

Does it sometimes feel as if you're one mini-crisis from capsizing? These are days where people feel overwhelmed by the level of stress that has become part of everyday life. What do we do with the overwhelm? In this podcast episode, I talk about how we can be aware and give ourselves and others more grace in difficult times.

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Inspired Life

It’s too much. I’ve thought this often in the past couple of weeks. Months. This year. May I just do a short rant here?

If I see another meme about if 2020 were a song, or if 2020 were a menu item. Or if one more person asks if we can press the reset button on 2020. Did anyone have 2020 vision about this when they made that their New Year’s slogan?

Ok. Rant done.

Now, let’s talk about what the last week or two has brought into my brain:

  1. There are fires in California, and I have loved ones there.
  2. COVID-19 broke more records for positive numbers, and that’s a negative thing.
  3. There has been another shooting of a black, unarmed man.
  4. There are two hurricanes hitting the southern coast at the same time.
  5. There is bickering on social media and someone’s comments cut to the core of my identity, threatening my sense of belonging in the fellowship of Christians.
  6. Several friends are either sick with COVID or have lost loved ones to it this week.
  7. Need I say more?
  8. A Christian leader has been forced to resign because of misconduct.
  9. A family member had a serious accident.
  10. And pumpkin spice coffee is back at Starbucks. Eew.

Ok. I had to on the last one. But seriously, that’s a normal week lately. It’s just plain overwhelming. I’m feeling out of my mind!

Maybe you’ve felt it too. I’m finding myself feeling kind of numb. Like I don’t know how to have appropriate emotions anymore. And I wonder what’s happening.

I think it’s overwhelm. I’m at the top edge of full when it comes to bad news. The waves have come up to the edge of the rim of the boat, and now the littlest stress makes me act like I would if the ship were going down. Except it isn’t. So let’s talk about that.

Life, Repurposed

Are you like me and have had the fight or flight feelings way to easily lately? I hear you. Let’s talk about what needs to happen to restore sanity.

  1. Acknowledge it. If I’m not aware that my boat feels at risk, then it’s going to blindside me when a tiny wave hits. I’m aware that my emotions are high. Then what?
  2. Release it. I know I’m going to overreact when life feels that way. I don’t want to, but I do. I did it just today and reacted inappropriately to a stressor. We will each need to know what helps us to deescalate when we feel that way. We have to have a pressure release valve.
    1. A walk?
    2. A deep breath?
    3. Canceling some commitments.
    4. More alone time or more time with friends.
    5. Permission to make mistakes.
    6. Phone a friend.
    7. Ice cream.
    8. Anger management
  3. Clean up. After we blow, there will be some cleanup. When a kid barfs in the car, there’s cleanup. When I verbally vomit on someone because their stressor is the wave that tipped my boat, I’ll have to clean up with some apologies. And hope they have some extra grace lying around.

In her book, Brilliance, author Jane Rubietta calls it serious seasickness on board the boat we call life. (She will be on the show next week)

I need an extra dose of grace. I know my friends all have their top ten list of things that blew up this week. We ALL need the grace to get our sanity back in the overwhelm.

The ship isn’t going down. There is hope yet. It’s getting tossed around, but we’re still ok.

Recommended Resources

This week, I want to share the book Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory.

Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it's possible to move from "out of my mind" to "in control" when you have too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?

Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don't often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you'll become equipped to...

    • trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
    • decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
    • replace fear of the future with peace in the present

You can simplify and savor your life—guilt-free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.

You can take the Overwhelmed personality test on Kathi and Cheri's website and see where you land.


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(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. ) *This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links.

Posted in Articles, Books & Resources, Podcast Episodes.

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