11: Why You Are Overwhelmed

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I want you to take a moment and check in with yourself – how are you feeling? How are you breathing, and how are you sleeping? Do you feel like you’re constantly spinning, or maybe you’re frazzled and forgetful? It is likely that you – like most of us – are overwhelmed. Today’s episode is the first in a three-part series on overwhelm; why you are feeling it, and how you can fix it. 

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

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Review the Show Notes:

What overwhelm can feel like (1:04)

Why overwhelm happens (2:17)

A cautionary tale (4:35) 

One action step to begin managing overwhelm (11:20)

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gephardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business motherhood and life, myself along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to to shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

Overwhelm, it’s such a buzzword, and yet it kind of should be most of us are overwhelmed today, or we’ve been overwhelmed recently, the topic of overwhelm is big. And that’s why today’s episode will be the first part of a three part series. So make sure you hit subscribe so that you don’t miss part two, and three. Before I talk about why overwhelm happens, let me briefly explain what overwhelm can feel like, let me go ahead and insert this here. I am not a medical professional, and I am just teaching out of my own experience. But maybe you’re feeling this way. And you haven’t given it a name yet, and you aren’t sure what it is that you’re feeling. So in most people overwhelm feels like one of these things. Maybe it’s a change in the way you breathe. Either you’re having to constantly take shallow breaths, or maybe you’re needing to take big, deep breaths. Or maybe you’re having sleep disruptions, your mind won’t settle enough for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Or maybe you feel like you’re constantly spinning your wheels, but never getting anything accomplished. And while the spinning is mental, physically, you can almost feel dizzy, maybe you’re forgetting things and you feel really frazzled most of the time, all of those things are especially if you have more than one of those quote unquote, symptoms that is overwhelm.

Now I quickly covered what overwhelm can feel like and what I really want to chat today is why overwhelm happens. There are a lot of things that can contribute to someone being overwhelmed. And most of those fall under one simple category. We’re trying to do too much. I hate to be the Debbie downer here because I know how much we pride ourselves in wearing all the hats and juggling all the balls. But constantly living our lives in a balancing act is why we are overwhelmed. As creative entrepreneurs trying to do too much is like a really big umbrella. It is encompassing of lots of smaller problems. Some of the common ones include taking on too many tasks and not getting enough help, or trying to focus our time and attention on things that don’t matter, or actually move the needle in our business, or working too much and not taking enough time off. Maybe it’s saying yes to too many things and not having firm boundaries and saying no, or not having enough buffer built into our life and our schedule and our routine for life to happen. It’s also being constantly bombarded with messages and competitors and ideas through all of the email and social media and online platforms we have. So many things go in to being overwhelmed.

There’s no question that we have a lot happening in our lives. And if you throw in having children and or a full time job or a partner, then your list is even longer. And the longer the list, the deeper your overwhelm can be. So I’m not here to debate what a problem overwhelm is, you know this and you’re probably living in it. What I’m hoping to do today is to let you know that number one overwhelm is common and you are not alone in it. Number two, overwhelm is a dangerous place to sit for too long. And number three, just because you are a creative entrepreneur does not mean that you have to be overwhelmed all the time. Again, and the next two parts of this series, I will share what to do when you are overwhelmed and how to avoid it in the future. Today, however, I want to leave you with a cautionary tale. That might sound a little familiar to you at its very core. So back in 2017 I had been in business for almost seven years, things were great. I was charging premium prices. I had loyal clients, I was photographing exactly what I wanted. I had an assistant I was utilizing, utilizing automations and to CRM, I was outsourcing my editing. I was doing everything right on paper. But I was still doing too much. I was in a perpetual state of subtle overwhelm. It was just constantly living under the surface. And I thought I was managing it. Well, I had too many client sessions. I had too many personal commitments between our family and my three kids. I was doing too many things in the community. All of these things are great ways to spend your time and energy. I’m not saying that. But it was just all too much.

My calendar and my days were just too full. That summer. On the way home from a family vacation in Colorado, I was in unexplainable, extreme pain. Fast forward two days to our first morning back at home, I called a babysitter for my kids, and I drove myself to the emergency room. Within hours, I was in emergency surgery for my appendix. This landed me into a two week recovery period and lots of the things on my agenda had to be rearranged, projects, commitments, and clients all had to wait. And at the time, it was a real life emergency. And everyone was so understanding, I had this recovery date on the calendar. So I knew that if I laid low until then, and trusted the process that I was going to be able to pick back up and go full steam ahead again, it was all going to be fine. So I go to my post op appointment, and I was cleared to resume all my regular activities. And then that night, I received a phone call from my uncle, my grandmother, who was my person, she was my soulmate. She had been fighting cancer, stage four cancer. For years. She was in the hospital, and this was it. Our phone call happened late at night. And he told me, he wanted me to be safe. Wait until first thing in the morning before you drive to Houston to be with her. I really didn’t like this idea. I didn’t like the idea of her being there and me not being there. But I knew he was right. It was already after dark. That drive was at least four hours and it really would be safer to go in the morning. The problem was, Hurricane Harvey was expected to hit the Texas coast that next day, driving to Houston to be with my dying grandmother would mean literally driving straight into one of the worst hurricanes in Texas history. We knew it was going to be bad. We had no idea what was coming around 4am The next morning I filled my car with cases of water, a huge overstuffed suitcase a full tank of gas and an Anna Gaskin with extra gas.

I knew I was going to get stuck in Houston for a couple of days. I knew that the news had warned us this was going to be catastrophic. But I didn’t care I had to get to meany before she passed. I left Houston before the sun rose and I made it there just as the rain was starting. I was able to be with her before she lost consciousness. We were able to say our goodbyes and it was beautiful. Growing up, she was like a parent to me and we were best friends. And I knew through the long hard battle with stage four cancer, I knew that it was going to be traumatizing and heartbreaking. And it was but I was there. I was there with her when she passed. And that night, I checked into a hotel near the hospital to get some rest because I knew the next day was going to be busy with phone calls and arrangements. The next morning, I checked out of the hotel and I went to her home. And I started working on all of those things. I just wanted to do that work and be surrounded by her things. And the memories and the photos and the space that I spent so many hours and days and weeks in. rain poured all day. The news reports were grim. But I spent the day there alone, doing the work she wanted me to do, making the arrangements calling the friends and family and being surrounded by her things. The next day I woke up to pouring rain and the parking lot full of cars that were underwater, the catastrophic flooding in Houston had begun.

I spent the next seven days trapped in my grandmother’s apartment with no way out of Houston, let alone away all the way home to Fort Worth. I watched news report after news report footage and images and videos of what was happening outside of the building I was in and it was numbing. And I was also numb because I had lost the most influential person in my life. My schedule was completely upended because of another unexpected emergency. Again, everyone in my life was super understanding. I was literally trapped inside a national news story and completely devastated and grieving. But when I did finally make it home to Fort Worth, and to my clients and to my committee Then send to my family and my to do list, I was not okay. I was so deeply overwhelmed with the reschedules. And the emails and the things I had to make up for lost time that I couldn’t do anything. I became numb. And that is the point at which my year long battle with depression began. My point in this story is not to make you feel bad because of how tragic it was. I want to warn you against what happens when you consistently take on too much of when you are constantly living in that space of overwhelm that underlying overwhelm that sits with you every day, life happens when you don’t expect it to. Unfortunately, there will always be surprises, tragedies, struggles, changes, you cannot expect them. And if you don’t have the slightest bit of margin in your days and weeks, life will happen and you won’t

be able to manage it. It is so crucial to have margin. When things are going well. We are allowed to enjoy that extra space and the downtime and then not being constantly overwhelmed. We are in a healthy space. And then when life does happen, that margin is what allows us to shift things around as needed, so that we can bear the weight of the world. So today, I want to leave you with one action step. I want you to do a personal assessment. How are you feeling? Are you feeling deeply overwhelmed? Do you have those feelings that I mentioned at the beginning of the episode, your breathing has changed. You are not sleeping while you feel like you’re constantly spinning or dizzy, you’re feeling frazzled and forgetful. If that is you, I want you to simply admit that you are overwhelmed and sit with it. And if you’re a journaling type, this would be a great time to write. You don’t have to solve all the problems or do anything drastically different right now. You don’t have to make any sweeping changes. Just admit where you are verbalizing it takes down any walls or any shame that you may have around it. It’s just a reality check. verbalizing it admitting it allows you the opportunity to give yourself grace, you are able to name the problem. We’ll work on it together we will and you can get yourself out of it.

Just give yourself that grace of naming what is wrong and not having any shame around it. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get angry. So you’re overwhelmed. That’s okay. You can fix this and you will and next week we’re going to talk about how so remember, make sure you subscribe so that you can catch Part Two next week about what to do when you are overwhelmed. And don’t forget to grab my sustainability freebie. It is 10 ways to make sure that your business is set up for long term sustainable success. I will have that linked in the show notes. That is it for today. My friends. We’ll see you next time. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast comm find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhardt photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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