Being Overwhelmed is a Choice!

Via Gerry Ellen
on May 19, 2013
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If I were to witness my own chaotic thoughts rolling around in my brain, it might look something like a ping-pong match, furiously dashing from one place to another.

This barrage of activity going on within seems to magnify every time I get nearer to completing a project. I lose things.  I’m forgetful. I’m somewhat insensitive to the needs of others.  I’m bouncing all over the place. I’m just a free spirit, creative, energetic, and full of wonder. I also tend to be overwhelmed.

The amazing man in my life, who witnesses all this stuff, summed it up so perfectly “you know, you being overwhelmed is your own choice!” Wow, did he hit the nail on the head! Every deadline and appointment is something I have created. As a freelance writer I’m the one setting my own boundaries, yet I get the crazies when I take on too much. Hence the word “freelance.” I forget that I can determine my own set of rules. When words and images go every which way in my psyche, I am the one who can calm everything down through breathing, meditation, yoga, you name it. It’s all self-imposed.

Being overwhelmed is a choice we all make.

Being an employee of any job you have decided to be there to support yourself and your life, and if things aren’t so rosy with whatever is causing distress, there is a choice to make. As a mother or wife, you have made the decision to accept the role, and take on every aspect of the responsibilities associated with that choice. As an athlete you are choosing to train hard, put in long hours, and back-burner family and friends to attain your goals. If you are new to any wellness habits, whether dietary or exercise, you have chosen to make a change, and that alone can be overwhelming and disconcerting. Change isn’t easy, in whatever form you choose. It might be necessary, but it’s pretty tough to be in the thick of it and not be overwhelmed.

There are hundreds of other instances whereby making a choice comes with a fair amount of second-guessing.

Trusting your gut and instincts is always right on, whether overwhelming or not. Being stretched to the max can happen in every facet of life. I can’t even tell you how it grounded me just to hear the words tumble out of my man’s mouth. He made sense. I have only myself to blame for the noise in my head giving me one deadline after another. It does keep me on task, though.

Where would I be without the reality check of another more stable and consistent person? Probably continuing on with a gypsy-style life. It was a good life, and had its merits, but rooting in lessens the feeling of being overwhelmed. The deadlines on any task seem minimal when I just take time to pull my head out of the clouds and be present. Bouncing all over the place is in my DNA, and keeps me happy and carefree, but that lingering internal feeling that I’m not getting it all done can alone be overwhelming!

Phew, sometimes it takes a logical man to bring me back down to earth, and I so appreciate our opposite ways. My floating, creative spirit likes to soar, experiment and adventure. The peace comes when I touch down and forget what it was I was so overwhelmed about in the first place. As Anne Lamott once wrote, take it all “bird by bird.”


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta


About Gerry Ellen

Gerry Ellen is an author, freelance writer, and wellness consultant. She recently launched her own gig called *8 Paws Wellness with Gerry Ellen* which combines all of her passions (outdoors, yoga, strength, meditation, writing, dogs, fun!) Her first novel Ripple Effects was published in March 2012. As a regular contributor to elephant journal, Be You Media Group, Light Workers World, Meet Mindful, Tattooed Buddha and Rebelle Society, she also balances incredible friendships, heart-centered connections, and sharing her experiences of life and love. These are the things that matter to her most. Her second book A Big Piece of Driftwood, published in April 2014, is also available on


2 Responses to “Being Overwhelmed is a Choice!”

  1. Erin says:

    I am right there with you. Any tips on the grounding part. I find that so hard when I know an overwhelming deadline is approaching.

  2. Gerry Ellen says:

    Hi Erin! I can honestly say that early morning meditation and yoga help me more than ever. I also like to head out on walks alot; whenever I feel I can't see an answer to a solution. Nature always grounds me. Good luck!!