Overwhelmingness (yes, that’s grammatically correct) is the accumulation of stress typically caused by leaks of energy in any or all facets of life- primarily due to a lack of nourishment physically, emotionally or spiritually.

An immediate assumption is that overwhelm is when people have just too much going on.

From a cultural perspective, we’ve been taught that being busy is a good thing- and for many people it is! But there are so many ways in which our culture has an expectation of us to “do it all” and do it well. The thing is, you can have a lot of things going on and being incredibly busy and NOT feel overwhelmed- as long as those things all align with what is important to you.

I often see overwhelm presented in escapism behaviours and avoidance of facing reality. Some people go hours, days- even weeks or months- without grounding themselves, focusing in on their life goals for health and wellness and putting value only on what they DO instead of who they ARE.

For example, so many people take part in comparison and competitive behaviours on Instagram, being plugged into other people’s lives instead of their own. With the increased use of technology, many people find their personal relationships are suffering, either unable to be developed or maintained.

We’ve also seen a spike in mental health issues like depression and anxiety, directly linked to the increased use of social media.

A UK study showed that 62% of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users had feelings of inadequacy and a University of Pittsburgh study showed that teens spending more time on social media had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating or body image concerns.

And these are just examples caused by the general environment we’re in.

Moody boss or coworkers?

Family issues?

Have kids?

Watched the news lately?

We could spend an entire lifetime listing all the things that make people feel overwhelmed. (But that would be overwhelming!)

Simply put, we do not take responsibility for ourselves. We are numbing out and waking up feeling overwhelmed and lost.


The EPIC Life Formula is key in combating this. When you are feeling overwhelmed we could suggest going for a walk in the forest and that would help you. We could also suggest working out and that would help, too. The purpose of each pillar in the Formula is to chip away at whatever obstacle you are facing until it is gone in order to create a balanced, healthy life. As human beings, this Formula is non-negotiable. We’ve put it together based on the abundant research that shows we need functional movement, holistic nutrition, nature, and self-care to be healthy. By offering you four pillars, you can start with whatever you have a natural tendency toward while developing the other pillars.

The beautiful thing is that each pillar will tackle overwhelmingness if a different way. You may think, “I have no time to go for a walk in the forest!” … but what is it you do when your phone runs out of battery? When your phone needs to recharge, you plug it in. Humans are the same way. We need to recharge. The neglect of this fact is what leads to burnout and feeds overwhelm. Doing more when you are functioning at 1% is not the answer.



Functional Movement

By now, it’s no secret that exercise and movement help release stress. The bump in endorphins makes you feel good, can lower the symptoms of anxiety or depression and can help you sleep better, all resulting in an ease of your overall stress levels.

Sometimes we see that overwhelmingness can be reflected in the body as well, presenting as pain or discomfort. Although working out definitely is a way to diminish feelings of stress, over-doing it can cause further stress on the body.

We often see people push themselves too hard at the gym when they have an event coming up that they’re nervous for; a 10km race or half-marathon or even something social like a kayak trip.

Overtraining is not the answer.

Your body isn’t supposed to be in delayed onset muscle soreness all the time. It needs light impact, low-intensity movement or rest, too. With our methods and training, we periodize stages so we actually build things like recovery and joint mobility into your training plan. We only see you three times a week leaving you four off days where you can do things like going for a walk, yoga, and recovering! Through our methods, we’re signalling that there needs to be a balance to not overwhelm the system.



Holistic Nutrition

Ironically, when we are feeling overwhelmed we are more likely to make poor nutritional choices when that is actually a big part of the “cure.” It’s typical to crave less healthy foods, skip meals or forgo eating altogether when struggling with stress.

It becomes much more difficult to tackle if you’re not giving your body the fuel it needs.

Zapped energy or fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of overwhelmingness. When you’re really feeling the crunch, your body can produce adrenaline to give you short energy bursts but ultimately your blood-sugar level is going to drop and you need holistic foods to replenish it.

When we are overwhelmed it can also negatively affect our immune system. Getting a common cold every season feels like it’s not a big deal, right? Well, realistically there should be nothing common about a cold! We’re not meant to have a reoccurrence of viruses and antibiotics year after year. We’ve gotten used to it because we live in a very overprescribed society but getting sick should not be normal and is an indication that the body is overwhelmed.



Nature

We’ve written at length about the benefits of nature exposure especially in relation to your mental health. Even just looking at pictures of nature has been proven to reduce anger, anxiety, and overwhelmingness. One study showed that the number of people reporting their health as “excellent” increased by 30% when they changed the way they connect to nature.

Other ways we’ve seen overwhelmingness present itself is in a struggle to find the motivation or a lack of direction.

Get out there and hug a tree!

Seriously… There is so much to see and be inspired by in nature. When there are no distractions around, you feel a sense of wonder, feel spiritually aligned, you are grounded, you are in the moment. It is so easy to connect with nature and it costs ZERO dollars. If you’re unsure where to start and you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is it.



Self-Care

Self-care is all about self-discovery. The more that we know about ourselves, our personalities, and our tendencies, the easier it will be for us to recognize signs of stress AND prevent it from getting to an overwhelming stage. When we don’t take the time to understand what is most important to us, it becomes easier to pile on more and more of the things that don’t really matter, like those escapism or comparison behaviours, and that just fuels the overwhelm.

We can even build it into our schedules. For example, if you’re planning your day to start at 6am but you’re not waking up then, you’re actually causing yourself a lot of stress. That feeling of having to catch up or that you’ll always just be behind is pressure you’ve now put on yourself.

Create a schedule that builds in time for self-care and actually sets you up to WIN!

When you leave your life to chance it is based on convenience and stimulus. You are not a dog waiting for the next ball to be thrown; we need to elevate our existence and plan for success. So many people have a schedule that doesn’t work for them, they have a training program that doesn’t work for them, they have food in their belly that doesn’t work for them all because they’re not spending the time on self-care and self-discovery to understand what is best for them. Taking control, especially when you feel out of control, is key.



Other Things to Consider

For women, our bodies also feel overwhelmed in hormone imbalance; specifically, estrogen dominance. We think PMS is normal and that menopause is supposed to be difficult but that’s only true if your hormones are off.

Estrogen dominance happens because there are a lot of phytoestrogens in our environments, in pollutants, paints, Teflon pans, plastics, antibiotics, cosmetics, even tap water. While we already have high levels of estrogen in our bodies, this extra estrogen just keeps building up to the point where the liver can’t process it. This throws us off hormonally, imbalancing progesterone and testosterone, increases the likelihood of anxiety or depression, and boosts the risk of thyroid, liver and fertility issues.

This kind of overwhelmingness might look like anything else- muscle soreness, fatigue, mood swings, etc. To learn if you are suffering from estrogen dominance, the best method is seeing a Naturopathic Doctor for a hormone panel seven days after ovulation. The more information we have about our bodies, the better.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to differentiate what exactly is feeling overwhelmed- it’s often everything! It may even be things you have recognized yet. Using The EPIC Life Formula we can cut away at it. When you use all four pillars, you’re taking a completely balanced and holistic approach to your health which, after all, is what #theEPIClife is all about.


We recently hosted our annual EPIC Life Retreat where we intentionally took people outside of their regular day in order to immerse them in an incubator of releasing pressure and overwhelm. The key message to our participants was that everything we were doing, from cold lake dips and the EPIC hydration cocktail to the movement and our “Word of the day” can all be done at home! Cold showers, walks in nature- we are lucky that those things are possible in this country. The practice is the practice. Don’t think you have time to wait until vacation or retreat to give yourself what it needs when you can integrate these things into your daily or weekly life!

Overwhelming feelings will still crop up, it’s natural. But following these methods, it will be much easier to manage and get rid of so you can keep being your awesome self instead.