Overwhelm, It’s Everywhere

Whether you are a new trainer faced with the amount of resources available and the scale of what you don’t know, or an established trainer trying to balance the responsibilities of supporting so many people in the form of clients, staff and / or family or anything in between, we have all been there.   

That feeling of overwhelm. 

That we can’t cope. 

That we just can’t do it all. 

That we are letting people down. 

That IT’S JUST TOO MUCH. 

 

This feeling of being overwhelmed can creep up on you over time or be caused by a particular event.  

Common causes are: 

  • Comparing yourself to others and being left feeling inadequate. 
  • Having high expectations of yourself and how much you can achieve. 
  • Looking for perfection. 
  • Looking at everything you want to do as one task, one giant leap to the magical end point. 
  • A change in circumstances impacting how you view yourself and your place in the world. 
  • Trying to be too many things to too many people. 

As trainers we want to help people; we are the ones who support others, we have the answers, we want and expect ourselves to be there for people and that often forms part of how we identify ourselves.  It cuts across our values and beliefs and we expect ourselves to be invincible.  Admitting that we are struggling to cope feels like a sign of weakness, so we give ourselves a kick and carry on whilst beating ourselves up for not being good enough.  We put it down to a bad day or circumstances, it will be better when…… 

So, what can we do? 

Reduce the load, this may be in the form of stopping some kind of service or in the form of removing the weight of expectation.  However much we may feel that we can’t remove anything it is always worth considering what you would do if you really had to!  For all of us there are certain circumstances where we wouldn’t hesitate to rearrange our commitments, unfortunately these are nearly always in order to prioritise someone else rather than ourselves.  Another option is to get help or delegate more tasks.  Aim for honesty with yourself, our egos often aim to convince us that we are the only ones who can do things, sometimes other people will help feed this, however being open to change can ease the pressure and open up a world of possibilities.  

Reframe the situation, are you viewing the situation accurately?  It’s sometimes difficult to get perspective when you are in the middle of something, talking to someone you trust can be great help here.  Just the act of speaking out loud can help you see the situation differently, as can hearing someone suggest things that you yourself have advised others to do.  Sometimes asking yourself what advice you would give if it was your best friend in your situation can be a help.  Attempt to remove yourself from the emotion of the situation and identify the facts.  “What’s the worst that can happen” can be a help or a hindrance either causing an improved perspective or the most creative negative scenarios known to man depending on how you feel.  It’s also worth remembering that if you are comparing yourself unfavourably to others, you don’t really know what their situation is and if you are feeling inadequate based on what you read in the LTB group you are comparing yourself to a mythical combination of nearly 600 people rather than a real individual!  Give yourself some perspective! 

Prioritise, action cures more than fear, it can leave us with a feeling of accomplishment where previously we were lost.  Looking at a situation, identifying the first step and doing it is without doubt the best approach if you are looking at a major task, it’s also something we are great at telling our clients when they are looking at a large weightloss goal and feeling overwhelmed. “Can I do anything about this now?” is a good question to ask yourself here. 

Reenergise, we all reenergise differently and it can also vary depending on our frame of mind, sometimes something that would previously have left us buzzing just seems like it might be the final straw.  It’s worth noting that it’s not necessarily about the amount of time you have available or about just taking it easy, it may be a walk, playing with your kids, coaching clients or a night out with friends.  If in doubt try a few things, time invested in you is never time wasted. 

Finding the solution is always very situation dependent but generally, taking action, adjusting your expectations of yourself, allowing for rest, asking for help or a combination will improve most situations. 

 

Disclaimer:  This is not intended as a substitute to professional advice and you are recommended to seek appropriate qualified support if required.