Have you ever stretched cheese or pizza dough or taffy so thin that it breaks? This is how I feel when I’m overwhelmed. Of course, there’s good overwhelming feelings: those of joy, excitement, and happiness. However, those stressful situations where you just have too much on your plate are never good.
If you know me, then you know I am the biggest extrovert around. I thrive off of other people’s energy. I love being in social settings; my only exception is a tight, large, standing crowd because I am only 5’2”.
I don’t even need to say that these past 14 months have been ridiculously hard on me.
You may also be aware that I am a massage therapist, and that’s the only kind of licensed therapist I am, so this blog is me speaking from my heart and mind, along with some help from Google. In March, I decided to expand my business, which was really exciting but also completely terrifying. I am aware that I am extremely lucky to be successful and be able to continuously take big leaps to better myself and my career. I also have a great side-hustle with WFTDI. For the past two years, I have also coached high school tennis. While rewarding, it is extremely time consuming. Why I’m telling you all of this is to show you how much I put on my plate. Normally, I can handle all the things. I always want to keep myself as busy as possible. It’s definitely part of my personality, but what I’ve come to realize is that it’s also a coping mechanism.
About a month ago, some serious shit happened in my neighborhood. You can look it up for yourself, but I’m not going to talk about it here. Partly, my recent stressors are definitely stemming from the incident, but the rest of it is again me expecting more of myself than I can possibly give.
I traveled with Appalachian State University‘s Track and Field team for a week this May. I’ve been their sports massage therapist for eight years, and I love it, but whenever I go away, I always come back and am slammed at work. Being self-employed is a wonderful thing and I’m not complaining– I’m just stating facts. That first Monday, I felt really overwhelmed. I believe it’s a culmination of expanding the business, some personal stressors, and just feeling like I don’t have time to do anything while having everything to do. I almost felt like crying, and I felt like I could accomplish nothing this week. I needed to not feel so overwhelmed, so I had to figure out what would help ease my stressors.
You have to take it moment-by-moment. You have to figure out what you can knock off your list that will relieve a majority of what is causing you such stress. You have to learn that you can’t do everything to perfection. Sometimes good is as good as it gets. You have to take things in smaller portions and chip away at whatever needs to get done. Sometimes you have to say no, sometimes you have to say yes but not right now, and sometimes you have to tell yourself all of this is going to be okay.
I started to feel better as the week went on. On the following Monday, I reflected on how I felt a week ago compared to now. It’s amazing how I wasn’t even able to put into words how and why I was feeling so overwhelmed. I got myself so worked up but life continued. Our minds are ridiculous. I can definitely be too hard on myself, expect way too much of myself, and then send myself into a spiral. We cannot control these emotions as they are happening (I certainly cannot), but being able to recognize them and create a way out is something I need to work on. Mental health affects everyone. It’s okay to feel all the feels. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to see a therapist or talk to someone. I’m glad we are getting to a place where this stigma is lessening, and people are recognizing that we are all dealing with shit. I’m glad I am a part of this process as well.
-Jenn Rolli Cannoli Pillow
– Edited by Suzanne 9lb Hammer Samples