Transmuting overwhelm. A Practical Approach To Release The Clutter And Cultivate Spaciousness Within

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One of the most common obstacles I’ve been seeing with highly intelligent and ambitious women is a feeling of overwhelm.

“I’ve just got too much going on.”

“I don’t know what to focus on.”

“Where do I even begin?? There’s just too much to do!”

“I don’t have space for that in my life right now, I’ve got enough on my plate already.”

And sister, let me tell you, I am no stranger to this place of overwhelm, swirling energy, and mental chaos. But over the years, I’ve gotten much more skilled at finding my way back to center with more ease, and I’d love to share the wisdom that has come from those moments.

At the core of my work is the belief that our quality of presence as a woman and leader - the energy with which we show up - is always a reflection of our inner landscape. And the experience of overwhelm can greatly impact the level of wisdom, warmth, depth, and clarity that we bring to our work, our relationships, and our life.

Here’s the thing. We can have a lot going on, but the number one factor in determining if we are in the experience of overwhelm is the state of the nervous system. In a state of relaxation, everything slows down. Healing, repair, and renewal take place. And we have access to the experience of pleasure. But, in stress physiology, or the fight, flight, or freeze response, we don’t have access to our natural intelligence, pleasure states, or the ability to respond with creativity and wisdom.

The stress hormone cortisol actually speeds up our perception of time, making everything in our life feel like it’s whizzing and whirling by at lightspeed. When the nervous system is on overdrive, there’s no feeling of spaciousness within. And it begins to feel as though we’re always struggling to find the time or that there’s just too much going on to make space for more.

Regardless of whether it’s a result of internal nervous system dysregulation or external chaos, the downstream result is the same - chronic depletion, exhaustion, BURNOUT.

So let’s explore a practical approach to address the roots of overwhelm and begin creating the experience of spaciousness within.

How can you invite in more spaciousness? Here are some of my favorite ways:

  1. Ground your nervous system with balancing self care.
    Rather than prescriptive plans listen to your body wisdom. It will guide the way back to balance in the mind and body. Create space for silence and meditation to come back home and connect in with your heart. Spend time in nature to release your addiction to speed and re-attune to your natural rhythms. And move your body to release stagnant or anxious energy. Take time for slow, relaxing meal times and savor grounding foods like starchy vegetables and high quality protein.

  2. Practice softening, opening, and pausing to rewire the nervous system.
    Many of us have developed energetic patterns of bracing against, tightening, and trying to control life, which only perpetuates a chronic, low level, day in day out stress response. So invite in the feeling of spaciousness, softening, and savoring in every moment. Instead of contracting, tightening, or bracing against the feeling of overwhelm, locate it in the body and just ask the question, “Can I open more fully to this feeling?” “Can I relax more fully into this moment?” Feel your shoulder blades melt down your back, your spine return into it’s optimal alignment, your heart soften and open, your hips relax. Your jaw release. Come back to your breath or sigh out loud as you allow the feeling to flow through. Cultivating this inner attunement and connection will create more spaciousness over time as we release energetic patterns of constriction for the free flow of energy.

  3. Create intentional containers (or boundaries) for your energy, time and presence. Create a morning ritual to tend to your own energy before you tend to others. Choose specific times of the day for social media and email rather than leaking your energy all day long by checking your phone, feeds, and inbox. Cultivate a practice of deep work. Close down other browser windows and distractions, light a candle, and turn on some music that gets you into a flow state, and set a timer for an allotted amount of time. When you complete your intentional work period, take some time to renew. Go outside, get into your body, your breath, stretch, make some tea.

  4. Release and let go of anything causing you clutter, overwhelm, distraction and overstimulation.
    Caffeine, sugar, refined carbohydrates. Social media surfing, email checking. Having more than 3-5 browser windows open. Information inundation. Clutter and chaos in your environment. Fear, anxiety, and negativity. Put your hands or your body on the ground and release it all. Mother earth has the extraordinary power of the feminine to transmute all energy into something more beneficial. Let it go and watch the overwhelm release its grip on your psyche. What are you ready to release and let go of so that you can relax more fully into yourself? What forms of stimulation are keeping you from feeling grounded, at ease, and at home in yourself?

  5. Practice the art of intentional consumption.
    To make these shifts sustainable, it’s important to stay attuned to yourself in deciding what to take in. Be discerning around what you consume. From the foods you eat, to the clothing you buy, the substances you put on your skin and breathe, information you take in, the people you surround yourself with, the images you expose yourself to on the TV or in magazines, the advice you receive, the energy you soak up . . . Check in with yourself around what you are purchasing, consuming, and surrounding yourself with.

Take this on as an experiment for a week or a month and see how much more spaciousness you can create in your life.

Let me know in the comments, what is creating the experience for overwhelm for you right now. And what are you releasing to create more spaciousness within?

With love and gratitude!


Jessie Kuehn