My Silver Bullet for Back-to-School Overwhelm

Technically it’s not the new year, but September always carries expectations.  

Which inevitably rolls into a bunch of “shoulds.”

Which pretty quickly can lead to overwhelm….and exhaustion.

Monday was that day for me. The expectations and shoulds sounded like, “Summer’s over! You had a great time. You did amazing things. Now that you are rested and re-energized (1st should), you can hit the ground running (2nd should).

What’s tricky is that it all sounds so positive, right?

The thing is, my overwhelm had been building for days as I ground through my To Do list, and I didn’t even know it.

I started waking up in the middle of the night tossing and turning.

And pounding the path during my walk, as I tried to listen my way to inspiration with Tara Brach meditations and The History of Philosophy (hmmm, hyper-achiever much?)

By Monday I was beyond dragging. I was paralyzed. Demanding. Complaining. Whining.

And then my friend Sophie said, “You’re exhausted.  How could you not be? You worked hard June and July, then went on a family vacation that was non-stop.”

Huh.  She’s right, I thought.  

And I realized that my restorative vacation was really very, very hard work.  Decision-making daily, even hourly. Being the cruise director. Managing teenagers’ moods while away from home.

“You need a week away,” Sophie said.

“That’s not gonna happen,” I said.

“OK then, at least give yourself permission.”

Ahhhhhhh. Yes. That’s it. The silver bullet.

Instant shift.

I gave myself permission to be tired. And to need more time to rest and recover before I hit the ground running.

Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed, you don’t realize that there’s judgment in there. The saboteur is lurking.

For me, my hyper-achiever and restless saboteurs had been in charge and I hadn’t even noticed.

Once I’d given myself permission, my usual formula kicked in:
  • A little self-care. A couple of day trips to hike and work from remote between now and the end of the month
  • Appreciative inquiry. I looked at everything I’d done over the summer so I could celebrate a little
  • Get perspective. I still get comic relief from this article on the brutality of September
  • Slow down. Doing less lets you enjoy what you are doing.  And that joy is so restorative
Permission can be challenging.  It takes faith to trust that on the other side, inspiration will be waiting. But it truly is a silver bullet.

My best,

Tifin Dillon - Use Astrology for Your Leadership Style

Isabelle Steichen - Millennial Free Agent

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