Mindset

Being Overwhelmed

Megan Dahlman
June 27, 2017

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​A while ago, I read a sweet book written by a mom of little ones that mentioned something that stuck with me. She and her husband vowed to not use the word “overwhelm” in their household. They noticed that they were continually letting that word get the best of them. Many situations became difficult to bear, but falling into a heap of feeling “overwhelmed” wasn’t helping. Instead, they did their best to handle each difficult situation individually, rather than looking at the whole, while constantly keeping their eyes fixed on the One that can carry all the burdens.

I have tried this, and I’m not very good at it. To be honest, I get overwhelmed easily.

I want to be vulnerable with you about feeling overwhelmed because I know that vulnerability always helps. We often read words and think that the person writing them has it so much better. They can’t possibly understand my situation. They’re in a cocoon of happiness, feeling constantly inspired and enlightened, full of knowledge and wisdom. And they must have time…boundless amounts of time. They simply cannot relate.

But here’s the thing…none of this is true, especially for me. I’m learning, trying, failing, and learning again every single day. Rinse, wash, repeat. And it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like the things that sit on my lap of life are bigger than I can figure out.

My life includes a 6-year-old that goes into self-destruct mode whenever he is punished. A 4-year-old that pooped on the driveway yesterday. A business that I’m trying to manage from home all by myself. Trying to capture vision and focus while being constantly interrupted by two wild boys. Marriage. Finances. Trying to maintain friendships. Laundry. Dishes. Meals. Grocery shopping. And staying fit and healthy amidst it all.    

This is life.

Let me confess. I don't have this all figured out. Yes, I'm the coach, but I struggle, too. You read my words a lot, but I can’t tell you how often I get writer’s block...how often I have no idea what to say to you or teach you. You see me workout a lot, but there are many times I skip my workout or cheat by doing half sets. Yes, I eat pretty healthy, but I also overeat far more than I’d like to admit and don’t always follow my own advice. I'd rather pretend that I have it all together, but I just don't.

Here are more confessions:
I don’t make my own salad dressing and I buy Kraft mac n’ cheese for the kids.
I don’t own a pullup bar, and I’ve never done heavy squats with a barbell.
I forget to meal plan and wing it many nights of the week.
I’m not very good at creating Facebook ads.
I yell at my kids often.

Some days I’m confident. Other days I feel like a failure. I see other fitness and nutrition professionals, or bloggers and business owners, and feel like I’m a nobody or a fake. And I’m frequently overwhelmed. (There you have it.) 


Trust. Despite all of this, the word that continuously surfaces is trust.

Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength of something or someone else.

I must trust that plowing forward is the right thing to do. I must trust that I’m not failing. I must trust that many of the things that feel overwhelming are important, valuable, and worthwhile, even if they stretch my limits. I must trust in God’s strength, knowing that He called me to all of this.


Where are you? What is overwhelming you right now, right where you sit? You feel like a failure at times, don't you? I know that sometimes you want to give up, you don’t want to wake up early, you can’t eat another healthy meal or prep another egg. And I know you sometimes don’t want to be a mom anymore.

Despite all of your confessions, you're still doing ok. 

Today, you might need to know that if you still buy your salad dressing and your kids eat a million fruit snacks, you're not a failure. If you miss a workout, or a string of workouts, you're not a failure. If you yell at the kids and then reach for the fridge, you're not a failure. If you feel like a very small fish in a very large sea, you're not a failure.

Don’t be ashamed if you feel overwhelmed. Latch on to the word trust. Grip that word so tight that it begins to fill you with hope. Trust the process. Trust the experts around you. And trust that you are right where you need to be, momma, even when you feel overwhelmed. 

Maturity. I want to do better at not using the word "overwhelmed". It's going to take maturity, practice, all the proper systems in place, and support.

When my coaching clients feel a little overwhelmed, I like to remind them that "easy is earned". If you want your workouts to become easier to do and automatic, you have to earn that right by putting in the time. If you want burpees to not be so scary, you have to keep practicing. If you want to master a push-up, it takes time. You have to go through the process to get there. Plant one foot in front of the other, always trusting the process.

I'll admit, even this blog post felt rough today. I was interrupted a zillion times and couldn't quite get the right words to convey how I was feeling. But we keep going, right? Trusting the process, trusting God, and trusting that what we're doing is important, valuable and worthwhile.   

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Philippians 4:6-7a, NLT)

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Me and my little interrupter.

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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
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