It happened. After such a wonderful high from finishing my manuscript (yay!! Drink Less Be More to be published next month!!) and starting off my “supercharged September” with vigour, intaking new clients, new collaborations, whirlwind visits in Canada, a professional photoshoot for my book cover, studying and writing the final exam for my advanced coaching certification, aaaaand being a super-mama to my almost-11month old daughter who is going through a sleep regression phase, then a week of travel to finally make it back to my home in Southern Mexico… I crashed.

Like, meltdown couldn’t hold back tears state of total emotional and physical exhaustion kind of meltdown. Meltdown like my basic problem solving / rational skills where gone. Meltdown like I had to stop myself from totally spiralling out of control by remembering all of the self care tools I talk about with my clients kinda meltdown.  Meltdown like all of a sudden my commitments felt like too much, I felt guilty about not sending my blog last week (though I know you weren’t holding your breath, right caitlin? And don’t worry, those juicy revelations are still coming this Friday ;), like all I wanted to do was curl-up in a fetal position on the floor kinda meltdown.

I won’t go into the details as they aren’t really important. A lot of it can be summed up by the fact that this is my “deep work:” my pattern of taking on too much, overcommitting myself, and putting way too much pressure on myself. It runs deep and is almost ever-present. I am getting a lot better at catching myself in the pattern, at saying no, at taking sips rather than gulping at life and opportunities but it is a new way of being I must learn and remind myself of.

Just like you, dear one. I know we’re in this together, which brings me comfort. We’re committed to unlearning the patterns that brought us to the point of wanting / needing to change, and writing new stories for ourselves.

I am committed to sharing this with you because I have a feeling you can relate. Another aspect of my “deep work” is the need to appear perfect, like all is well, always.

The fear bubbles up…. if I share this, you’re going to think I’m incompetent. My clients who read this are going to question my abilities. The people who are thinking about working with me are going to have doubts.

I’ve come to listen to the fear. It is usually a signal that something is worth doing. We don’t get to do the deep work without pushing through the fear that usually protects us from going deep. From showing up and being real and raw and vulnerable and human. 

I’ve also come to appreciate these meltdown moments because they are usually an important indicator that it’s time to check in with myself about my self-care habits and rituals. It’s probably not surprising to you that some of my most important rituals had fallen by the wayside recently.

These are the rituals and habits that keep me grounded and more able to handle the ups and downs that life inevitably throughs my way.

1) A non-negotiable morning routine: This is the basis of almost a whole chapter in my upcoming book. Starting the morning with a solid self care routine is one of the #1 factors that highly successful people state they do daily. This includes “you time” ie if you have kids and / or a partner, it’s even more important for you carve a little slice of time just for you. I recommend that your morning routine be holistic and nourishing for your mind, body and soul.

The focus on the mind/soul can include meditation and/prayer, practicing gratitudes, journaling on desires or intentions, mindfulness or self-compassion practices.

The focus on the body can include starting your day with an alkalizing water + lemon, a cup of herbal, green tea or yerba mate, a nutritious and alkalizing green juice or smoothie, stretching, yoga, a walk in nature, a bubble bath (to start the day, what a treat!).

The key is to find a few of these practices that work well for you, and make them a priority no matter what. Even if it means getting up 30 minutes earlier (you might also try going to bed 30 mins earlier – we’ll get to that in a bit).

When you start each day with intention and focus on self-nourishment – you are more likely to make decisions with clarity and calm, feel prepared for the unexpected, and welcome more abundance and awesomeness. 

My morning routine was only half there with so much travel, different accommodation, and exhaustion. I am recommitting to the mind/soul aspect of my practice. What can you do right now to change your morning routine to a more nourishing one caitlin?

2) Call in an SOS: There’s a reason why I have an extra 20 minute session built into my monthly coaching program for my clients. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, have a fight with family or a partner, or you suddenly find yourself completely overwhelmed (or any combination of these things and more). Having a safe person(s) you can call and express your raw, uncensored feelings to is so important. Sometimes the very act of reaching out and saying “I’m feeling like sh*t right now, I can’t cope, I need help” can help you feel less along.

This also allows us to feel our feelings without stuffing them, or turning to food, alcohol or even more business to hide the pain. Feel and deal, as they say. The first has to happen before the second is possible.

Yesterday I put the call out to 3 people. As soon as I gave myself permission to have these feelings and share them, the weight started lifting.

Who can you call for an SOS caitlin? Make a list of at least 3 people, more if possible. People are busy and it’s great to know there’s more than one person you can call in case of a meltdown moment. If you need support in this area, respond to this email and let me know.

3) Follow through / keep your word: This is a biggie. In times of overwhelm and pre-meltdown, you might start to feel things slide. You miss an appointment. You don’t respond to emails. You have outstanding bills. You change your mind about a commitment you’ve made, but instead of being honest about it, you avoid the situation all together.

From the outside, this makes sense. If you aren’t able to show up for yourself, how can you be expected to show up fully for other people? 

The problem is that leaving things undone creates an underlying anxiety that will keep you feeling stuck and unable to work on the deeper healing that’s needed. It is emotional baggage that weighs you down.

Set aside 1 hour of time, and follow through on everything you’ve left slide. This doesn’t mean you have to say yes again to everything you’ve committed to. It means being honest about what you can do. If you’ve changed your mind or are too busy / overwhelmed / financially stretched / fill in the black – let the other person know. If you’ve missed an appointment or cancelled yet again on coffee with a friend, write to them and let them know that you are sorry that you can’t follow through right now.

Is there anything you’ve left hanging? Any amends that need making? Any bills left unpaid? Set aside an hour THIS WEEK to take care of these things. Trust me, you will feel better, lighter, and will create more energetic and emotional space for your own healing. 

4) A nourishing bed-time routine: Just as important as starting your day with intention, is ending it with intention. The following are some steps to take to ensure peace of mind and healing sleep:

  • Turn off cell phones, social media and tv at least 30 minutes before bed – though an hour before is ideal.

  • Do a “brain dump” – write down anything that’s nagging at you, any of your major to-dos for the next day.

  • Make amends – did you fight with your partner? Find a way to make peace before bed. My grandma always used to say, “never go to bed angry,” and I try to live by that. If it’s not possible to speak directly to the person you’d like to make amends to, write them a letter in your journal. You may or may not ever send it, but it’s important to clear the energy around this. You might want to revisit this during the hour you’ve set aside for the step above.

  • Self-care – tea, cacao, bubble baths, stretching, candles, self-massage, gentle music, meditation, guided meditations / visualisations, the list does on. Again, the key is to find what works for you to let go of your day and prepare yourself to sleep. You might need to start preparing yourself for bed earlier than you are used to.

  • If you are someone who relies on a glass of wine or three to unwind at the end of the day – the step is particularly important. Really spend some time exploring what alternatives will work for you. If you aren’t able or wanting to cut wine out completely, try cutting down on the quantity – such as from 3 glasses to two, or from one glass to half a glass.

Also try to drink your wine earlier in the evening and not right before bed. I also go into this in a lot more detail in my upcoming book, but drinking alcohol right before bed disrupts your sleep cycle and though you might feel like you are shutting off your brain and falling asleep more quickly – you will actually sleep more fitfully and wake up more tired.

These are my top tips for dealing with overwhelm and impending meltdowns. We are creatures of habit and creating solid routines and rituals are crucial for our health. We are also social creatures, so having a support system and following through on our social bonds and commitments are equally as important for your well-being.

What are your favourite strategies for coping with overwhelm or meltdowns? Have I missed anything here? Let me know!

As always, can’t wait to hear from you.