I recently had a moment in life where I felt incredibly overwhelmed by all that was on my plate and what I had to navigate both personally and in work. There was a moment it was all very isolating until I thought to call a friend who I knew had gone through similar situations and would have words of wisdom as well as perspective in that moment. I later realized just how vital it is to have a community of people around you, whether they live far or near, and how important self care is during trying times. The experience made me want to add another pillar to the Seek Stories blog that was all about seeking community and support.
To start it off, I asked a group of women the same question and am sharing their inspiring answers here. My hope is as we grow the Seek Community it incorporates more people. I would love to hear your answers to this question in the comments section below as well!
What or who (be it a person, an experience, a place, a memory, etc) do you turn to when you are feeling overwhelmed and weighed down by all that's going on in your life?
Isadora Alvarez, founder of Back Beat Co
Whenever I feel low or am having a tough moment- I always think about my grandma who emigrated to the US when she was in her 50’s. She had to work when she moved because she had a family to support so she went back to school to be a nurse’s aid and had a great career after that. Reminds me that its never too hard, too late, to do anything. It’s all about the attitude!
Insia Lacewalla, Boutique hotel and F&B consultant
I feel like that this is constantly changing with time. Most times it's either my partner or my sister. They have been my rocks through trying times and not just by emotionally supporting me but by also giving me the right advice. They know me very well and their advice is more practical as compared to it being just a moral boost.
However, over the last year I have learnt to turn to myself when I am overwhelmed or weighed down. There are triggers that cause this feeling. I have been suffering from intense pain in my right shoulder blade for over a year. No amount of physiotherapy was curing it. After my last bout of intense shoulder pain, I saw a healer. In one session I understood my trigger that was causing the pain. Every time I am stressed or overwhelmed I get this pain in my shoulder and I need to breathe, relax, understand that no problem is larger than me. I plug in my headphones and listen to a song I love and it brings me back to my center. Self Love is the experience that I turn to now.
When I am overwhelmed:
I have found that I really have had to build my own inner resources - since it is so rare and more painful to look to others for understanding. When I am truly in a deep painful place I find feeling misunderstood or unseen after sharing just sends me deeper.
I turn to ecstatic poetry of Hafiz often - to remember that even the most painful experiences with time can be polished to shine.
I am lucky to have a fantastic network of acupuncturists/therapist/yoga teachers/chiropractors that I visit regularly to help feel intact.
Lastly, Overlook Mountain is a place near my home that I am so very grateful to as it time and again can hold all of my anger and ugliness and show me beauty. If I can motivate myself to walk its path - the mountain and its fellow hikers help me find humbleness even with my seemingly HUGE problems.
Sally Gold, Lawyer
I’m a family lawyer so I deal with heart breaking stories ever day. I have a wonderful professional community with whom I bounce off ideas and grumble, so that’s helpful. But what really works is to figure out how to be creative, instead of logical. I turn to my knitting or embroidery where I try to create something which makes people smile (instead of cry). When you knit on the subway or at a theater intermission, it amazing the interesting people you meet. And I try to support those who are creative—street artists, Broadway performers, entrepreneurs who create beautiful clothing by encouraging women artisans. I like the idea that money I’ve worked hard to earn can support talented artists of every variety.
Carleigh Queenth, Vice President, Specialist head of ceramics at Christie's
When I feel overwhelmed, I turn to my husband, my best girl friend and my mother to help calm me down. I also try to make time to clear my head on my own, and try to either go to yoga and/or get a massage. Sometimes just taking that little bit of time to yourself helps immensely.
Charlotte Stone, founder of Charlotte Stone
When I start to slide down the rabbit hole, I usually reach out to my family. For tough love, it’s my husband and business partner Steve. He’s the guy in my corner, wiping the sweat and blood away and telling me to get my ass back in the ring. He knows how much I can take; when it's time to fight and when it's time to take a six pack to the beach. And then for guidance and understanding, I call my parents. I was really lucky to grow up with creative parents that individually ran their own creative firms, and still do. They have been through it all and have endless practical advice. They truly understand the risks and sacrifices you make to chase down your dreams.
Side note: may parents used to do this thing they called having “A John and Yoko” where they would practice self-care by taking an entire day off and staying in bed. They would take all their meals there and watch movies or read all day long. Steve and I have done things when the shit hits the fan and it is very effective!
(above image: Pina Bausch)