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From Overwhelm to Joy: Nourishing Your Nervous System



During my teens and into my early 30s, feeling overwhelmed was my default setting. I would flit from one thing to another, not able to stay focused, feeling like the list of things I needed to do would never end, and often not knowing where to begin to get started.


I took a deep dive into my mindset, my health, my hormones, and my nervous system to repair, retrain and reframe a lot of beliefs and limitations that were holding me back, and it is the cornerstone of the work that I do with my private clients and The Nourished Woman Collective each month.


This feeling of overwhelm is a common state for many people. Not only do they feel like they live in a fast-paced world (which is getting faster every year, don't you think?), they also feel like their mind is fast-paced too.


The constant barrage of responsibilities, information, and stressors can leave us feeling frazzled, disconnected, and far from joy.


But there is a way to move from this state of overwhelm to one of balance and inner peace. The path involves taking a look at how your current lifestyle, mindset and self-care is attuned towards nourishing the nervous system or adding to the noise.


We can create more harmony from the inside-out (meaning we are less jarred and rattled by what is happening outside of us) through breath, nutrition, sleep, emotional and somatic body work, and balancing hormones.


The Overwhelmed State

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and out of balance, you might experience:


  • Constant fatigue: despite sleeping, you never feel truly rested.

  • Anxiety and restlessness: your mind races, and you find it hard to relax.

  • Physical tension: your body feels tight, with frequent aches and pains.

  • Emotional instability: mood swings, irritability, and feeling emotionally drained are common.

  • Poor concentration: it’s challenging to focus on tasks, and your productivity suffers.

  • Disconnection: you feel detached from yourself and others, leading to a sense of isolation.


The Balanced State

Contrast the overwhelmed state with how you feel when your nervous system is nourished and balanced:


  • Energised and vibrant: you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

  • Calm and centered: anxiety and restlessness give way to a sense of peace.

  • Relaxed body: physical tension melts away, and you experience fewer aches and pains.

  • Emotional resilience: you handle stress better, with a stable and positive mood.

  • Clear focus: concentration improves, and tasks become more manageable.

  • Connected: you feel in tune with yourself and others, fostering deeper relationships.


Now, I want to caveat this with; no one is ever going to be 100% in the balanced state, and why would we want to be; life is here to experience contrast otherwise how would we really know what GREAT feels like if we were there all of the time? There will be life events and stresses that can move us into the overwhelmed state often. What makes a difference is having more time within the neutral zone and being able to access the balanced state sooner with well-worn tools, habits, mindset and self-care.


Nourishing the Nervous System

Moving from overwhelm to feeling more in control of your responses involves simple, achievable steps that anyone can take.


Here’s some ways that you can start today:


Breath:

  • Mindful breathing: practice deep breathing exercises for a few minutes each day. This helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.

  • Example: try the 4-7-8 technique—breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8.


Nutrition:

  • Balanced diet: focus on whole foods, rich in vitamins and minerals that support nervous system health.

  • Hydration: drink plenty of water to keep your body and mind hydrated.


Sleep:

  • Regular schedule: stick to a consistent sleep routine, going to bed and waking up around the same times each day.

  • Quality sleep: create a restful environment—dark, cool, and quiet.


Emotional and Somatic Body Work:

  • Emotional expression: journaling, talking to a friend, or seeking therapy or a somatic embodiment coach (you can experience a single somatic embodiment session with me HERE) can help process emotions.

  • Somatic practices: engage in yoga, tai chi, or other body-mind practices to release tension and build body awareness.


Balancing Hormones:

  • Stress management: practice stress-reducing activities like meditation or nature walks.

  • Regular check-ups: consult with a healthcare provider or Naturopath (you can book a consultation with me HERE) to monitor and manage hormonal health.


Taking Baby Steps

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It’s essential to take baby steps and celebrate small victories along the way:


  • Start small: incorporate one new habit at a time. For example, begin with a five-minute daily breathing practice before adding other elements.

  • Be patient: understand that change takes time. Be gentle with yourself during this journey.

  • Seek support: working with a coach (like me) can provide guidance, accountability, and encouragement. When you struggle, having someone to help you navigate and stay on track can make a significant difference.


By taking these steps, you’ll gradually move from a state of overwhelm to one of balance and joy. Remember, it’s a journey, and each small step you take brings you closer to feeling vibrant, connected, and truly alive, and the most authentic version of you yet!


Carissa x

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