4 Powerful Elements to Quickly Get Feeling Overwhelmed Licked

How to Stop Your Workload from Gobbling You Up

18 April 2017

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Do you need to escape your workload for a while?

The schooner ‘The Friendship Rose’ of Bequia. Photo credit: Nicole of Aquarius HR Consulting

I see you …

  • Super busy outing fires, thoughts plagued by interruptions, being punished in pointless meetings purgatory.
  • Doing commodity chores instead of creative work. Snared by transactional tasks, leaving strategic thinking a glib hope.
  • Leading your team, managing your business and organising development opportunities for everyone with the exception of – YOU.
  • Feeling the pressure to magic creative solutions, rustle up fresh thinking to old approaches AND deliver stellar results.
  • Sitting at your desk, gazing in incredulous panic at the number of emails piling up in your inbox by the minute.
  • Pleading silently with every fibre of your being for a few moments to yourself.

The truth is that your work is both a privilege and a burden.

You are determined to do it all, make a difference and contribute remarkable value. But in fact you are spinning your wheels.

Giving in to the Pavlovian impulse to respond to every ping and buzz from your smart phone is like lobbing a wrecking ball at your already fragile nerves.

Burnout beckons. Stop wearing ‘busyness’ is a badge of honour.

You know you need to wean yourself off being busy. Being busy means that you are physically present but NOT productive.  Your work is threatening to gobble you up. You are overwhelmed.

Burnout beckons. Stop wearing 'busyness' as a badge of honour. Click To Tweet

I see me too.

Truth be told, March was an almost unbearably hard slog.

I felt overwhelmed. I seriously wondered if I were in over my head. Doubt stalked every nook and cranny in my mind. It confidently declared, “You’ve bitten off more than you can chew, lady!”

I was buckling under the pressure. But I did not fall.

Finding ways to rally your strength to battle feeling overwhelmed and take that desperately needed break can be a challenge – but not impossible.

Here are 3 steps to start your recovery.

  1. You need to stop juggling more nuts than a squirrel for a moment. Take your fingers off your keyboard. Put down the phone. And STOP!
  1. Abandon any pretense that you have it all under control right now. It’s OK – there is absolutely no shame in admitting this.
  1. Step away from the hamster wheel for a while. Let’s play hooky from the rising tide of work. You need catch your breath.

Your sanity will thank you for playing truant for a little while.

You might not be as rich as Croesus with the means to drop everything and sail away on a classic yacht. But you can give yourself a break from your cares and treat yourself to a little luxury. You deserve it.

Play hooky from your workload.Your sanity will thank you for playing truant for a little while. Click To Tweet

What does luxury mean these days?

Material goods are lovely, if that is your taste.

These days, the new super luxury must-haves are time and freedom (to think).

Let’s indulge in a little luxury. Remember, YOU deserve it!

4 Powerful Elements to Quickly Lick Feeling Overwhelmed

Make your bid for freedom, carve out the time to press reset with the four elements; Water, Air, Fire, Earth.

Harness the four powerful natural elements to soothe your overburdened mind and manage feeling overwhelmed.

Read on and find your perfect element.

Fishing boats in Mustique. Photo credit: Nicole of Aquarius HR Consulting

1. WATER: When I need to escape the chaos, I quickly reach for ‘Vitamin Sea’ for rapid and deep inner reflection. I am guaranteed to clear my mind from feeling overhelmed. As if by magic, solutions to knotty problems appear whilst re-energising at the beach.

But don’t take my word for it. Science reveals that the “blue space” is Nature’s prescription for creativity, melting away stress and gaining a fresh perspective. Learn more here.

The beach is my first choice source of restorative water cure. What is yours?

When pressure threatens to get out of hand, head to your preferred medium of flowing water – a lake, pond, stream, river, canal, creak, fjord or fountain.

2. AIR: Don’t wait until a crisis sends you in a tearful panic, wheezing and gulping into a brown paper bag.

Learn how to press your reset button with mindful breathing before anxiety attacks; and calm your breathing in high-pressure situations.



Take your pick from immersive meditation practises to simple, quick-to-master breathing techniques.

Here is an easy breathing technique to recalibrate the rhythm of your heart. I learned it from Charlotte Drew, Yoga Instructor, Documentary Filmmaker who has personally tested this technique herself.

Breathing            Rhythm in Seconds         Rhythm in Seconds

                                   Inhale                             5                                           5

                                   Hold                                3                                          7

                                   Exhale                             5                                          5


There was something familiar about the rhythm that tugged at my brain.

Hazy memories of my English Literature lessons at school drifted to the present. My recollection of Ms. White, Head of English, sent me on a mission down the rabbit hole to find that thread.


5-3-5 and 5-7-5 are the syllable rhythm structure of the short 3 lined Haiku poem.

A connection between breathing techniques and the rhythm of a Haiku poem? Now that is unexpected!

Inspired by my find, I gave composing my own Haiku a try.


 (5) I so love the beach.

(7) It cures my blues every time.

(5) Best of all it’s free.

Why do you give a Haiku a try too?

3. EARTH: Every corner of our world is being rocked by change. Flux is the default state and seismic shifts seem commonplace. Uncertain times can leave us flummoxed.

When once-thought stable zones of our professional and personal lives are literally up-ended, we experience a visceral need to find a solid footing, reclaim roots and feel grounded.

You may only need a quick walk outdoors to take in the natural surroundings and smell the flowers to rejuvenate your mind. For others a longer and deeper (re)connection with nature (e.g. hiking or camping) is the only way to regain a solid footing and to clear their heads.

My mum heads into her garden to feel the soil in her hands. She finds her Zen by planting, potting and pruning her flower bushes.

In summer, office workers in the city, escape their sterile cubicles at lunchtime and make a beeline for the parks and other green open spaces. There is no time to waste with a 1 hour lunch break. They quickly remove jackets and shoes. With faces and arms turned to the sun and toes dug into the grass, they can get ‘earthed’ .

4. FIRE: Get as much natural light exposure as possible. We humans need it as much as the plants to live and thrive. Open shutters, blinds and curtains and let in sunlight.

With natural light in your work space, dark days can seem that much brighter.

With your energy flagging and your emotional needle on ‘E’, you may not have sufficient inner resources to recharge your mojo on your own.

Sometimes you need to look outside of yourself and tap into external sources of motivation to reignite your fight or relocate your Zen.

Yes, ‘THE ANSWER’ might come from inside us; but the spark to find it often comes from diverse external motivation resources that help us get (back)on track.

  • A coach or mentor.
  • A friend, family member.
  • A colleague or random stranger.
  • Inspirational writings.
  • Buildings that have meaning for us.
  • Art.
  • Exercise.

 Before I end this post, I would love to know:-

  • Which Natural Element is your best source of defense against work-life stress?
  • How do you stop your workload from gobbling you up?

Enjoyed this post? Tell me why and how in the comments.

 Found it helpful? Please share so others can benefit and find their element too.

Until we meet again down the HR Rabbit Hole…




Photos by Nicole.

Views of Bequia and Mustique, islands in The Grenadines. April’s reward. My escape from the fog of March’s hard slog.

“True Promise” Fishing boat, Bequia, The Grenadines. Photo credit: Nicole of Aquarius HR Consulting

If sailing is your thing, the Caribbean is the place to be in April.

Bequia Regatta and The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta


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