NLP Tool for when overwhelmed

At the beginning of this year, I was ill for about 3 months on and off, and it was starting to become a real pain.  I was chomping at the bit to get going with all my business ideas but couldn’t even do the basics. I knew about slowing down, and not trying to do it all at once, due to the Adrenal Fatigue that I had experienced.  That experience was huge for me, and life-changing, especially in how I saw energy and time, my boundaries and my empowerment.

So why was I now getting ill again?

‘This is crazy’, I thought. 

Always ill or tired

You cannot underestimate how important self-love and self-care is.  Burn-out weakens the immune system, and as I kept getting ill, catching all the superbugs that were spreading through the country,  I was starting to feel the familiar symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. I had gone to a lot of lengths not to feel like that again. Yet, here I was again, finding it hard to stay positive and keep going.   I had to drop things like exercise, or even the energy required to get excited about work projects, or even doing things that were nice for me because I only had the capacity for the basics; my job my daughter. 

Everything seemed to have dropped – housework, my cooking etc. and then, of course, becomes a negative spiral and the very things that would help me feel better had been discarded. It took me back to that first couple of years when I came back to the UK and felt like this for so long… it was scary to be fatigued again.

This to me, was a message for a clear-out, a cleanse, a big decision, a change – and so I did, I realised that although I had been working a lot with my mind on this subject, which is due to my passion and expertise in the areas, I had slowly begun to neglect my body.  Which we all know, indirectly then impacts the mind and mood. 

 ‘But I’m not that unhealthy, I do quite well’,

I was saying to myself. And this is because we are faced with all these products that are classed as ‘normal’ but not the best for our systems.  I say products because they are ‘produced’ and manufactured, and marketed.  While some can handle certain food and drink better than others, many of us can’t, and it builds up in the body – kust like it builds in the mind.

Cleansing and clearing

I decided to skip bread again – plus gluten, dairy, and sugar etc. and go full-on cleanse.  It didn’t take long for me to get back to myself.  

First, my mood, my energy, and my sleep improved.

As a bonus, I also looked completely different and back to myself.  I was determined that at the turning point of 40, that I would not continue down this route. I have a choice at this junction; continue this way, or make a big shift. An additional motivation was my daughter – having a baby a little later in life got me thinking about if she has a child in her late 30’s, I will be almost 80 and I want to be a fit and healthy grandma.

And so, I encourage you to also:

please listen to your bodies and your minds, and give yourself time and space to relax and breathe….

to prevent that happening.

I’ve missed doing those things that I love so much, and it does impact your wellbeing.

If you look back over your month what do you do for YOU? What about on a daily basis, what can you bring in or remove something?

What can we do about it?

Here’s a tool that I often come back to.  Even if you have seen and explored this before, it’s not a static document; it moves and it’s organic.  Every now and then we need to step back and look at how we are living our lives, and what small tweaks, or big changes we can make.

One thing I have come to know is that no one will do this for us.  Even with family members, friends or partners with the best intension cannot do this for us, if they do force you to relax and stop, perfect but that’s very rare.  We must do it for ourselves; our mental health, relaxation, or ‘me’ time is down to us – to carve that time out, to assert yourself for it, and protect it.

I always say ‘my ‘me’ time is for everyone else’s health and safety’.

NLP Life-Wheel

So this tool is called the life wheel. It’s part of the NLP tools.  It aims to help you categorise your life and see the bigger picture.  Whether you have seen this before, and very familiar, or new to it – it’s a snap-shot in time, so it can be done again and again.  It’s used when you are feeling overwhelmed, for you to reassess and make some new choices. Just filling it in can relieve some pressure, feeling more empowered.

Spend some time deciding which categories you’d like – I suggest 6 so as not to overwhelm, but many choose 8. 

For example, someone who is work-orientated might have 3 categories in work, L & D, career development, current work, followed by family, friends and ‘me’ time.

Someone who is health-conscious might have; exercise, diet, relaxation, self-development, family, friends.

Someone who is family-oriented might have; partner, child 1, child 2, parents, fun stuff, house or garden stuff.

For a larger category of 8, it might be the following as a standard one:

  1. Work
  2. Partner
  3. Children
  4. Friends
  5. Relaxation
  6. Exercise
  7. Food
  8. Hobbies

Once you have categorised it, you then decide what your satisfaction is at this moment. On a scale of  1-10, decide how satisfied you are currently in this area. Mark the number on each category and then join up the dots to reveal the shape of your wheel. This is where it becomes kind of subjective because satisfaction means different things to different people, but that’s ok because this is for YOU – no one else, and so as long as you know what it means then that’s what’s important.

If you are having a particularly busy time at work it might mean that some other areas are not as strong, such as family.  Or it might be that you are supporting the healing of friends at the moment and that is overwriting other areas. Or you might be going through a period of personal development and business development and not much time for anything else.

The purpose here is to show that we cannot have a perfect wheel.  We cannot be always flying high in all our categories, and that it’s ok, it’s normal.  It’s just about awareness. Accepting that in a calmer state of mind, and compartmentalising how things are right now.  It’s then up to you to look at it and assess whether you think certain areas are ok for now, or not.   

After some contemplation, return the diagram, and markdown on a scale of 1-10 where we would LIKE things to be.  In some cases, it might be the same number, even if that number is a 5 or a 6, because right now you accept and understand that for one of your other categories to flourish, you have to cut back on this one. In other cases, you might be already high at an 8 or a 9 but in that particular category, you want it to be a 10 for whatever reason.  In this case, another category needs to be reduced to allow for that expansion.

When we look at how we make those changes, we can bluff the system a little in 1 or 2 cases.  The best advice I can give, again, is not about overwhelming yourself with change, and trying to. You don’t have to change everything.  Also, sometimes if you change just one thing well – it impacts everything else beautifully.  

For example, if you are struggling with how you feel about yourself, and you would like to be more social and get out more, but your work is either not in line with your passion, or it’s too demanding or stressful – then you have choices. They all impact one another. So you could either start by going out with friends more, which makes things lighter at work. Or you could start with your health and wellbeing and this influences the choices you make about how you approach stress at work; impacting your satisfaction at work and therefore giving you time for your friends.  Or you cut to the core and decide what needs changing at work, and as Eckhart Tolle says; 

‘When you find yourself in turmoil, don’t make yourself the victim; Influence change, accept it, or leave.  All else is madness’. Ekhart Tolle

I always like to point out at this stage that acceptance is different from suppression. If you choose this route, be sure to fully accept with peace and happiness in your choice, not pushing the issue beneath the surface.

Come back to this tool any time you feel things are all over the place and check-in with yourself.  My definition of mindfulness is:

Mindfulness: Pause – check in with yourself (awareness)  and make a new choice

Be the leader in your own life and take hold of your empower


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