• Erin

Overwhelmed and Frozen

It's always interesting to experience the weeks following January 1st. To step into the space of witnessing the flurry of resolutions and changes happening around you. It can be intense. Everyone is going to the gym. No longer drinking. Reducing time scrolling through social media. Taking on a new hobby or project. It's as though the flood gates of possibility are open and it's all rushing in.

You may be standing in the middle of this storm and think, "I'm not doing enough. Time to find a personal trainer. Research the best diet. Pick up a new book that will tell me what I need..." You watch the movement happen all around you. You find you can't sleep as well, or that you're starting to second guess everything you've been doing that you thought was working. The most manageable tasks become daunting and you find it hard to take a step toward doing anything. Maybe you're researching a lot, but taking action is hard. You end up spending the day not really doing anything.

Welcome to frozen. When overstimulated, particularly by change, your brain may read it as too much, as dangerous. To protect yourself you close in and down. Like a cocoon of protection. In this moment don't judge it, it is simply something to notice. You may feel that what you've been doing is uninspiring and it has become tainted in some way. Things can appear so unappealing as they currently are that you feel the weight of failure and you might have trouble differentiating between what you want, what mechanism in you wants it, and what to do to start moving energy again.

Much like the young person sitting under the tree in the Four of Cups (tarot card), you become disinterested, disengaged and so lost in your thoughts that you disconnect from the wisdom, experiences and successes being held in the three cups you already have, so much so that you also fail to see anything new arriving. The cocoon has wrapped you so tightly your vision becomes blocked and you can't see the gifts or resources being offered, the new opportunities available.

All is not lost. You don't have to stay stuck. Your ability to notice the apathy, the disconnect, is your first step toward moving energy and thawing out. Now isn't the time to regret or feel guilt about how long you lived there (we'll talk more about healthy ways to be with those two later), now your job is to love that part of you that wants so much to grow, but perhaps doesn't have enough clarity yet to identify direction.

As the year starts rolling forward, as time always will, begin by identifying what is really yours and what is a result of the pressures and messaging existing outside of you. This type of differentiation can be hard. It's okay to take a few goes at it. You may try something and hit the breaks realizing, oops, totally not you. Realizing that desire to exercise each morning isn't because you "want to be healthier" it is really the voice of a parent telling you to "suck it in" or repeated images flashing through your mind of you in high school trying on clothes with friends and feeling so uncomfortable in your skin. With this knowledge you can take a different, kinder approach to making - or not making- changes.

The new year can bring excitement, an opportunity for an intentional reboot. This works for some. It can also bring resistance, an I don't buy into resolutions kind of attitude. Some of this is a valid acknowledgment of the unhealthy existence of diet culture that saturates society today. You might also discover some fear. Apprehension led by an inaccurate perception of yourself with a dial set to remind you of everything you think you need to be that you're not. You'll get better and better at discerning over time what is the voice of a deep inner knowing and what is something else. It takes practice.

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Erin McCloskey provides confidential, client-focused counseling, coaching and therapy services specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Women’s Health, Chronic Stress, Life Transitions, Low Motivation, Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, Self Esteem, Spirituality, and Maternal Mental Health including issues in Pregnancy, Prenatal Anxiety, and Postpartum Depression.

Serving: Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark and Greenville, DE as well as Media, Garnet Valley, and Chadds Ford, PA, and their surrounding communities.

Erin McCloskey, M.Ed., LPCMH

3526 Silverside Road, Suite 36

Wilmington, DE 19810


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