Overworked and Overwhelmed

It can be any kind of emotion that makes them feel overwhelmed from sadness to anger, frustration, amazement, joy or shock or a combination of these and other emotions and feelings.

Often ‘I feel overwhelmed’ is also if a person is ecstatic..very happy ..maybe for instance because their loved one has presented them with an amazing gift….then again..it can be that they simply feel temporarily stunned and cannot think of any sensible response until they ‘calm down’ or take a break for a while.

I’m in the office 3 days a week and as a freelancer, I have many other projects on the go.  

Meaning I’m working 7 days a week, up to 18 hours a day.

I love everything I’m working on hence me being able to work all the time but I found that last week, it all became too much.

After working for 4 days at 21 hours a day, multi-tasking (event logistics, volunteer coordinator, tv producer & director), it was the breaking point for me to understanding that I’m spreading myself too thin.

I was having arguments with my husband, who too was exhausted as he was coming from his day job to help.

I actually had a cigarette one night at 2am, when I haven’t smoked in years!.

This is when I knew, I had to take a break.

A Break before the Breakdown.

With people constantly asking me for my opinion, advice and help for everything, I just wanted to get away.

I wanted to be in silence.   

A week prior to the 4 day event, I even looked at a Buddhist silence retreat! as I already acknowledged that I’m on the brink of a breakdown.

12 hours after the event, I found that when I was  suppose to sleeping, I was on the phone “handling things”, my own version of Olivia Pope from the tv show, Scandal.

I didn’t get to rest, exhausted, I decided last minute, to leave.

I was pondering Muskoka but the drive is apx 2.5 hours and cottage rentals costly.

I then thought, Ottawa.  

I’ve been going to Le Nordik spa in Chelsea, PQ which is 15 mins out of Ottawa and my first instinct was to go to the outdoor spa.

Then, I quickly looked for an Air BnB close by, I luckily booked a boathouse, last minute.

I booked a ticket last minute on the Via Rail for $75 and left.  

I slept the whole way on the train, which helped me to recover, slightly.

I grabbed a car rental early in the morning and made my way to Chelsea.

I wanted to see this boathouse that I was to inhabit for the next few days.

After wondering where I’m going, I found the house docked off the Gatineau River.

Talk about back to basics.  

No power, no running water, outdoor buckets (toilet).

At first, I panicked.  How am I going to survive this?

A few weeks ago, I did mentioned that I wanted to do a 2019 of the Simple Life, well, that manifested faster than I thought!

I put my LV neverfull (that was full of my own pillow and a change of clothes)  and Gucci purse down on a piece of wood and looked at a mattress that was strapped to the wall, that was now going to be my bed.

The scent of musk surrounded me and I laughed.  What did I get myself into?!

Of course I brought my own essential oil blend to protect me from the elements, so i sprayed it all over my 10x10 bunkie on the water.

The scent was comforting and helped guard me from bug bites.

I then went back outside and looked at the water.  

Suddenly, my ears were ringing.  The sound of silence.

However, it was my ears ringing because there was no white noise of cars, electricity or hustling around.

My hearing adjusted and I heard, water moving and birds chirping.  

The sound of the wind, slightly brushing against the trees.

Within 10 minutes, I felt - at ease.

As I sat on a bench on a slightly swaying boathouse, I thought, I think I can do this!

We are use to being so busy, overworked and under appreciated that we often forget to take time or are too nervous to ask for time off.  

Not everyone has this luxury of just “taking off” then dealing with it as easily as I did.  

What is the fine line of understanding you are overwhelmed and overworked OR your employees are?

As these thoughts entered and escaped quickly, I decided to go to the spa.

Le Nordik Spa was 10 minutes away from the boathouse in Old Chelsea, I drove slowly as I knew I had all day to spend there.

Nuzzled away at the entrance of the Gatineau Park, the spa is ideally located in the hills, overlooking the urban sprawl. 

Nordik has seven outdoor baths, eight sauna’s, one infinity pool, a number of steam rooms, two restaurants and numerous lounge areas with fireplaces! 

They also have a recently added Kalla experience, which is only the second salt-water floating pool in the world! 

This is my favourite experience at Le Nordik, second is the Russian salt scrub area.  

Imagine, scrubbing yourself with lavendar or eucalyptus infused epson salts?

I arrived mid-afternoon to begin my spa experience.  It was hard to turn off my cellphone and leave it in the lockers, but I did.

At check-in, you are given a bracelet to wear that you can pre-fill with money for your spa purchases, such as food, drinks, locker entry and various services. 

As I have been there before, I knew where I wanted to go but my GO-GO-GO mind had a hard time relaxing.  I walked around to check it out, pondered having lunch, then I decided to go straight to the Salt Pool.  Where I floated for about 30 minutes (in total I floated for 3 hours throughout my day).

This helped relax my body but no my mind.  I tried to meditate, didn’t happen.  I was going over the to do list of my life.

How often do we feel like we need to be busy to feel like we are successful or have a sense of purpose?

As I floated and pondered, I slowly let go of the pressure, that I was giving myself.

Through out the day, I went to all the experiences within Le Nordik and enjoyed not talking.

I ended up there for 7 hours.  

Which worked out as I wanted to be clean prior to heading back to no power, no running water and no real bathroom.

I watched the sunset and the stars appear in the sky.  The crickets surrounding me and the calm water that was rocking the boathouse.

I was able to text Bonnie, the owner of the houseboat and she was letting me know about her 2 other houseboats and she invited me to shower and go for breakfast the next day.

The next morning, I woke up from sleeping on the floor at 4:45am.  

The sun was slowly rising and I laid on the floor, thinking about how nice it was to sleep alone, no alarm waking me and especially, no sense of urgency.

I washed up using water I had brought and at about 7am I heard a bird, singing, I wish I knew bird calls, as she would sing and birds would sing right after her.  Like a wake up and roll call.  I was immursed in nature.

I strolled into the town of Wakefield, 8 minutes away to shower at Bonnie’s place, it felt like I was in Tofino, BC.

I woke my pjs to her place.  I knew that I was in full relaxation mode.  I didn’t have to put makeup on, fix my hair.

It didn’t matter.

The rest of the day was spent getting to know, Bonnie and her taking me to an island that she and her Buddhist community are developing a place for retreats. Isn't that ironic?

As I took it all in, I realized.  I’m now 30 minutes from Ottawa and I am experiencing a series of situations that are reminded me, that adventure is so close to home.

For me, the thought of being so close to Ottawa where my best friends live reminded me that there is always an option.

During the days, I wandered, laid out and in the evening, I went to Ottawa for dinner with friends, in the same clothes I had been wearing all week, no makeup and messy hair driving a Mercedes.....

It was a great balance.  

Often we are so pre-occupied days pass us by.  We forget that if we take a moment or schedule time, we can disconnect, prevent overwork and overwhelm.

I know that I will be back in Ottawa at least 3 times this summer and I plan on making a point to stay in Chelsea/Wakefield to get back to basics.

As the event planner, now being able to reflect on my week, I know what to do an talk that talk about overworked & overhwlemed.

I'm now working on a retreat with her.experiences, to go to Ottawa and live the experiences that I did.

Being overworked and overwhelmed is something that we live day to day, let’s start to understand our wellness is important to ourselves and the community we surround ourselves with.

What are you going to do to take that first step?



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