Overwhelmed, Underwhelmed or Just "Whelmed"?

This week is busy. The kind of week where your cup is full and just on the verge of overflowing - like that moment where you're adding milk to your coffee and you almost blow it by putting too much in.

Even so, I remind myself to be grateful. Just like coffee, my schedule leaves me buzzing with energy and excitement. I tell myself I have no right to complain, but that doesn't make the very real pressure I feel go away. However, a conservative estimate of the amount of times I've almost burst into tears this week would be about 50. Especially right before I go to sleep at night. I berate myself thinking, "What the heck were you thinking Jelayna?? How many episodes of “The Crown” are you going to watch before you actually wind down? You do know you have to be up at 5:30 am tomorrow right??”

It's during weeks like this I think of a funny line from one of my favorite flicks "10 Things I Hate About You" (One of the best teen romance movies ever made.)

In the movie, a young valley girl makes a ridiculous, yet philosophical observation when she asks, "I know you can be underwhelmed and you can be overwhelmed. But can you ever just be whelmed?"

Based on a week like this, I am here to say, yes. It is possible to just be whelmed.  It’s that state of being where life is moving along in full speed and you’re just barely breathing on the surface.

Luckily, during this “whelming” week I’ve come to a truly wonderful realization.

 In the past, being busy used to scare the sh*t out of me. My coping mechanisms of procrastination, overeating, avoiding social contact or just working out until I couldn't feel my feet would flare.

It’s taken time but now I realize I don’t lean on these unhealthy crutches as much. They’re definitely still there, but now I have more tools to deal with a full life.

I substitute these bad habits into healthier options like breathing exercises . (Incredibly novel, I highly recommend it.)

I ask for help.  Who knew people cared about me?

I’ve learned to say no to things.  It is one of the hardest lessons I am continuously learning.

I can pinpoint this mental shift towards not hitting the panic button every five minutes to a very specific moment 5 years ago. I was in a yoga class with my favorite teacher. He was discussing yamas and niyamas of yoga and the idea of creating our own suffering.

“So much discomfort we experience is of our own making. We imagine things going wrong, we stress out about the future and what we THINK might happen. But how many catastrophes that we create in our minds actually come to pass? Usually zero.”

We were in a really sweaty warrior two at this point and my burning thighs made me rather indignant towards this new notion of self-induced suffering. The nuclear disaster that I envision happening could very well take place! He couldn’t deny that.

But then he one “up-ed” my indignation by saying,

 “Even if these things do happen, worrying about them won’t change a thing. The only thing worry changes is you.”

Damn it. He was right. And what’s worse? Worry wasn't changing me for the better.

I am so grateful to this teacher. Because of him, during busy weeks like this I no longer freak out and fantasize about all the things that could go wrong, or worry about all of the things I can’t control.

Instead, I allow myself to simply be “whelmed”. I breathe through the pesky worries and instead, try to think of all the positive events that already happened, and probably will happen again in the future.

Even so, when it all gets to be a bit too much - crying is okay. Taking a break from socializing is allowed. Eating a cookie (or four, okay five) won’t kill me. Closing my eyes on a busy subway and dropping into deep breathing exercises is allowed, if somewhat socially awkward.

Yoga helped me accept the whelm. Not control, dread, or avoid it but to accept it.

After all - next week could be underwhelming, or perhaps overwhelming. So I will be grateful for the whelm and enjoy slurping up the excess blessings of this one wild and precious life.

Written By:  Jelayna Da Silva
Jelayna is a passionate yoga teacher and writer living in downtown Toronto. Her love for yoga takes her across the GTA to teach at several studios and to multiple clients. With a background in Psychology and College Athletics she infuses her classes and writing with mental and physical awareness, not to mention a healthy sense of humor. Whether leading at a large outdoor events, in a classroom, or in the home of a client her philosophy for teaching is simple - teach with love, empathy, patience and humility. Yoga is a journey, not a destination.  www.jelaynayoga.com