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#130: Reducing Overwhelm: How Not to Be Your Own Worst Enemy

music and meaning Nov 13, 2023

As of today, the day this podcast episode goes live, it is exactly six weeks until Christmas. As I said that, a little shiver ran down my spine. What was your reaction? Maybe you are channeling your inner child who can hardly wait for Christmas and you were jumping up and down. 

But I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a little annoyed or even felt a flutter of anxiety at being reminded of how fast the holiday season is approaching. Those Christmas songs that already form the shopping soundtrack in every store are more than a little irritating to me. They seem to bring out my inner Scrooge and it’s mostly because they just remind me of everything I still have to do to get ready. In a word, it feels overwhelming.

Of course, the feeling of overwhelm when it comes to your harp playing isn’t just a holiday phenomenon. Overwhelm poses a challenge for us every day. There is always a spot that needs more work, some technical drill we should be doing, new music we want to learn, old pieces we want to review, and the list goes on. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

So I thought this would be the perfect time to talk with you about overwhelm. I don’t want to talk just about the holiday pressures and the extra playing we do and how to fit it all in. Especially NOT about how to fit it all in, because I don’t think that’s the healthiest approach. I want to explore with you the two different types of overwhelm: actual overwhelm, which is about the outside forces acting on us, and perceived overwhelm, which is about the pressure we create ourselves. When it comes to actual overwhelm there are fairly simple strategies that we can use to relieve it. But the perceived overwhelm that is our own internal creation is more difficult to recognize and much harder to defeat. Of course it can be defeated and also of course, I have a quick and easy to remember word to help you with that. It’s the word “free,” because that’s how we all want to feel: free to enjoy our harp playing, our music, and our friends and family whether it’s in the holidays or any time of year. 

So if you’re ready to conquer the overwhelm and breathe easy again, stick with me today. You’re going to love this.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected]


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