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Managing the invisible load

How to move away from overwhelm and reconnect with your true self

These days, it seems like everyone is dealing with endless to-do lists. That includes making medical appointments, ensuring your kids are eating enough vegetables, and keeping track of school activities and sporting schedules…

And while this list may look different for everyone, one thing’s for sure - it never ends!

No matter what you do, the overwhelm of this ‘invisible load’ that we carry is constant - causing everyday distress, and physical and emotional pain.

Sound familiar?

A very wise woman by the name of Dr Libby Weaver describes the invisible load as “..the stress we carry, that no one sees, that drives how we think and feel.”

“It's essentially the stress that we carry that we don't even know is there, and if we don't know it's there, others can't know either.”

And when this load increases, we need to ask ourselves - are we increasing our resources in order to manage that load?

In this article, you’ll learn how to build resilience and identify what’s driving this sense of overwhelm. My practical, science-based solutions will provide strategies to help you manage your invisible load - enabling you to overcome this stress and burden.

ACE - The power of self-compassion and kindness

My acronym ‘ACE’ (Acknowledge, Come back and Encouragement) is a useful strategy to help you recognise and deal with the pressure you’re putting yourself through. More importantly, you need to handle it with self-compassion and kindness. As you practise the ACE strategy, you’ll discover the path of how to effectively manage your invisible load.

Acknowledge: The first step is to consciously recognise the thoughts and feelings affecting you.

Come back: It’s crucial to take a moment, pause, and re-visit your priorities and values. What’s really important to you right now? Tap into your identity - who you really are.

Encouragement: If you’re an invisible load carrier, you may find it difficult to ask for help. Take steps in delegating tasks and seeking support from others. In other words, look for ways to share your load.

Strategies to manage your invisible load

To help you feel less overwhelmed, consider the tools below.

1. Be nurtured by nature

Research shows spending time in nature, or bringing nature into your everyday life, is beneficial to your physical and emotional well-being. For some this could mean exercising outdoors or gardening.

Exposure to nature contributes to positive physical health by reducing your blood pressure, heart rate, and production of stress hormones. In addition, time in nature increases your ability to be present, which provides the much-needed respite for your overactive mind.

2. Practise self care

How much ‘me-time’ did you have today? I’m guessing your answer is either “not enough” or “none”.

The pressure of everyday life might make it difficult to develop a consistent self-care plan. It’s also no easy task to take time for yourself when you’re used to priortising everyone and everything else first. Try some of these simple ideas to prevent burnout on a daily basis:

  • Do some form of exercise you enjoy

  • Have an early night so you can wake feeling refreshed

  • Meditate

  • Write in your journal

  • Eliminate or minimise coffee, sugar, and alcohol

3. Learning mindfulness

Learning mindfulness provides an opportunity for you to bring your attention back to the present - without judgement towards any fleeting thoughts. Practising mindfulness relaxes the body and mind - and helps to reduce stress. I recommend:

  • Focusing on your breathing - Find a quiet place to sit or lie down, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body.

  • Paying attention - Exercise an appreciation of the simple daily tasks you do, and the results they achieve. For example, when you eat your favourite meal, take the time to smell, taste, and truly savour it.

  • Waking up with a purpose - Before checking your phone or emails when you wake up, ask yourself ‘What is my intention for today?’ Intentions may include:

    • Today I will be kind to myself

    • Today I will be patient to others

    • Today I will eat clean

Then, throughout the day, revisit your intention.

The invisible load is real. It’s not only exhausting - it also impacts your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And if it’s not managed properly, it can affect your personal and professional relationships, as well as performance.

If you’re looking for lifelong tools to allow you to live life with less stress, our Ignite Program can help.

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