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For anyone that consistently struggles to switch off and feels guilty taking time off.


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That Anxious Feeling.

April 15, 2023
Watt Coaching leaves

You know that feeling, where you can’t quite settle, you feel het up, and your head is going at 100mph?

For me it is usually accompanied by a squirmy discomfort in my tummy or a tight feeling in my chest. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to know this as feeling anxious

Previously, I would just feel like I had to be on the go or doing something all the time. I couldn’t sit still.

That was a big part of what led me to fill my life with so many things. In doing so it would dull the feeling of it. Distract me from it. Or at least make me feel like I was doing something productive…

When I started to understand more about the chronic stress response, I knew it was adrenaline coursing around my body that gave me the sensation of needing to be active and on the go.

However, I also knew that if I wanted to be able to switch off, relax and really be present so I could actually enjoy my down time with friends and family, I needed to re-train my brain and body to be able to settle.

I didn’t want to continue in the same pattern of cramming my life with things that I ‘needed’ to do to the point where I became exhausted, couldn’t think clearly and was desperate for a break anymore. When this happened, I was forced to take time out to recover. Once my energy was back up again (or even before it was a lot of the time!) I would go full pelt at it again, to catch up with all that I had missed because my body had ‘let me down’.

I knew the theory of it. I knew that I needed to allow my system to come down out of the stress response. I needed to get used to being still, calm and relaxed.

But, damn, was that uncomfortable!!

I remember one day, I was really tired by mid-afternoon.

For years I had got used to waking in the early hours of the morning with a head full of thoughts. Sometimes even excited about what I had coming up that day.

But, feeling like there was no chance of getting back to sleep, I would get up and crack on with the day. Caffeine would help me through. Or if it was one of those times where I was trying to reduce my caffeine intake because I knew the effects it has on the brain and body, I’d push through. I say push through but it often felt more like I was dragging myself through. Especially when the mid-afternoon slump hit.

So there I was, exhausted having not slept well, starting my day in the early hours and flagging by mid afternoon.

I knew the benefits of taking a short nap, or even meditating, to help rejuvenate my energy. Not only because that’s what the evidence shows, but because I had experienced it at times when I had been able to do so. I was working from home and so I was able to go and have a lie down on the sofa. I was planning for just a short rest before I needed to go again. I knew that it would help clear my head and restore my energy levels.

But no matter how much I tried, my head just kept on going. Thoughts whizzing around it. I could feel my heart beating so hard in my chest too. Fluttering occasionally, like palpitations. I was so desperate to get up and move because the feeling was so uncomfortable and sitting in it was HARD!

But I was also so desperate for the rest.

And so the argument started in my head…

“Get up. Just go and get on with your work, you’re not going to be able to rest anyway.”


“You need this rest, you know this is what you need to be able to think clearly.

Stay where you are.”


“What’s the point? Just give up and go and use this time to do something productive instead!”


“You have to break the pattern.”


For those of you wondering what I did, I put my hand over my heart and turned, so I was sort of lay on it. The pressure helped. It was comforting. I could feel my heart pounding in my hand. But eventually it subsided and I fell asleep.

I have to say, it’s been a long time since I needed a nap or rest in the day like that. I have re-trained my brain and body a lot since then and in doing so, I have gained much greater awareness of the signals it gives me and what it needs.

That in turn enables me to manage my energy levels, sleep patterns, and overthinking headspace a lot better!


However, that anxious feeling does still show up. And quite regularly too.

Being a business owner doesn’t help with that.

You are top dog, after all. Responsible for the success or failure of the business. Never truly knowing for sure whether you’ll have enough money coming in this month to cover the expenses and be able to draw a wage.

There’s a lot of instability in that. A lot of unknowns.

A lot of things that could potentially go wrong, that all rests on your shoulders.

And so, that anxious feeling might be niggling away there in the background quite a lot.

There’s a great exercise I do to help understand the fears, worries, doubts or concerns that are underlying the sensation. I’ve been doing it a lot on myself recently too, so I can work through what is coming up.

Because when you understand why it’s there, it makes it a hell of a lot easier to do something about it, get rid of the feeling and be able to overcome the challenge or obstacle you are facing.

I’d love to share the exercise with you, so just get in touch if you’d like to know more:

  • You can either use the contact form here to drop me a message.
  • Or book a complimentary 30 minute consultation in my diary here and we can run through it then.

But in the meantime, the next time you’re feeling that niggly, squirmy discomfort, just pay a bit more attention to it. It’s your brain and body’s way of trying to give you a message. So if you carry on without paying it any attention, it doesn’t go away. Instead, it becomes heightened until you can’t sit still or switch off because your heart is racing, your head is on overdrive and you feel so overwhelmed by all that you have to do.

Written By

Jo Plimmer

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