Q & A with Christine Arylo, author of Overwhelmed and Over It

Your book Overwhelmed and Over It encourages women to say, “This way of working isn’t working. And it has to change now!” Please tell us more.

Women have been a major part of the workforce for over 50-years, fighting for equal rights, equal pay and work/life balance. Our way of working, the way our structures are set up in our educational, healthcare, and financial systems are such that even if you have a high paying job, you can’t afford your life – you are either strapped for money or exhausted from trying to do it all. We women have become so resilient that we’ve become too tolerant. The truth is that the way our systems are structured, are built for burnout – we are expected to do more with less, to be accessible all the time. While some of the ways we’ve had to work for the past century or two may have been needed to get us here, it cannot and will not take us to where we need to go. There is a direct link between the instability and resource depletion on the planet and the pressure and burnout in people. If every woman on the planet looked around and really opened her eyes to what we’ve accepted as “how things have to be” in everything from the structure of a M-F workday to two weeks of vacation, to school schedules, to maternity leaves, we’d see the truth – we’ve been assimilating into systems that never had our best interests at heart. Today, in a world that must change, together, we do have the power to say, “NO MORE” to what’s not working. We must tap into our feminine wisdom to create the new ways – where wholeness, wellness, sustainability, harmony, and prospering – for all is at the core.

Your book seems to be coming along at a perfect time as so many are reimagining and redesigning the ways they work in dramatic ways. Do you think these times of change make it easier or more challenging for women to implement the perspective you offer?

Eventually easier, but at the moment it’s really challenging for many people because they have had to respond so swiftly, and there is so much uncertainty, that frankly most people haven’t been trained to deal with. I started writing Overwhelmed and Over It more than three years ago, and I’ve been teaching the principles in it for over a decade to help women see how the systems are built for burnout, while offering a different way to design our organizations, lives, and world. The pandemic and the social uprisings are like a big Universal wake up call to humans to slow down and look around. We as humans designed the systems that make up our society and world – from government to economics and beyond – which means we can re-imagine and re-design new ones. Where we start: Putting wellness, sustainability, and real wealth at the core of our own lives, not as an afterthought but as a requirement for how our jobs, roles, organizations, and lifestyles are designed. We must start asking courageous questions about what does not feel right or good, while unleashing our feminine wisdom to speak and challenge the status quo. We must wield our power as women to birth and design new ways of working, relating, and living that support and sustain people and the planet.

Your book encourages women to embrace the power of their fierce feminine heart. What do you mean by that?

Most women have been taught to use, value, and trust only half their power for making wise, aligned choices – the power of the intellect, which stems from the mind vs. full spectrum of power which includes both the intellect AND the intuition, which stems from the heart and body. We’ve been domesticated into a society that heralds the rational, mental, and logical, which are traditionally more masculine-based, over the intuitive, feeling and sensing ways of accessing knowledge that are more feminine-based. When women reconnect with their fierce feminine heart, and trust their inner knowing, confidence, courage and clarity build like a spiral within them. They stop waiting and assimilating and start feeling their power to make changes and create the world they desire to see – for themselves and the people they love and lead.

Instead of managing stress, you encourage women to release stress daily, in ways that support, not sabotage them. Can you give us a practical example of how that works?

Most women are so tired by the end of the day and they’ve given so much, that instead of releasing stress in supportive ways, they default to sabotaging habits that give them temporary relief but add to their allostatic stress load. They wine down vs. wind down. They fall asleep in your work clothes. They start a second day of work at 8pm. Here’s the truth most women don’t know that causes them to make choices that create burnout and overwhelm: How you end your day determines how you will start your next day. What you put into your body, mind and personal energetic and emotional field the hour before you go to sleep goes to sleep with you.

I teach women the practice of “Downshifting,” which is consciously choosing how to complete the last hour of their day – what they do, what they interact with and what they ingest. It’s not about doing more. It’s about stopping doing what depletes and drains you and releasing those sabotaging habits. It’s about replacing them with sustaining rituals, practices, and activities that actually replenish you and support your mind, body, spirit and heart to get calm, clear and rest.

You teach that women often bankrupt themselves because of the unconscious OVERgiving imprints that cause them to over give, over work, over care take and over stretch themselves and their resources. What are these imprints and how do you know if one is operating in your life?

Women operate like banks that give more withdrawals than receive deposits. It doesn’t take a business whiz to know if a bank or business gives out more than it receives, it goes bankrupt. Same with us. More often than not, we are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy – emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, even financially, because we keep giving more than we receive and can afford to give. Women have been overgiving and under receiving for so many generations, we’ve just come to accept it as a normal way to operate, work and be in relationship.

What I teach women is that they need to RETAIN their life force and resources and not just give all their time, energy, money, and care away by altering the exchange of input and output – with projects, people, organizations, communities, and everything else. The first steps is to become self-aware of the specific ways you overgive. After over a decade of research I have identified 13 ways – including OVERcaretaking, OVERextending, OVERfocusing on the future, OVERpromising and OVERprotecting, to name a few. If you can reveal the specific ways you overgive, you become empowered to shift the imbalance. Once women start to see all the ways in which they are overgiving and betraying themselves, something awakens in their fierce feminine heart. Something empowers them to take a stand for their own needs and to work and show up for others differently, in ways that create a harmonious give and take exchange.

Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shifts happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers workshops globally and lives near Seattle. Visit her online at OverwhelmedandOverIt.com.

Excerpted from the book Overwhelmed and Over It. Copyright ©2020 by Christine Arylo. Printed with permission from New World Library.