Q&A with Esme Filsinger
What do you find yourself overthinking about the most?
Honestly, it is often when I have been overworking and when I am trying to unwind, and the thoughts are based around the fact that I feel like I am wasting time. I am working on being more present; meditation helps!
How do you deal with ‘what if’ and ‘should have’ thoughts if they play on your mind?
I am pretty good at banishing them these days and maintaining a balance of staying in the present and looking to the future. With ‘what if’ scenarios, I like to do a little fear setting. This is a pretty simple process of rationalising what would actually happen if things went wrong and what I would do in that scenario. Most times the answer is ‘pick myself up, brush myself off and start again.’
What do you do at night if your mind is swirling with thoughts?
I have a few methods that help. One is to write everything down to deal with later — it gives the sense of having taken some action on the perceived problem. Another one is to do a little meditation or yoga; often something physical seems more grounding, so I hop on Youtube and do a short yoga vid or some sun salutations. Occasionally I take some over-the-counter herbal things to calm me and apply lavender oil to my pillow too, it all helps!
When you feel overwhelmed what do you do to cope?
Talking it out, writing it down and having a good cry usually all help! It’s not always easy to reach out to people when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I will make myself do it and it’s usually the right decision. I try to minimise environmental factors such as mess, and try to implement a good morning routine involving some kind of meditation.
How do you maintain balance?
Ha, the joyous see-saw of life, and the million dollar question! The only thing that really helps me maintain consistent balance is keeping my vision clear and prominent in my mind. Having spent years being someone who ‘life happened to’, I need to feel like I am working from a place of intention and in alignment with my core values, and towards something that is meaningful. Being aware of my values and where I want to go in life makes it much easier to see which actions are necessary and important, and which things can be dropped when the pressure gets high. It forces you to prioritise, which really defines where I need to say yes and where i need to say no.
How do you open a conversation around mental health with someone who you feel is struggling?
I always feel that it’s important to enter that space without thinking that you can fix them. From personal experience, holding space for openness and trust around mental health involves acknowledging that most people are acutely aware of what they ‘should’ be doing or the suggested ‘fixes’ around their mental health issues. We all have Google now and often when we are looking for a confidant, it’s more about feeling listened to and seen in the space we are currently occupying rather than your well meaning friends WebMD diagnosis. That’s not to say I’ve never given advice or made suggestions around these things, but I think listen first. Active listening is a skill that a lot of us could do with improving, myself included!
How do you help someone constantly talking about their worries and seeking reassurance?
This can be such a difficult thing to deal with, if you don’t maintain good boundaries then there is definitely room for exhaustion and resentment to manifest. I am getting better about protecting my energy, it doesn’t mean I don’t care but I simply don’t always have the emotional and mental resources to absorb other people’s issues constantly. Usually saying no in a gentle way serves your friendship in the end, it means that you have more energy to invest positively in the relationship because you feel less drained. Something that I have been guilty of is not being direct about my own needs and consequently avoiding people, even when they are only proffering positive interactions; this is probably because I have failed to set good boundaries, and the idea of socialising with them leaves me open to behaviour that I feel overwhelmed by. I am becoming better at adopting Brene Brown’s mantra: “choose discomfort now, over resentment later.”
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