Listen to the Full Episode:

“I feel so overwhelmed.”

“I just have so much going on.”

“Life is crazy busy right now.”

5 areas to watch for overwhelm in your life – including your language and your thoughts.I hear so many versions of this sentence from my clients. It seems like everyone’s running around feeling overwhelmed, trying to get everything done and finally cross the last item off a never-ending to do list. We think that then we’ll feel better.

This isn’t how overwhelm works, my friends. Overwhelm isn’t caused by your to do list, or your job, or all the obligations in your life. It’s caused by your thoughts about those things.

I think many of us have also bought into the idea that we have to be busy if we want to create the life we want. That we have to constantly work hard, take care of everyone else’s needs, and put ourselves on the backburner if we want to live an extraordinary life.

What if I told you overwhelm is actually getting in the way of your extraordinary life?

In this episode I’m talking about the feeling of overwhelm and why it’s the opposite of a productive, creative mindset. I share some of my experiences with overwhelm and some of the thoughts I’ve had to shift in order to find more ease, flow, and relaxation. And I’m also running through five areas you can watch in your own life – including your language and your thoughts – if you want to reduce the amount of overwhelm you’re feeling as you go through each day.

What You Will Discover:

  • Why overwhelm actually gets in the way of creating a successful, happy life.
  • That overwhelm is never created by our external circumstances.
  • How I realized that checking everything off my to-do list wouldn’t keep overwhelm at bay.
  • Five things to pay attention to if you want to reduce the amount of overwhelm your brain is creating.
  • Why it’s so important to schedule time for self-care into our weekly calendars.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

Last week I was sitting in my office and it was a beautiful day. Nothing had gone wrong. In fact, everything has been going so right, but then this old familiar feeling started to creep in. I started to think about all the things that were on my calendar. I began to think of all the things that need to be done. I began to play out these dreadful images in my mind of what might happen if I don't finish projects.

All of a sudden, I wasn't being present, but I was in the future. Three months from now, six months from now, a year from now, five years from now, thinking about the worst-case scenarios and all of the things that need to be done. Can you relate?

And as I did this, I noticed that my chest started to tighten, my heart rate was speeding up, and then I remembered the truth and it's what I've been teaching my clients for years. And it is this; overwhelm is not required and in this episode, we're going to talk about the dreaded O word and how to deal with it.

Bonjour and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I'm Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I'll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let's dive into today's episode.

Hello. Welcome to another episode of the French Kiss Life Podcast. What a whirlwind of a weekend, my friends. So here's what's been up in my world. My daughter's lease in Nashville ran out or finished up, however you want to put it, and she decided she wanted to come back to Colorado. She loves Colorado and so I went to Nashville to pack up all of her things, and then my friends and I drove her car back.

So we were in the car for 20 hours. And what does one do when she's in the car with her best friend for 20 hours? Well, you talk about all the things. Life and love and for the two of us, we talk about style because my friend is one of the most stylist women that I know. And so we were talking about the latest trends and what we wanted for our closets.

We were all over the place in terms of our discussions. But then today I had another friend that called me up and she was like, Tonya, why in the world did you do that? Why didn't you just pay someone to go out there and move all of Sarah's things?

And the truth of it is I could have paid someone, I even considered it, and when I think about everything that's on my schedule and my commitments, it would have made a lot more sense for me just to have paid someone to do those things for me. But there's a part of me, and I don't know if you all can relate to this, but I still like to be in the nitty-gritty of life.

And I don't know if this is the Southern in me, but my mom and my grandmother raised me to get down in the grit. They raised me also to have grace and to have gumption. And so while I love luxurious things, and while I love traveling well and I love conveniences and I love my housekeeper, like I adore her, I never want to depend on those things.

I don't know if this is making any sense. I don't even know why I'm sharing this with you but I am. So for me, it means yes, I love having a driver, I love the convenience of having an assistant. I love having those things, they definitely make life easier, but I'm also the girl that if the toilet needs to be cleaned, I'm going to be in there cleaning the toilet.

If something needs to be done, I'm going to be getting it done. I am the woman who if we need to take the metro or the subway, it's going to be amazing and we're going to do it, and to me, that's where the nitty-gritty of life happens. That's where you see the most amazing things and meet the most interesting people.

And so when it came to me daughter's move, I was just like, you know what, I want to be the one to fly out there, pack up her things, make sure it's done properly and correctly, I'm going to have a few days in Nashville where I can work and play a little bit, and then I get to spend 20 hours in the car with one of my best friends. And so yeah, that's what's been up for me.

Now, let's talk about you. This is the part of the show where I get to highlight someone in the community who has benefitted from what we do over here at French Kiss Life. And today's community spotlight is on Michelle Grizwald.

She wrote a five-star iTunes review where she said, "Birds of a feather fly together. French Kiss Life is an audio glass of champagne that reminds you of what truly matters most in life. In contrast to the typical personal development content you find on nearly every other podcast in the self-help genre, Tonya Leigh is a breath of fresh air. Her light-hearted but deep anecdotes have the ability to speak directly to your heart. Her warm, kind, gently but firm messages encourage listeners to cultivate lives they love and are proud of. There is no surprise at the number of amazing reviews of this podcast. Every woman needs to hear Tonya Leigh and her French Kiss Life message."

Michelle, I love you. You've been in the community for a long time and your review means so much. I especially love that you called it an audio glass of champagne. So cheers to you, my friend, and cheers to all of you in the French Kiss Life community. And hey, if you want to be featured in an upcoming community spotlight, all you have to do is leave me a five-star review on iTunes or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook, or email us at

Let's talk about overwhelm. When I'm working with clients, this is one of the words that I hear most often. It's like at the top of our vocabulary these days. I'm so overwhelmed. I'm so busy. I'm never going to get it all done. And I don't know about you all but when I'm feeling overwhelmed and I'm running all of these crazy thoughts in my head, I'm not more productive. In fact, overwhelm often causes me to feel paralyzed, which ironically creates more overwhelm because you're not getting things done.

You start to feel like you're being buried underneath the mass of responsibilities and obligations that you've committed to. And yet, I feel like we often think that overwhelm is required, that we need to be overwhelmed to get things done. It's just like women who think they need to beat themselves up in order to lose weight.

But that never ever works. I really want you to think about how overwhelm feels in your body and when you're feeling that way, how you show up in your life. Are you super focused? Are you super organized? Do you get things done? And more importantly, are you having fun doing it?

We may even get things done when we're overwhelmed, but we create the end product of still being overwhelmed. Because here's what I want you to know; overwhelm is never created by anything outside of you. Now, I know some of you are like, what? But Tonya, what about my to-do list? What about all of my commitments? What about my job? What about all that's expected of me?

But here's the thing; overwhelm is an emotion and emotions are created by the thoughts in your head. Period. It's cognitive behavioral therapy, it's how the world works. It's why one person can be in your life and have a very different experience than what you're having. Why is that? Because of what we think about our life.

And this was a game-changer for me, you all. Because I used to think okay, when I get my to-do list checked off and I get all the things done, then I won't feel overwhelmed. And so I'd work really hard and I'd try to get everything done, and I was still feeling overwhelm. Why? Because even though my actions had changed and I was getting stuff done, my thoughts had not changed, and so I was still left with overwhelm.

And what I've come to understand, overwhelm is not required to create success. In fact, I'm going to challenge you to consider that overwhelm is a detriment to your success because what we're always after is a feeling. We want to have more fun creating our dreams. We want to have more ease and flow, and if you're producing overwhelm with your thoughts, you're never going to get there ever.

So I want to share some tips with you of how I deal with overwhelm. Now, I have to say this; overwhelm is an emotion that I used to experience on a daily basis and now it's something that I rarely ever experience. Not because my external world is different. In fact, I would argue that I have more commitments and obligations than I did back in the day when I was so overwhelmed. What is different for me is how I think and how I show up and how I organize my life.

And so the first thing that I want to ask you to watch when it comes to overwhelm is your language. How often do you say things like I have to take the kids to school, I have to go to work, I have to get the laundry done, I have to call my mother, I have to plan the vacation? I-have-to creates overwhelm. Really hear me on this, you all. I-have-to creates overwhelm.

I never say I have to because here's the truth of it. I don't have to do anything. For example, this morning I woke up, I received my daily agenda. I could have looked at that and spun into overwhelm thinking I have to record a podcast, I have to have a team meeting, I have to write emails, I have to go workout. I have to would have created overwhelm. But I like to say I get to. I get to record a podcast today. How great is that? I get to go workout. I get to meet with my incredible team. I get to write emails, and all of a sudden, I realize it is an honor to be able to do the things that I do.

And the same goes for you. Imagine instead of thinking first thing in the morning, I have to go to work, what if you changed that to I get to go to work? I have a job that provides me with an income. I get to go do that. Imagine how that would shift how you feel and potentially shift you out of overwhelm into appreciation. It just feels so much better.

I was actually coaching a client around this not too long ago and she was saying, but Tonya, I have to take care of my mother. Her mother is getting older and she's dealing with some illnesses, and my client really thought that she had to do this. And what I showed her is that you don't have to take care of your mother. That is a choice that you are making. And when we have a choice, we don't feel like life is happening to us. We begin to happen to our life.

And I asked her, I said, do you want to take care of your mother? It is an option. You don't have to do it. And she was like yes actually, I want to. And I said well, let's change your language around this. Change it to I want to take care of my mother, or I get to take care of my mother And a couple of weeks later we talked again and she was like, Tonya, I feel so different about the situation. I don't feel trapped by it. I realize now it's a choice that I'm making, and she started to feel less overwhelm around it.

So I want you to watch your language about your life and the thing that you get to do. You get to cook dinner. Do you know what that means? You have food. How great is that? You get to do the laundry. Do you know what that means? You have clothes. You get to clean your house. Do you know what that means? You have a home.

When you start to watch your language and trade in I have to with I get to or I want to, you start to live in the state of appreciation. You stop arguing with your reality and the choices that you've made and when you feel better, you begin to attract better things into your life. You begin to take better action. And so watch your language if you want to decrease your overwhelm.

The second thing I want you to watch is your thoughts because again, overwhelm is never created by anything outside of you. It's created by your thinking. If you think I'll never get this done, the world is going to collapse if I don't finish everything on my calendar, there's so much on my plate, I'm too busy, I want you to understand that these are all thoughts that perpetuate your overwhelm.

And I want you to notice your thinking and how it affects how you feel. I see this within my Slim, Chic, and Savvy community. So Slim, Chic, and Savvy is my signature program and there's a lot within this program because it's an immersive experience to really help you retrain your mind to think differently, to feel differently, and to show up differently.

And savvy women know how to manage their minds to create how they want to feel so that they show up in a much more effective way. Inevitably, in the beginning, women will get inside the program and all of a sudden, they're like, I'm so overwhelmed. I'm never going to get this done. There's so much to do. And the program's not even about doing a lot. It's more about managing your own mind.

And so, I began to teach them how to manage their minds so that they can feel something other than overwhelm. And it's crazy to watch these women start to get in a state of relaxation and ease and flow and how that impacts their results. Because again, I feel like we think we have to be overwhelmed and crazy busy to create our dreams, and that actually impedes us from creating our dreams because we don't take that effective action.

So I want you to begin, when you're feeling those feelings of overwhelm, notice what you're thinking because that's why you're feeling overwhelm. Again, it has nothing to do with what's happening in your outer world. Overwhelm is an internal experience being created by the thoughts in your mind.

And my mother is a really great example of this. My mom when I was growing up, she would have so much to do. At one point she owned a catering company and she had an event with 1000 people, and I just remember my mom was always just super focused. She didn't get into overwhelm. She wasn't dramatic about it. Even when things would go crazy wrong, my mom just handled what was in front of her.

I remember one time she would do these ice sculptures and she did this swan and the neck of the swan broke off, and my mom didn't get overwhelmed about it. She's like okay, the neck broke off. She's like okay, let me think this through. She got a wooden dowel, she drilled into the body, into the neck of the swan, put it together, and put this beautiful floral arrangement around the swan's neck. Done. It was solved.

But had she spun into overwhelm, she wouldn’t have been able to access that creativity that helped her solve the problem. And so my mom was a great example of how to get a lot done without the overwhelm because she knew that it wasn't required.

Okay, so the third thing I want you to notice are your shoulds. What are you doing that you think you should do? Because maybe if you got rid of all your shoulds and you were just doing what you really wanted to do, that would help you decrease your overwhelm.

For me, when I'm starting to feel that overwhelming feeling start to creep in, what I love to do is I write everything down that I think I should do, or maybe it's everything that I'm worried about because worry and overwhelm go hand in hand. And in fact, I talk about the habit of worry in episode 134 so if you want to listen to that, go to

But I write it all down on a piece of paper, get it out of my head, and I look at what is causing my worry and my overwhelm. And then I like to create two lists. One is god's list. I put everything that I have no control over on god's list. I let him or her handle it. And then on my side, I look at all of the things I think I need to do.

And then I look at that list and I'm like okay, what's on this list that I think I should do that my heart's not really in? And not too long ago actually, one of the things on my list was cleaning my house. I don't know why, you all, it was just like, I feel like I need to clean my house. I like the way I clean it, I like being in control of it, but I realized it was a should. It's not something I really wanted to do.

And so I hired a housekeeper. I'm like, seriously Tonya, just delegate that. You don't have to do that. And so that was one less thing that was taking up space in my life that I didn't have to do. And throughout the years, I've had housekeepers and then I'd let them go, and then I've have housekeepers and then I'd let them go, and I've finally come to the conclusion I want a housekeeper because I don't like cleaning.

Now, there was a time when I couldn't afford a housekeeper and so I did clean and the practice then is to figure out how to enjoy it, but for me now, I'm at a place where I can afford a housekeeper and so that was one should that I just crossed off my list. And so I want you to look at your life and the things that are on your to-do list and are they shoulds, and if not, I really want you to question them. And maybe it's something you can delegate out and maybe it's something you just don't need to do at all.

Another client of mine, one of her shoulds was that she should go to all of her kid's events. That's what good moms do. And the reality is she didn't want to go to all of them. She didn’t want to be a part of the PTO meeting, she didn't want to be a part of the bake sales, but she had this thought that a good mom should do all of those things.

And so when she got rid of those things, number one, she felt less overwhelm, she was happier, and she was a better mom because she wasn't doing things and then feeling resentful for them. She wasn’t doing things because she was telling herself she should. She was being truthful to herself.

And she started doing those things in relationship to her son that only she wanted to do. And as a result, she started to feel less overwhelm, she started to fill up that space with things that energized her and that she loved, and it's made such a big difference in her life. So watch your shoulds.

The other thing I want you to watch are your dreadful projections. And this has to do with your thoughts, but how often are you projecting into the future this nightmare of what life is going to be like if you don't get it all done? How often are you projecting just things that feel terrible in the moment?

I love projecting beauty in the future. I love projecting the Tonya who gets it done without the drama, just because it feels better in this moment. And how you feel in this moment is creating your life, but if I start projecting oh my god, if I don't get this project done within the next week, then everybody's going to hate me. That creates overwhelm. That is unnecessary pressure.

I like to project I'm going to get it done and even if I don't, you know what, people aren't going to hate me. And if they hate me, that's their problem. It's not mine. I can only do what I can do and I just know for me personally, when I am not projecting worst-case scenarios and nightmares and the future, I show up so much more effectively in this moment.

So what are you projecting into this future that's causing you overwhelm in this moment? And how can you change those images and the thoughts in your mind to feel better in this moment? Because the brain knows two things. The thoughts you speak and the images you have. And so make those beautiful so that you feel better in this moment because when you feel better, you're more focused, you're more creative, and you are more aligned with your future self.

Okay, so let's talk about the fifth thing that I want us all to be watching when it comes to overwhelm, and that is our self-care. When we are overwhelmed, our tendency is to put ourselves on the back burner. Hello, can I get an amen because I know we've all done it? It's like I've got to take care of everybody else, I've got to get everything done before I take care of me.

And the reason of that is you feel physically weak, you're fatigued, you're tired, you're sluggish, and it is hard to be focused and effective and productive when you are not taking care of yourself. And that's why when I'm scheduling my week, guess what goes on there first. My self-care. My workouts, my down time. That goes on there first because I know if I'm not physically feeling good, it's going to be so hard to take care of the things that I've committed to.

And this is a practice you all, and I noticed for example, last week I was moving my daughter and I forgot to put myself on my list. And by the end of the weekend, I was exhausted and tired and I was like okay, this is a reminder. If I want to avoid overwhelm, I need to take care of me. I have to be number one.

So if you're someone who is experiencing a lot of overwhelm, what I know is that your brain is going to convince you that you don't have time to take care of you. Just expect that. But I want you to trust in what I'm saying and I want you to make space for you. I want you to make it a non-negotiable because as someone who's been through this so many times, I know that when you start to feel good physically and you're taking care of yourself, and you're eating well, you are much more clear-minded. You have more energy. You are more creative. You're more focused. You feel better physically, which then allows you to show up better in your life.

So don’t put you on the back burner. You are the core of your life and how you feel emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically is impacting everything else, so make that a priority. And just so you know, when I talk about self-care, I'm not just talking about exercise and food. Yes, those two things are super important, but I'm also talking about down time to renew yourself.

Maybe it's reading books, doing things that are fun, disconnecting from social media. I want you to ask yourself what does self-care look and feel like for me. I want you to think about the version of you that takes exquisite care of herself and what does she do? How does she treat herself? What does her calendar look like? Because what I know is that she makes her own self-care non-negotiable and she is the first person and the first commitment that she puts on her calendar.

And the result of that is she's able to decrease, if not eliminate her overwhelm. So remember my friends, overwhelm is not required for an exceptionally extraordinary life. In fact, it often is what keeps us from living the life that we want. And so watch your language. Watch your thoughts. Watch your shoulds. Watch your dreadful projections into the future and watch your self-care.

It is time for J'adore. This is the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. And since we've been talking about overwhelm, I have to share one of my favorite tools that really helps me keep my life organized and helps to alleviate the overwhelm, and that is Google Calendar.

I'm often asked how I schedule, what my scheduling system is, and you all, Google Calendar is like my BFF. Now, I know that some people love paper and pencil calendars and I think that's so cool. I think old school calendar systems are great, but when you are dealing with multiple people, i.e. your team or your family or friends, I love Google Calendar because you're able to share calendars with other people, people are able to send you invites, and it just keeps my life so seamless.

I have my Google Calendar on my phone, I can put things in there, and it's just a way to assure I never forget anything. So the way I have set up my Google Calendar is that I have different calendars for different parts of my life. So I have a personal calendar, I have a calendar for Sarah, I have an internal business calendar that is then broken down even more.

So for example, I have a calendar for business calls, client calls, I have a calendar for all of my different programs. I have a calendar for business tasks. And I'm such a crazy freak when it comes to my calendar I have my calendar that is branded in the French Kiss Life colors. So all of my different separate calendars have a color that goes within the French Kiss Life color scheme.

So not only is my calendar super organized, it's also super beautiful because I think aesthetics are everything. And so I love opening up my calendar and seeing this beautiful branded calendar to represent my life. But what I know we often do is we have so many things floating around in our heads and on pieces of paper, and then we feel overwhelmed because we haven't created a plan for it.

Everything that I've committed to do goes in my calendar. If it's important, it is scheduled. And when I'm scheduling, and this is super important and it's probably something I should do an entire podcast about, but I'll just drop you a little hint here. I schedule my main priorities first, and guess what is a main priority. My self-care and my friendships and my relationships.

Those go on the calendar first and then I schedule everything else around it. So I schedule my down time, I schedule my workouts, I schedule my dinner dates. I schedule all of that first and then I look at okay, where can I plug in the other things that are also important but when I'm looking at my values and I'm looking at the end of my life and what I want to look back on and the memories that I want to create, taking care of myself and my family and friends is definitely at the top of that list. And so I schedule that first and then I schedule all of my work things around it.

And you all, I can't tell you how much more efficient I've become since I've created a calendar system that really works for me. It has decreased overwhelm to the point that occasionally I'll feel it sneak in and then I remember that it's scheduled. I don't have to worry about it. It's on the calendar. I'm going to get to it, and then I can just relax and focus on what's in front of me.

And that is the gift of Google Calendar for me. So I schedule everything, I put it in its specific calendar, and what I love about Google Calendar is that I also get daily updates in the morning of what is on my calendar. It's like having an assistant that keeps you organized. She sends you your daily agenda every single morning and that way you don't live in fear that you're going to miss something or that you're going to forget, or it's not just floating around in your head with no specific plan.

Now, interestingly enough, I have women tell me Tonya, that sound so rigid. I want to live a life of freedom and spontaneity and what I can tell you all, I have so much more freedom and so much more ease in my life because I know that I have a plan. I know what's on my calendar, and all I have to do is show up and complete whatever I've committed to do.

And that's the beauty of Google Calendar for me. It keeps me organized, it keeps me on track towards my goals, and it helps me to reduce overwhelm because remember my friends, overwhelm is not required. Thanks for tuning into this week's episode. Have a beautiful, beautiful week and go out there and French Kiss Life. Cheers.


If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs by visiting – because after all, mindset is the new black.

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