Have you ever caught yourself questioning what this monotonous hamster wheel called ‘life’ is all about anymore? Wondering when life will start feeling fun again rather than the constant grind which it has been for ages?
I know that you are a driven, high achieving and successful women who feels burnt out, floating in a sea of ‘to do’ lists, has no space in your own life and has become someone to everyone but you.
Being intelligent and smart as you are, you know there is so much to be grateful for, yet you cannot help feel that something is missing.
That something is YOU in your OWN life
Being a woman with ambitions can be tough can’t it?
It’s so easy for life to take over. You spend your time juggling your work, families and homes. You put other people’s needs before your own. Your days can seem monotonously routine as you follow the clock and follow the schedule.
Sometimes you give so much of yourself that you become empty.
You lose yourself.
You don’t know who you are anymore or what you want.
You start to believe you aren’t good enough.
That you need to try harder.
You need to be more.
You need to do more.
In fact you’ve become an expert at DOING over the years. You can’t sit still. There’s always more to do
You compare yourself to other people and feel the pressure to ‘step up your game’ on all levels.
And then you drift.
Floating along with your head down just getting on with stuff
BARELY LOOKING UP AS YOU ARE TOO BUSY
Getting through the ‘to-do’ list
Doing all the tasks which need to be done
Going to work and growing your business
Not to mention the school run, playdates, shopping, dry cleaning, time with your partner, friends and family
In fact, IS IT ANY WONDER THAT OVERWHELM BECOMES YOUR NORMALITY?
You wake up with a head full of ‘stuff’ and go to bed the same, just different ‘stuff’
Your mind keeping you up in the night thinking about what you need to do tomorrow whilst you toss and turn trying to get back to sleep as you are exhausted.
And whilst you fall out of the door in the morning with children in tow, armfuls of more stuff, you realize you haven’t eaten breakfast.
And you carry on nourishing yourself this way all day (meaning you live on coffee, biscuits and whatever you can grab in-between doing more stuff!)
Putting yourself last.
Forgetting how important YOU really are.
And then you find yourself craving and needing something to fill those empty spaces.
Shopping. Wine. Chocolate. Food. All of them!
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU AREN’T MISSING FROM YOUR OWN LIFE?
At the end of 2016, after having grown my business to a very respectful level of success whilst juggling all the demands of being a mum to 2 small children, a move back to the UK from Dubai and holding the space for my amazing clients, my emotional and physical health just collapsed.
I was exhausted. Burnt out. I felt flat and empty.
I didn’t remember what it was like being ME before my children.
I didn’t remember what it was like before I owned my own business (which dominated my thoughts)
I didn’t remember what it was like to stay in bed at the weekend and get up when I wanted.
I didn’t remember what it was like to do something, anything spontaneously without having to worry about routines and structure.
I didn’t remember having no-one else to worry about or be concerned over, giving 100% of my attention and love just to myself.
I didn’t remember who I used to be or who I was. And I realised that was a HUGE problem.
I’d stopped making space for ME in my own life.
I wanted to get off the monotonous hamster wheel shouting ‘stop, this isn’t the life I wanted for myself!’ but felt so guilty for feeling ungrateful for everything which, on the outside, looked perfect.
But my soul was starving for more.
And for the first time in a long time, I had once again a HUNGRY SOUL
So what exactly is a hungry soul?
It’s an insatiable appetite for something.
It’s an emptiness, void and permanent hunger for something.
A feeling that something is missing but you can’t quite put your finger on what
When our souls become hungry, they are starving for something. It could be adventure, travel, meaningful connections to people, joy, pleasure, passion, excitement and so many other things. All the things which we, as humans, have a right to experience and have in our lives. Yet sadly many of us don’t, which leaves us feeling unsatisfied and empty feeling hungry more often than not.
These are non-physical hungers which will never be found in the places you might be looking at the moment
So how do you know if you have one??
Here are 11 signs and symptoms which a hungry soul can display and manifest. You don’t have to identify with them all to know that there is something which is wanting your attention.
Give yourself a point for each one you identify with (and be sure to drop any judgement or criticism as you read through them)
#1 YOU STRUGGLE WITH FOOD AND OBSESS ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT
This is probably one of the most common symptoms of a hungry soul amongst women. Any kind of food struggles or dysfunctional relationships around food and eating, underpinned by a desire to ‘slim down’ and lose weight.
Something which many of my clients over the years have been shocked to realise is that any kind of struggle or issue around food is just a symptom. Emotional eating, binging, food obsession, food cravings, over eating, restriction, rules around food and all symptoms. It’s surface layer stuff. It’s superficial stuff in many ways and that is why trying to fix the food stuff will never result in transformation as you are trying to fix a bullet wound with a plaster. It will never heal.
I believed for 14 years that I wasn’t good enough until I lost weight. I wasn’t happy enough until I lost weight. I wasn’t this enough or that enough
I spent 14 years of my life being a diet obsessed insecure individual who suffered from low self esteem, feelings of not being quite good enough and debilitating anxiety with panic attacks thrown in for good measure. I was hungry for so much more in my life, yet I didn’t know what and I didn’t know how.
I thought food was my problem.
I thought my body (her weight, size and shape) was the barrier keeping me from my happiness
I thought my lack of willpower was my issue
I thought my inability to stick to plans, programs and regimes was the reason I felt like I did.
It turned out that my struggles with food were symptomatic, symbolic and metaphoric.
Unbeknown to me, I had a hungry soul.
A real deep hunger which left me starving for much of my adolescence and 20s.
Stuffing down an entire cake fed me momentarily but the hunger returned. Always returned. And so did guilt. Shame. Disgust.
Without realising it food had become my only source of pleasure, happiness, contentment and satisfaction. It had become the replacement for the job I felt bored in, the relationship I felt unsettled in and the country I felt disconnected to.
“To a hungry soul food is an obsession, to a satisfied soul food is just food”
Trying to fix the ‘food stuff’ got me nowhere except down a path of food obsession, body hatred and weight fixation. My happiness didn’t improve. My self esteem didn’t get better. Ultimately nothing changed.
I was still lost, stuck and disconnected.
Unbeknown to me at the time, I had a hungry soul and I was a hungry soul
How often have you tried to be strict with yourself when it comes to food choice?
How often have you tried to tap into some unknown amount of willpower when it comes to eating or rather stopping?
How many times have you told yourself that you won’t ever overeat again only to find yourself doing it again within days?
That’s simply because you were trying to address the symptoms of the real issue.
Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
When we turn to food for any other reason other than physical hunger, it is simply a substitute for something else. Chocolate becomes a substitute for relaxation and a moment to just breath in-between the monotonous yet busy day which has now become your life
Cake becomes a substitute for switching off from the overwhelm and the 1001 bubble gum thoughts in your mind which stick and won’t disappear (no matter how many times you write them down or try and ignore them)
Wine becomes a substitute for self care after you’ve been rushing around like a mad ass women all day and only had chance to sit down now (and it’s almost your bedtime!)
We end up feeding our feelings without truly recognising it.
Dieting, restriction, deprivation and beating ourselves up WILL NOT HELP you feel better about yourself.
Remember that fighting food is the surface level sign that underneath all of that, your soul is hungry for something (and we often inadvertently connect the ‘something’ to weight loss i.e. I will feel better, have more confidence, be happier, go out more….when I am 10lbs lighter)
#2 YOU USE ALCOHOL TO UNWIND
Just the same that we compensate and substitute things using food, we can do the same with alcohol.
Many women with a hungry soul can display binge behaviours with many of these symptoms and drinking isn’t an exception. Binge social drinking is not uncommon, is it?
It might not even be in a social situation, it could just be at the weekend at home with your husband or partner and you get through a bottle (or two) of wine as ‘it’s the weekend’
There is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, however, if you feel that you are doing this as a substitute for something else which you are really craving, then this is your opportunity to step back and to start digging deeper.
Using alcohol along with food, are ways of numbing out of your reality as it is not satisfying you on a soul level.
You don’t feel that you have meaning with the job you do
Your relationship has become stagnant and no longer feels exciting and passionate
You feel resentful of all the people that want something from you and you have no time left for you
So what are you really hungry for?
What are you hiding from as you drink another glass of wine?
#3 YOU CAN BE A COMPULSIVE SHOPPER
One of my clients told me that no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t resist the temptation and the urge to walk into shops.
“The buzz I got from just buying stuff, spending money and handing over my card became insatiable. And despite the bags of things (clothes, shoes, bits for the house) there was always more to buy. Despite the guilt, despite the shame, I couldn’t resist buying stuff”
I hear this so often. Many of my clients are compulsive shoppers, sometimes blowing £1000+ in one go on clothes they will never wear, as once they get them home the adrenaline has gone and the buzz has died off and they are back to feeling the same again.
Empty. Flat. Bored.
Just like food and wine, shopping is yet another sign and symptoms of having a hungry soul.
The buzz, the thrill, the adrenaline, the excitement temporality fills the hunger in the same way that a huge bar of chocolate or slab of carrot cake does. Yet it is just that. Temporary.
Nothing permanent changes or shifts as yet another pair of shoes, dress or jumper is really not what your soul is starving for. So next time you max out your credit card or feel compelled to buy something new, what if you could stop and ask yourself whether this is your soul crying out for something else (which can’t necessarily be found in the shop you are about to walk in to)…..
#4 YOU FEEL FRANTIC + OVERWHELMED
Overwhelm is a horrible energy to be in isn’t it? It might present itself in the physical size of your ‘to do’ list (every time you cross one off, you add three more!), or perhaps it’s the washing machine mind which never quietens down.
Juggling everything which life throws at us can be tough and challenging, but how much of the overwhelm do we create and actually cause?
With only 24 hours in a day and during which time we have things which are non negotiable (work, eating, children, school, partners, family, pets, appointments, sleep) is it any wonder than more women then ever feel like they can’t do it all anymore. Something has to give. And that something is often ourselves. We get to breaking point where other symptoms begin to appear (keep reading!) and the more we try and carry on and tick off the things on the ‘to do’ list, the more overwhelmed and frantic we feel and the hungrier our soul becomes. I personally don’t feel like a soul fed women when I am up to my eyes in chores and running around like a headless chicken everyday, what about you?
I’ve spent a good proportion of my life living in a state of ‘I need to finish this yesterday’ and ‘I haven’t got enough time to get all this done, what am I going to do?’
I used food at times to stuff down the feelings and push it away. I’ve tried to numb out with wine, caffeine, sugar and a multitude of other things. Yet the overwhelm was still there and the frantic state of existence was still very much there too.
Overwhelm also prevents us from living in the moment.
Describing herself at a family birthday party, one of my clients said ‘I knew I was there but my head wasn’t. I was thinking of all the things to do when I got home, counting down the minutes on the clock until the party finished’
Can you relate to that? If so, it’s yet another symptom of a soul which is hungry for something else
#5 YOU ARE SNAPPY WITH PEOPLE
This carries on nicely from the point above. When we are overwhelmed and feeling franctic, it’s easy to start getting snappy and angry at others. We’ve all done it. I’ve had days when I feel that everyone wants a piece of me and by the end of the day I feel there is nothing left to give so I lash out.
It’s an inappriate response. It makes me feel terrible. But it’s something that I watch out for now as I know that when I’m snapping at the children as they are asking for a drink (terrible mum!) or snapping at my husband as he can’t find the car keys (why does that always happen??) it’s actually not about them or their requests, it’s my soul starving for something else.
99% of the time I’m in overwhelm at that point and it’s a red flag to do something about it
#6 YOUR LIFE IS A HAMSTER WHEEL OF MONOTONY
I remember saying to my husband a while ago that being a grown up was rubbish. The days were the same. Nothing exciting ever happened.
At the end of 2016, coupled with overwhelm and exhaustion, life had also become so dull and repetitive that it was like waking to groundhog day, all the time.
The monotony was stifling my soul. The boredom was eating me alive. The hamster wheel of life was something I wanted so desperately to get off but I didn’t know how.
The schedule of our 2 small children, the structure of my business and the routine of also being a wife and mum, meant there wasn’t much scope for spontaneity and adventure, something which in the past I have fed off.
As I explained earlier, this was a catalyst for my emotional and physical health to suffer and also the opportunity for me to get honest with myself and take action to change what wasn’t working
#7 YOU HAVE A LACK OF INTEREST, ENTHUSIASM OR MOTIVATION
I remember a little while ago, it felt as if someone had stolen my mojo. No matter what I did, where I was, who I was talking to, I had no enthusiasm for life in general. I blamed my weight. I thought my mood was because I was eating too much sugar so tried to stop eating sugar (and as predicted ended up craving and binging on it even more!)
Feeling a lack of enthusiasm or interest in life could be an early sign of depression so be sure to get yourself checked out if you suspect that, but it can also be a sign that you are being unfed when it comes to your soul hungers.
I know for certain I was hungry for adventure, I was starving spontaneity and I was craving more excitement (all three things are still very important to me now)
So take a step back from your seemingly lack of motivation and ask yourself if you could feed your soul whatever it was craving in this moment, what would it be? (and how would feeding that affect your interest and enthusiasm for life?)
#8 YOU SUFFER WITH INSOMNIA
When I worked as a clinical and cognitive hypnotherapist years ago, insomnia was one of the most common issues I worked with.
People from all walks of life who struggled with sleep.
I released, early on, that for all of them this was just a surface layer symptom of other disturbances. I very rarely helped them with sleeping (although that was the symptom which improved, they started to sleep better!)
Instead we focused on the stress of the jobs they didn’t like, the anxiety of the relationships they were in, the loneliness and sadness they had from their recent seperations, the boredom of doing the same thing everyday, the melancholy of believing their best times were over…and I could go on and on.
ALL of these are hungry soul symptoms.
So if you are struggling with sleep at the moment, what are the underlying hungers which are not being satisfied, as it’s within those answers you will find a peaceful night’s sleep
#9 YOU HAVE ANXIETY AND FEEL UNSETTLED MOST DAYS
For about 6 months when I was 20 I started suffering from panic attacks. They were debilitating, scary and incredibly overwhelming. I would have them sat on the bus, in my house, in a cafe with friends. It made no difference where I was or what I was doing, they would happen. At the time I thought I was going mad, I felt totally out of control and I didn’t know what to do.
Unbeknown to me at the time, the panic attacks were years of suppressed and accumulated anxiety. I’ve learnt a lot about people and myself over the years and anxiety is incredible common, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Yet why don’t we explore it further? I never did. I knew I was an anxious person, I knew that I would feel anxious in certain situations yet I never felt compelled to understand why. I just accepted it as truth. But it wasn’t the truth. It wasn’t the real me.
How do I know? Well for the last 15+ years I haven’t had anymore panic attacks and anxiety is something which affects me once in a while (rather than every hour of the day). I learnt to understand myself better and recognize where the anxiety was coming from and what it was about. Being anxious is your soul’s way of bringing something to your attention. Something which it needs from you. Something is out of alignment
I was hungry for feeling like I was on the right path, that I was aligned with my truth and my purpose.
I used to be anxious about my relationship (turns out it wasn’t the right relationship and the anxiety in my chest was the little red flag, telling me to trust my instinct)
I used to be anxious about the future (turns out my degree and dream job were not for me after all, once again the anxiety was telling me to listen to my inner wisdom of what felt right)
So I invite you to have a think about your own anxiety and feeling panicky. What’s it all about? What things are you avoiding at the moment? What things would you have to face if you were being honest with yourself?
#10 YOU FEEL THAT SOMETHING IS MISSING
When you know that something isn’t quite right but you don’t know why and you don’t know what.
I’ve had periods in my life when I had this, some lasted longer than others. And even though they happened at different times and during different circumstances, they were all indicating that my soul was hungry for something. Something else. More of something. Less of something. What could it be?
#11 YOU FEEL LOST, DISCONNECTED AND DETACHED IN YOUR OWN LIFE
In 2016, myself and my family moved back to the Uk after having lived in Dubai for close to 3 years. It was an adventure which I am so grateful for having had the opportunity of experiencing. I learned so much about myself being there, especially in the last 12 months.
I had a very busy hypnotherapy clinic, often booked up with back to back clients for 10 hours at a time, I had been on national TV and featured in the press, yet I wasn’t loving it. I found myself sat on beaches or by the swimming pool, with this idyllic picture postcard view and feeling completely detached from it all. I started to feel lost in my own life.
On paper I ‘had it all’ (whatever that means) yet I didn’t feel that way and, once again, blamed myself and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. But nothing was wrong with me. My hunger for connection, nature, the mountains, fresh air, a change in professional direction and seeing my family more frequently were growing bigger by the day, my soul was starving to leave the middle east. And that was scary. Throwing away my clinic, my reputation I had worked so hard for, leaving the picture postcard perfect lifestyle.
But Dubai no longer fed my soul, instead I could feel my soul becoming starved of the things which were of the upmost importance to me and no amount of beaches and swimming pools could feed that. Feeling disconnected and lost were showing me that something was out of alignment.
Thankfully my husband was feeling the same (he’s my soulmate and on the same page as me which is wonderful), so once the decision was made, we were packed and heading home within 6 weeks. No idea of the future. No plans other than the village we wanted to live in and we put our trust in the universe and ourselves to make the move. 18 months later it is still one of the best decisions we have ever made together as a family. No regrets.
Do you feel like you aren’t really parent in your own life in that way too?
So there you go, 11 signs that you have a hungry soul.
HOW DID YOU SCORE?
0-2: You are a well fed soul and have already stepped into the energy of being a soul fed woman! Keep up the good work. Remember to make space for yourself as much as you can
3-6: You are walking a very fine line at the moment of being relatively soul fed to becoming a women who wants more out of life. I invite you to make more space for yourself, start identifying the areas of your life which are no longer feeding you emotionally and take steps to addressing that
6+: You have and you are a HUNGRY SOUL. Listen lovely, I know that right now, you are feeling that you can’t carry on like this and that’s OK, I hear you. I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. So many women suffer from hungry soul syndrome too. The question is, now you know, what are you going to do about it?
Do you identify with being a driven, ambitious and high achieving women who wants more out of life?
Reducing OVERWHELM is one of the first places to start when embarking on learning to feed your soul. So I’ve got a really powerful video to share with you using tapping (EFT) which you can use to help reduce overwhelm. It works every time!
Simply head over to: https://www.soulfedwoman.com/overwhelm