Hello sweet friends. The overwhelm is so real this week, and I just needed a moment to tell you why that is and give you a few of my strategies for keeping it together. Can I just get an Amen over here about that overwhelm, though? Mom-ing is hard work, and when the overwhelm gets real, you need some strategies in your back pocket to whip out for the occasion.
As I write this, my exploring, adorable baby boy is doing his utmost to get to my laptop. I mean, like pulling up on the couch, the coffee table, my legs, whatever he can reach to grab mama’s laptop. And every time I pull it away, he cries a little more about having a “toy” taken away from him.
Do you ever feel like the overwhelm is starting to, well, overwhelm you? Between caring for your child, making sure your house is maintained, and doing whatever else is on your plate, it’s so easy to get there. I believe God never gives us more than we can handle, but—and this is big!—whatever we can handle is what we can handle with His help. So while I believe He only gives us so much, I also believe we’re supposed to shout out to the Holy Spirit to get us through the difficult parts that we can’t seem to see through.
When The Overwhelm Gets Real
I want to share with you how real the overwhelm got for me this week. We went to two separate doctor appointments recently and had tests done for both me and Emmeric. That resulted in loads of frustration as I waited for seemingly normal results to come back despite our very obvious physical problems.
On Tuesday, we took our sweet dog to the vet because he, too, experienced some digestive problems. We came home with a number of different medications, special dog food, and even doggy probiotics, which I didn’t know was a thing.
I went off my medication and realized that I needed to get back on it this week, too. I take antidepressants for my postpartum depression, and when I go off of them, I sink faster than I can swim.
Then there was the various household tasks that needed doing. Do you feel like you never get done with anything because it’s always being interrupted? I do, too. I worked on cleaning some of the house, but there’s always more to be done, isn’t there?
So between all of that, my overwhelm level got full. And right now, even as I write this, it’s still on the full scale. If you’re there with me, hang with me as I share a few strategies for dealing with the overwhelm in your life.
Strategies for Keeping It Together
One | Write out your to-do list.
So this seems rather self-explanatory, doesn’t it? My problem is that I tend to have a number of items on my list that aren’t important and are just contributing to the overwhelmed feeling. Let me give you an example.
I might need to tidy the living room, keep the baby fed and changed, put dishes in to wash, do laundry, clean the bathroom, tidy the bookshelves, and clean the bedroom. Those are all valuable tasks for me to try to accomplish. Then there are the extra tasks, like listening to a podcast to help develop my blog more, writing the next month’s blog posts, going through a course on blogging, answer emails, grab time-sensitive offers and complete them, meal plan for the next week, make a grocery list, and a half dozen other things that weigh on my mind.
When you write out a to-do list, make sure to include everything. Every little thing that’s important to you, every task your husband mentioned needs doing, every thing you notice that you want to work on. Why are we doing this?
First, writing it all down gets it out of your head and onto paper. That’s a much better place for it to be than floating around with all your other thoughts. Second, if you write it all down, you can prioritize it in a way that a) makes sense to you, and b) allows you to relax a bit.
Two | Cross off any non-essential or unimportant (but pesky) to-do list items.
I don’t mean that you go and do these tasks first, either. I want you to go through that to-do list and look at it all. Is there anything there that isn’t absolutely essential today? Do you have something on the list that is more annoying than useful to you? Strike a line through those things.
One big thing we as moms have to learn is how to give ourselves permission to not do things. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency of keeping a running mental to-do list of everything I need to accomplish. Some things, like laundry and dishes, never leave that list because they’re essential tasks. Other things, like certain items I want to complete for the blog, stay on the list for days, weeks, and sometimes months because I can’t bear to tell myself no but don’t want to remove them from the list either.One big thing we as moms have to learn is how to give ourselves permission to not do things. Click To Tweet
This is where you get to decide what you do with the time you have, and it’s precious time, my friend. So what on your list is causing you frustration simply by writing it down? Is it something you can cross off and decide not to worry about? Then give yourself permission to do that.
Three | Organize your to-do list in your own way.
I kind of hate to-do lists. They never end. I see the same things over and over. And it feels unproductive to me if I can’t cross everything off my list in a certain period of time. That’s why I think this step is important.
You wrote out that big list, you crossed off the non-essentials, and now you need to decide what order to tackle this big boy in. You give yourself the power to tackle it in whatever order works best for you. By that, I mean that if there’s something on that list you want to simply be done with, something that will make you feel so relieved when it’s done, go with that first. If there’s something you’re dreading doing for whatever reason, and you’re like me, you just want to push it off and off and off – schedule it for sometime between two tasks that aren’t going to bother you. That way you can do one thing and psyche yourself up for the uncomfortable task, knowing you have something easier to “reward” yourself with afterward.
There are a million and one ways to prioritize tasks, and sometimes it’s all about practicality (we need towels tomorrow, so I’ll wash them early today so I can get them dry in time). Sometimes it’s about what works best for our mental health (I don’t know if we have enough money to pay that bill, it’s stressing me out, and I just need to go ahead and check the account now and get it over with). Sometimes it’s about finding a system that works for us (I’ll give myself a ten minute timer and see how much I can do in this room first, and then the next room and the next room).There are a million ways to prioritize to-do lists. Sometimes it's about your mental health. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t matter how you prioritize your to-do list, so don’t sweat it. Just do it. There’s power in getting things done, my friend.
Four | Take some time for you.
Overwhelm happens when we aren’t managing our time the best, but it also happens when we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Self care is so important. It really makes the difference between a happy, fulfilled mama and a stressed out, exhausted mama.
You are the only person who can decide what self care looks like for you. You know yourself best, but do you know what things speak self care into your life? I ask because this week has been a big question of what I can do to get myself out of this overwhelmed funk.You are the only person who can decide how self care looks for you. Click To Tweet
Sometimes the overwhelm leaves us frazzled, frustrated, and unable to determine what will help us out. That’s exactly how I felt earlier today. I’m finishing this post well after my super active baby boy has gone down for his bedtime, and I’ve had some time to determine what things will speak self care into my life right now.
I want to challenge you to write down three things that make you feel cared for, three easy things that you enjoy and like to incorporate into your life on a regular basis. Write these things down and then hang your list up somewhere so you can see it. When life gets overwhelming, pull out your list and give yourself time to indulge in one of those things.
Five | Remember your why.
Overwhelm is fifty different voices telling you things you need to do, be, or become. It’s those clamoring voices in our heads that never seem to stop. Sometimes the best thing we can do is sit down and remember our why.
Why do we do what we do? Is your overwhelm happening at work, busy mama? Then remember why you go to that job. Tell yourself your reasons for being there and give yourself permission to ignore the overwhelm so you can ground yourself again.
Are you overwhelmed with your kids running around you, the house never being clean, dear stay at home mama? Then take a moment (even if it’s just locking yourself in the bathroom!) and remember why you do what you do. Give yourself permission to take a mental break and think about what put you into this position and why.
And if you’re like me, and circumstances have put you into this place you never dreamed of being, then let yourself dream about your why. Sure, it might not be ideal, and things may feel like they tend to come crashing in on you sometimes. But there’s a reason you’re here in this place. If you can find it, you can hang onto it and let it ground you in the midst of the overwhelm.
In short, give yourself some grace, my friend.
Overwhelm is one of those things that we all deal with. But we need to give ourselves grace and remember that we’re allowed to be just us for a little while.
I hope these strategies will help you when the overwhelm gets real for you. Do you have any other strategies you use to keep it together? Please share them with me in the comments! Help a mama out with some hacks you use to make it through the day. I look forward to being back on your screen soon, sweet friend!
P.S. Guess what? I found out about this awesome parenting bundle coming out soon! I’ll be dropping a few more hints about what’s in store in this bundle as the next few blog posts come out, so be looking forward to it. But I can guarantee it’s a fantastic value with a LOT of great stuff inside!