At one point in time, we have all been the overwhelmed mom. The woman who tries really hard, but can’t seem to complete a simple task. The mom who is always running late and shows up wearing slippers instead of shoes.
You can take comfort in the fact that everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. And that there are things you can do to lessen the impact of overwhelm and restore balance in your life.
What are the signs of an overwhelmed mom?
Knowing the signs of being overwhelmed is an important first step. You need to recognize the problem if you want to try and correct it.
Overwhelm can manifest as different symptoms in different people, but it is generally described as a sense of burnout, exhaustion and defeat.
Personally, I always know that I have too much on my plate when I decide to do nothing. I know that sounds silly, but procrastination and avoidance are two classic signs of overwhelm. My brain thinks, “I couldn’t possibly do all of this, so I will do none of it.”
For other women, overwhelm might look like anxiety or an inability to focus. Maybe you wake up in the morning with a sense of dread or hopelessness. Some women may feel incapable of making decisions or like they are always rushed.
Any of these feelings can be hard to handle, but when you are experiencing many of these at the same time, it can be downright debilitating.
So if you have established that you are feeling like an overwhelmed mom, what can you do to help restore a sense of calm and balance in your life?
Yes, it seems simplistic, but when you feel like you are drowning, take 1 minute to just breathe. I know you probably feel like you don’t even have a minute, but set a timer on your phone and try it. Literally, one minute can make a huge difference in your mental attitude.
One of the best tricks I have learned is to picture an upside down triangle. Now imagine a little person at the bottom point.
Breathe in for a count of 4 and picture the person walking up the side of the triangle. Hold your breath for a count of four and imagine them walking across the flat top. Then exhale for a count of four and picture them walking down the other side, toward the point at the bottom. Do this as much as you can in your one minute of allocated time.
Deep breathing has been proven to help your body relax. It refocuses you and the extra oxygen gives you a little boost of clarity.
If the exercise I described doesn’t feel right for you, here are ten other breathing exercises you can try.
Make a list or brain dump when you feel like an overwhelmed mom
Overwhelmed moms often feel like there are a million thoughts flailing around in their brain. The best way to combat this is to get all the thoughts out so you can focus again.
Once a week, do a massive brain dump. Look at your calendar and write down all the tasks you need to complete this week.
Is there a birthday party on Saturday and you need to buy a gift? Is it time to make a hair appointment? Deadline this week to sign your youngest up for soccer? Sometimes, we feel like there is so much to do and once it is on paper, the list looks more manageable and we can work through it faster.
You can also make a daily to do list. This can help keep you focused and prioritize your day. Plus, there is something so satisfying about crossing a task off your list!
Lastly, make sure that you always have a way to get the random thoughts out of your brain. Carry a pen and paper with you or use the notes app on your phone. If you are often in your car, consider investing in this device. It is similar to the Amazon Alexa and can make lists and check your calendar for you while you are driving.
When you think of something you need to do, jot it down and then release that thought. You will feel lighter and more in control when you are no longer worrying about forgetting things.
An overwhelmed mom should learn to ask for help
You might be surprised by the amount of support you could have if you just asked. In our society, it truly takes a village to raise a family and there is no shame in asking for help sometimes.
Do you have family who live local? A moms group or friends who could help you? Could your partner take on something to help alleviate your feelings of overwhelm?
If you always look like you have things under control, people might not realize that you are drowning on the inside. So you might have to swallow your pride and ask for help until your life feels more manageable again.
And remember, when things are easier for you, you can always give back by offering to help another overwhelmed mom.
Say no more often
No is not a dirty word.
I am officially giving you permission to say no more frequently. You absolutely do not need to chair every committee. Nor do you need to volunteer for every field trip or in your child’s classroom once a week.
You can choose which social events you want to attend and not feel guilt about skipping the ones that don’t appeal to you. You are a grown woman and can make sound decisions that benefit yourself and your family.
When you say yes to everything you stretch yourself way too thin. Start saying yes only to activities that utilize your talents or bring you joy (or both).
Sit in time out when you feel like an overwhelmed mom
Give yourself a time out and take a few moments to recenter yourself. Learn to walk away and be alone for a little bit.
Try sitting in your car during your lunch break. Or maybe a fifteen minute walk in the woods is all your need.
Much like deep breathing, silence and solitude can help refocus and quiet your brain.
An overwhelmed mom should accept that she is doing her best
Have you ever heard the saying, “Done is better than perfect”? Sometimes you just have to accept that you are doing the best you can in the moment.
As long as your children are safe and happy, you can put a roof over your head and food on the table, then you are doing ok. Things might not be perfect right now and that’s all right.
When you have a better handle on things, maybe you can do more. But for right now, you are doing the best you can with the resources you have available. Show yourself some love and give yourself credit for all the things you are juggling.
Start a gratitude journal
Every night before bed, spend a couple of minutes writing down all the good things that happened that day. Some days, you will have to dig deep to find a shining moment, but I promise you, something good happens every single day.
It could be as simple as getting the grocery cart without the squeaking wheels or having the time to shower that day. Practice gratitude for all the small, feel good moments in your life and more of those moments will happen to you.
When you end the day on a positive note, those thoughts are the first ones you have in the morning. Plus, when you see that you are surrounded by wonderful moments, you feel more grateful and blessed, even amid the chaos.
Just remember, momma, you are not alone and this phase will pass. Everyone feels like an overwhelmed mom sometimes, even the ones who always look put together and perfect. Stay strong and try a few of these techniques to restore the calm and balance in your life.
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