Mom, Prevent & Overcome Overwhelm With These 14 Strategies
Overwhelm as a mother and homemaker is a common thing.
So much to do and so little time.
Does this sound like someone you know…yourself perhaps?
There is a fine line between busyness and overwhelm.
Definition of busy and overwhelm:
Busy-Having a great deal to do.
Overwhelm- Bury or drown beneath a huge mass; Defeat completely; Give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
I could be wrong, but I find more often than not, it’s women that feel overwhelmed with their busy lives…or at least we’re more likely to talk about it and admit feeling overwhelmed.
In a case study it showed that 92% of working moms and 89% of stay at home moms feel overwhelmed by work, home and parenting responsibilities.
Yikes! Those are huge percentages!!
It seems to me that as women we feel like we have to do “it all”.
Just the day to day activities can be busy, but when we add more to the calendar or responsibilities, or a crisis happens, that’s when things can get overwhelming.
It’s easy to let the busyness overwhelm us, and that can affect our health in a negative way. We teeter on the brink of burnout.
I’ve been there.
Did I know it was overwhelm and I was teetering on burnout?
No, but I knew I wasn’t myself. I didn’t like how I was responding to situations or how I felt on a daily basis.
Where was the joy I longed for in motherhood and homemaking?
A Tough Year
This last year was a tough one for me. There were multiple things that occurred that contributed to feeling overwhelmed. These are just a few of them.
· My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer that had masticized into his lymph nodes and surrounding bone area. He was give 6 months to live.
· The closing of a longtime friendship.
· I started working outside the home part time on top of regular homemaking, homeschooling, and working 30+ hours a week on Plum Cheeky Solutions-Lovin This Mom Life.
Sink or Swim
I am a doer by nature and love to “get ‘er done”, but this year I felt like I was drowning. The things I used to enjoy doing were no longer exciting to me. I felt on the verge of dissolving into a puddle of tears at any given moment.
I was completely overwhelmed.
Yes, my workload had increased, but it was the emotional and mental overwhelm that was affecting me the most.
Matthew 11:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [a]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
I love this scripture as it gives hope! I truly believe our lives are meant to be a blessing and a joy, to us and to those around us.
Life isn’t meant to feel like a heavy load and a burden, but when things are overwhelming it’s hard to believe that.
I love the Word of God to direct my life and if the Word says “Come to Me…and I will give you rest”, then I want that rest.
We need that rest…
But what does that look like?
I love practical steps I can use in my life.
Avoiding the Overwhelm
This year was painful and hard for me, but also a year of learning and growing.
Yes, it was still busy, in fact busier than ever, but I learned…am learning, how to avoid the overwhelm.
I have learned a few things along the way this year that made my yoke feel easier and the burden lighter.
There are season of busyness and overwhelm, but we don’t have to let them take us down. We will eventually get thru it as life goes on, but there are ways we can combat the busyness and overwhelm triumphantly!
These are some of the tactics I’ve used this year and will continue to use, to prevent overwhelm.
1. Say No
Too often we over commit or fill our schedules so full that we don’t have time to breathe. Breathing room is good. What can you say no to?
2. Clear the clutter
When our physical spaces are cluttered, it has a cluttering effect on our minds. It’s hard to focus and it slows things down if we can’t find what we need because it’s buried under clutter.
Unsure of where to start? Here’s a quick declutter checklist you can use.
3. Focus on one thing at a time
Multi-tasking is not as good as we may think it is, as it contributes to a diminished focus on the tasks at hand. So whether we’re working on one task at a time or one week at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking about everything at the same time.
I would often get overwhelmed with thinking about EVERYTHING that needed to get done that month. I would start planning for everything, instead of breaking it down and going “Ok, this is what I need to focus on this week. Once this is done I can think about the next week”.
This focusing on a little at a time has had a huge impact on my productivity and allowed me to not be overwhelmed with everything that’s on my plate.
4. Don’t lose sight of what really matters…everything else comes after
For me, that’s my family. If my schedule is so full that I can’t take care of my home or my family, then something has to go.
5. Trust God and let go of the things we can’t control
This is a tough one! I like to know details, what’s happening and when so I can prepare for it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there are things that I have no control over and I have to stop dwelling on them and trying to figure them out.
Emotions are good, they give us a barometer of where we’re at emotionally, but they have the potential to overwhelm us. There are so many “what if’s” in this life and it can be scary and overwhelming.
When my dad was struggling with cancer, I had to keep myself in check on a daily basis. My mind wanted to go to the negative “what if’s”. That’s never a good place to live.
I would have a good cry and then continue to get on with my day because I still have a family that depends on me.
*On a side note, for those that might be wondering; my dad is doing great.
Long story short; dad was on his death bed and had very little time left, but by the grace of God, his body has been healed. The doctors are in shock as he didn’t have a chance and refused all but one, partial traditional treatments. We are all so thankful he is still with us today.
6. Get enough sleep
Our emotions have a huge impact on our sense of peace or overwhelm, and when we are lacking sleep, it affects us negatively. Get some sleep!!
7. Eat well
Eating well is also super important for helping us handle life’s ups and downs. It fuels our bodies to help us accomplish what we need to do.
8. Have a quiet time to start your day
Starting the day off right has an impact on the rest of your day.
I like reading my Bible and spending time in prayer and bringing my day to the Lord. This gives me an idea of what I should be focusing on that day.
9. Observe the Sabbath
There is a reason God said to remember the Sabbath. We all need a reset, a day of resting and restoring for the week ahead. It was for our benefit that He included this command.
Don’t use your Sabbath to catch up or run errands. Read a book, nap and remember to rest…both physically and mentally.
10. Have fun
I forget this at times. We need to stop and laugh and have fun! It’s good for our health and when we have fun with others it helps to build the relationship…now that’s great multi-tasking ;)
11. Change your attitude
Sometimes…at least for me, things can seem overwhelming because of my attitude. I may not feel joyful or very pleasant for that matter, but when I choose to thank the Lord for all that He has done, it shifts my outlook.
12. Take a nap
Sometimes we’re overwhelmed because we are so tired. Take a nap if you need one. It can help you reset to tackle whatever it is that’s before you.
13. Do a brain dump
I find if I’m trying to keep track of everything in my head, it leads to mental clutter. Instead of trying to keep it all in my head, I write everything down in my Home Life Planner. I know everything I need to do is written down, so when I need to find it or some kind of details, I know where it is.
14. Remove tasks or move to another day
It’s ok to not complete the day’s checklist. There are days where every square inch of my planner for the day is completely full. That used to cause me a bit of anxiety, thinking I had to complete it all that day. Until I learned to let go.
Truth is there are a lot of things we can put off for the next day...or even the next week. Trying to cram it all into one day leads to overwhelm and feelings of failure if we don’t complete everything. Talk about pressure!
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a working mom or homemaker, busyness and overwhelm affects all of us.
My hope is that you will find a tip or two in here, that will help you avoid overwhelm in your life.
What tip do you find most helpful for your life, to avoid being overwhelmed?
I’d love to hear from you.