It’s ridiculously easy to get overwhelmed as a mom. We have so many things on our plate – taking care of kids, nurturing a marriage, managing a household, and maintaining or growing a career. It’s no wonder that so many moms feel overwhelmed.
What’s worse, many moms consider living in a constant state of overwhelm to be par for the course in motherhood. Um…no. It does NOT have to be that way!
Let’s be real. I’m not in denial or trying to sell you on an unrealistic lifestyle. Of course, you will likely always have bad days where you’re stressed out, resentful, or just annoyed with every little thing. You’re a human being with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of emotions, and crappy days are bound to happen.
BUT, you should not live in a constant state of overwhelm. Who wants to live that way? Not me! Plus, it’s detrimental to your overall wellbeing and can ultimately lead to mom burnout.
Being an overwhelmed mom ALL. THE. TIME. can lead to:
- Depression and anxiety
- The inability to focus and complete simple day-to-day tasks
- And a whole other slew of health problems
*Side Note: Feeling constantly overwhelmed by simple things can be a sign of a more serious mental health issue. If this sounds like you, talk to a mental health professional asap.
Otherwise, if it’s mom life in general and all the things that are bogging you down and making you feel like you’re going to lose your mind, then I’ve got you covered.
Below are 10 tips to help overwhelmed moms get a grip and gain control.
1. Utilize To-Do Lists
I LOVE to-do lists and use them daily. They keep my thoughts and responsibilities organized, keep me focused on the important stuff, and make me feel like I’m in control.
To-do lists don’t have to be complex or fancy. You can use any scrap of paper, a notebook, or even the “notes” or “reminder” apps on your phone.
If you find your to-do lists are running a mile long and it’s stressing you out or making you feel even more overwhelmed, you need to prioritize.
Start by making 3 lists:
- a list of things that need to be done now
- a list for things that aren’t time-sensitive but can be accomplished quickly
- a list of things that will take some time but you don’t want to lose track of (e.g. – a home renovation project or a big work assignment)
You can also make a daily to-do list. Jot down everything you want to get done that day and whatever you don’t finish gets bumped to the next day’s daily to-do list.
Play around with using lists to make your thoughts and responsibilities more manageable.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Life today is full of sensory overload. There are just so many distractions!
Sometimes distractions are awesome – in moderation. I love me a few good episodes of FRIENDS on a really bad day, but I try really hard not to get sucked into a complete and total TV binge.
If you’re constantly letting yourself be distracted, whether it’s Netflix or social media, then you’re going to start feeling overwhelmed by all the things you should be doing that are piling up on the back burner.
If you have a hard time resisting a certain distraction, remove the temptation or reduce your exposure to it. Work in a room that doesn’t have a TV. Remove social media apps from your phone. You get the idea.
(Learn more about how to have a healthier relationship with social media.)
3. Get Organized
Physical and mental clutter can cause stress and lead to feelings of overwhelm, it’s scientifically proven. So, if you’re an overwhelmed mom, it’s time to get organized.
Lists (as we talked about above) are a great way to organize your thoughts and your to-dos. Keeping a family calendar can also help keep track of doctor appointments, soccer games, and birthday parties.
If you’ve thousands of emails in your inbox or a computer desktop full of random icons and folders, it’s time to purge and organize. Delete spam, old emails, and unnecessary icons. Organize emails and files into folders. Keep the important stuff front and center, but archive or file the rest away.
You also need to declutter your working and living spaces. Whether it’s the garage storage unit, the kitchen cupboards, the bathroom cabinet, or the linen closet, take the time to organize whatever is causing you stress.
4. Outsource What You Can
No matter how hard we may try, we can’t do all the things all the time. When your plate is already piled as high as the ceiling, just the thought of deep cleaning the bathrooms can make you feel overwhelmed.
Some things you just can’t outsource, like helping your potty training toddler wipe his butt or breastfeeding the baby, but there are plenty of things you can.
If you dread cleaning the house, hire a housecleaner. Don’t have the time to spend over an hour at the grocery store? Use a grocery delivery service. If you’re lacking the energy to come up with something new to cook for dinner, sign up for a meal kit subscription.
Outsourcing can be expensive. If funds are tight, utilize only those services that provide the most benefit to you and only when you can afford to.
6. Ask for Help
If you don’t have the money to outsource (I rarely do), then ask for help from those around you. You’d be surprised how many family members and close friends would be willing to give you a helping hand if you just asked for it.
Ask your husband to help out more around the house. Tell him exactly what you need help with so he doesn’t have to attempt to read your mind. That never goes well.
Ask your mom or your best friend to watch the kids so that you can blast your favorite tunes and get some deep cleaning done.
Ask your sister if she wants to go shopping with you and the little ones. Two adults are better than one when it comes to shopping with kids.
5. Take a Break
If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a breather. The last thing you want is to snap and take it out on your family. Cue the mom guilt.
Like I said before, you’re bound to get stressed and overwhelmed from time to time. It’s how you handle it that matters.
When those overwhelming feelings start to well up inside you, take a break and get some space. Take a quick stroll around the block, meditate in the backyard for 5 minutes, sit in your car and let out a good scream, take a bath, lock yourself in your bathroom with a glass of wine; do whatever you need to do to release some of that pent up anxious energy.
(This list of 55 ideas for self-care in 15 minutes or less should come in handy.)
7. Learn When to Say No
I have so many mom friends with social calendars that are just packed to the gills. I don’t know how they do it all or why they do it all.
Sure, some moms might enjoy a full calendar and non-stop daily agenda, but that is not me. If you’re reading this, I suspect that’s not you either.
Your calendar is already pretty full of doctor appointments, work meetings, and school-related events. Don’t overwhelm yourself by feeling like you have to say “yes” to every invitation or request that comes your way.
It’s okay to donate to the PTA instead of baking 10 dozen pastries for the bake sale. You’re not a jerk for declining a play day invitation on a busy weekend. And, you won’t lose your job for skipping happy hour with the team. Learn to say “no”.
8. Keep Your Space Clean
Just as clutter can cause stress and lead to an overwhelmed mom, so can a messy house.
You may be thinking you don’t have time to keep the house clean 24/7, and I get that. I’m not talking about scrubbing the baseboards every day. I’m talking about keeping things tidy.
I make my bed every single morning. I also make my kids (ages 15 months and 3 1/2 years) help me pick up all their toys every evening before we start their bedtime routine. Either my husband or I do the dishes every single night after dinner. No joke, these three things are done every single day. It eases my anxiety, relieves stress, and makes me feel like I’ve got my shit together. If these things don’t get done for some reason, it makes me feel overwhelmed.
A clean house may seem like the least important thing right now, and maybe it is, but if you’re an overwhelmed mom struggling with stress or anxiety, give this a try. Enlist the help of your family to keep things tidy for one week and see how you feel.
9. Find a Stress Relieving Activity
Having an activity that you love to do is a great way to fight feelings of overwhelm. A healthy hobby can provide stress relief and a much needed positive distraction.
If you don’t already have a hobby that you enjoy doing, experiment and try different things. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Here is a comprehensive list of 75 hobbies you can try, some tried and true, others new and unique that are perfect for the overwhelmed mom.
10. Know Your Triggers
What makes one mom feel overwhelmed, may not even phase another mom. It’s all relative, so it’s important you know and understand what your triggers are.
My biggest triggers are mess and clutter. So, I make it a point to eliminate those things from my life as much as possible. When the house gets messy, I instantly start to feel overwhelmed. It’s something I’m working on, but in the meantime, it’s better for everyone in my house if I eliminate those triggers.
Do some self-reflection to determine what your triggers are and what you can do to reduce those overwhelming feelings.
Are you an overwhelmed mom? What do you do to ease those overwhelming feelings? I want to hear about it in the comments below.
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