Life is busy, and it’s a safe bet that most of us feel overwhelmed. Between part-time or full time work, multiple kids, volunteering, fundraising, and trying to have your own social life, we carry a lot on our plates. In fact, we’re likely carrying too much. Knowing that you’re carrying too much doesn’t make the overwhelming feelings go away though. But I want you to know that there is a glimmer of hope for you!
You’ll find strategies in this post, of things I’ve learned over the years that can make a big difference in reducing the load, and the exhaustion, one can feel while juggling multiple responsibilities.
Simple steps to reduce feeling so overwhelmed
Ohhhh, that awful word ‘NO!’ This word seems to carry a heavy side of guilt with it. But NO is a necessary part if you want healthy boundaries in your life. NO is not the bad thing that you think. It’s actually the best thing you can do for yourself, AND the people asking for help (no one wants a reluctant or non-committal helper!).
Have you ever heard the expression, “Every “No” is a “Yes” to something better?” If you currently feel overwhelmed most of the time, then you don’t have room for one more thing. Saying ‘No’ to one thing means you’re saying ‘Yes’ to more family time. Or perhaps it’s a simple as, ‘Yes’ to less Mommy meltdowns. ‘No’s’ mean that your-already-committed ‘Yes’s’ have more impact.
Want to learn more about healthy boundaries? You’d love the book ‘Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life’ by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
Planning ahead and organizing your time can reduce chaos. Understand that being organized doesn’t look like perfection. But it might look like: planning meals (a month, a week, or a few days in advance); packing bags the night before; having a designated place for important papers; or scheduling a weekly time on the calendar to review the weeks’ events with your spouse.
I don’t know about you, but when there’s stuff everywhere in my house, my brain feels just as cluttered as my home! And when my brain feels cluttered, I feel overwhelmed. So, I make a point to regularly pick up the house. The best method for this is to speed clean (and to get family members in on the action with you). You’ll be amazed at what can get done with a 15 minute timer, and some pumping tunes!
A regular cleaning routine can also do wonders at helping you keep semi-on top of things. That means doing a little bit of something every day. It may be a set schedule (ie. Tuesday is mopping day), or it may just be a designated time of the day to tackle tasks that need to be done.
Ask for Help
Why are you doing everything by yourself??????? That question deserves that ridiculous amount of question marks because, if you’re doing everything yourself, you’re being ridiculous! I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m not pulling any punches with this one 😉
No one told you that you had to do everything without help (except for yourself). Sometimes, YOU and your fantasy of self-sufficiency are contributing to feeling overwhelmed! So, ask your spouse for help. Ask your kids to do simple tasks, so there’s one or five less things for you to do. Call your Mom to watch the kids for you sometimes, so you can run errands. Text a friend to watch your kids, or do a kid swap (ie. you watch her kids one Saturday, then she watches yours the next).
If you can make the funds work, pay others to do things for you. Maybe that’s paying a house cleaner. Perhaps it’s someone to mow the lawn. Or maybe it would be an immense help to pay a small weekly fee at the grocery store to shop online, then have someone shop the aisles and bring your groceries to your car trunk for you!
Let me make something really clear: THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP (Please note how Harry Potter would have died without the help of his friends, teachers, and family, on 700 billion different occasions. J.K. Rowling was onto something with that one!).
No one expects you to be wonder woman. It’s YOU who expects you to be wonder woman. And I’ll let you in on a secret: All of the other women are using help! You may not see it, but they are! So, shake your personal expectations off, and ask for help, girl!
Get Your Sleep
Sleep affects the way that you feel. If you feel rested, you feel more content and more capable. I know that this one can be a huge challenge, depending on the stage of life you’re in. But what I’m more interested in is this: is the reason why you’re not getting enough sleep because of YOU?
Are you’re staying up late watching Netflix? Or bingeing on Instagram stories past midnight? While those things feel good because they feel like you’re actually doing something for yourself, the reality is, you’re not helping yourself. You’re only contributing to the overwhelm in your life! So, set a bedtime for yourself. Set up screen time limits on your phone or tablet. Drink a lavender tea, and GO.TO.BED.
Kick Your Personal Expectations to the Curb
Part of the reason why you feel overwhelmed may have to do with the expectations you’ve created in your own head. YOU expect that everyday will end with a perfectly clean house. It’s YOU who thinks your kids are required to have expertly balanced lunches everyday of their lives. YOUR belief is that your kids must grow up talented in music, hockey, baseball, academics AND be world changing leaders.
Kick your expectations in the butt, and kick them right out. Because they’re simply too high. And quite frankly: ridiculous (yup. I said it again). If you were to write down what you think in your head, you’ll see it. Trust me. It’s too much for one person, and one family, to maintain and achieve.
But how do you suddenly change those expectations you’ve always lived with (and wanted)? Time. Over time, in the moment, you must remind yourself: not everyday has to be perfect; no one else is expecting this of you; it’s okay to rest, ‘No’ is not a bad word. On a daily basis, ACCEPT that you’re not going to get ‘it all’ done in a day, a week, or a month. Accepting that will greatly reduce the overwhelming inner turmoil you’re dealing with in your head.
You may need to sit down and decide what matters most to you, your marriage, your family, and your work. Is having your kids in three different activities TRULY a priority (ie. Is it actually meaningful/helpful/worth it? Or are you just doing it because it’s what everybody else does)?
Is your priority a clean, tidy house? Maybe it’s actually not, but you’ve been striving for that for no reason other than to impress others (and your Instagram feed. Oh snap).
Is saying ‘Yes’ to every social invite and community event truly giving you and your family life? Or does it just make you feel rushed and grumpy?
These aren’t easy things to decide on, I know. In all honesty, it’s an unpleasant task. But this type of debriefing over your decisions will help you look at your life from a birds eye view, and designate what truly needs to go, and what you want to stay.
You can do this!
My hope is that you walk away from this post with some tangible strategies to implement in your life. I’d love to know what one thing you know would help you the most right now. Please share with me in the comments!