Posted in advice, Family, Goals, Momentum

5 Things To Do When Life Is Overwhelming

In an age of information, personal growth, and an overwhelming amount of people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  Everyone has their opinions and most people are not afraid to voice them to you or anyone else.  Generally, they are unconcerned or just careless about who their opinions affect.  They don’t take into consideration the situations of others when making blanket statements such as “I think everyone should use organic, eco-friendly diapers.  It’s just irresponsible to use anything else.”  Meanwhile, the widowed mother of two who has to lean on state assistance to get by, starts to feel like crap because though she would love to save the environment, she simply can’t afford those diapers that are twice the cost of regular ones.

It seems that everyone wants to become an entrepreneur these days.  They want to start their own business.  They want to be self-employed and live their best life doing what they love.  This is amazing!!  But, many people fall off track.  They don’t keep up the momentum because doing things like this takes a lot of work and discipline. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the legal mumbo jumbo or the sheer amount of hours that need to be put in just to get your business operating.  It’s that overwhelm part that I want to help you with.  When the amount of things on your to-do list is just so overwhelming you feel you can’t function, there are some steps you can take to regain control.  This is not an all-inclusive list, but rather an overview of the most effective steps to remedy the feelings of overwhelm that I’ve come to know.

1. Take A Moment For Gratitude

When you’re trying to reach a goal or do all the things, it’s easy to get wrapped up in it all.  It’s easy to feel like you need to be better. You need to keep pushing.  Keep going until you reach that goal, no matter what.  Then you’re overwhelmed and paralyzed by that.  You can’t put out any good work or make any real progress because you are so overwhelmed you can’t even think straight.  That’s when it’s time to take a moment for gratitude.  What is going right in your life right now?  Are your children healthy?  Are you generally healthy?  Do you have a roof over your head?  Food in your belly?  Are there beautiful moments in your life of laughter or signs of affection from others?  Take a moment to find 10 things in your life or current situation that you are grateful for.  They can be as a grand as living in your dream house, or as simple as that cup of coffee you got to indulge in before the house got loud.  Taking a moment to re-center ourselves and realize how much we have to be thankful for can make a huge difference in those feelings of overwhelm.  Realizing that you’re doing alright and have some sources of joy in your life can help calm some of the ridiculous expectations that we put on ourselves.

2. Dump Out Your Brain

Momma Caped Nerd, what are you even talking about?  How is this going to help me?  OK, obviously I don’t mean this literally.  Don’t dump out your brain, it sounds messy and gross and fatal. However, doing a “brain dump” is a great way to get all those thoughts and to-do’s that are swirling around in your head out.  For instance, this week, at any given moment here’s some of the things I’m thinking about: What will we need to pack for vacation? What kinds of sights will we see? Will we run into anyone unpleasant? I need to get caught up at work before I go.  I need to water the plants and clean the fish tank.  I need to research LLC’s and how to start a business.  Oh, I can’t forget to start a 401K for my husband so he can have some retirement savings.  Is my kid on track for his age?  –It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed and cannot think straight. Simply getting all of these thoughts out on a piece of paper or into a word document can help immensely with the feelings of overwhelm.  There is something powerful and freeing about this exercise.  It can literally feel like you’re unloading the rocks from your ball cap before you return it to your head.  Plus, having them all in one place that can be referenced again is helpful in allowing you to let these thoughts go just a little bit, because you don’t need to worry so much about forgetting this and that.

 3. Take A Mental Break

Go have coffee with a friend.  Build a fort with your kids and act silly.  Get out of your head for a few moments and enjoy some of the beauty in this life.  Go for a walk.  Take a nap. Whatever is happy and enjoyable to you and allows you to forget your to-do list for even 5 minutes – do that.  Sometimes we just keep pushing forward and forget that we have the present to enjoy.  Always searching and pursuing the next thing without stopping to enjoy today is part of where overwhelm stems from.  You need to allow yourself to “just be” sometimes and release that internal to-do list for a moment or two.  If you don’t know of a specific activity that you can do for this, try some breathing exercises.  It’s so simple, anyone can do it and it can actually relieve stress and calm you down.  Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 2, and release slowly until you need to inspire again.  As you release your breath, imagine your stress and worries going right along with it. So simple, so powerful.

4. Make A Plan

Making a plan can help relieve feelings of overwhelm.  If you’re on a road trip, having step by step directions of where you’re going makes you less worried about the journey.  You know what to expect and you have something to reference for the next step.  Remember that brain dump you did before?  Use it to help you prioritize what you need to do and create your own roadmap to get what you need to do done.  If you’re trying to make sure you get all the laundry done by Thursday, make a plan for when you will do laundry and get it into your schedule.  Just having it ready to go takes out the worry about whether or not you’ll be able to get it done.  You know when it’ll happen and you have a plan so you don’t have to keep worrying about it now.

5. Focus On What You Can Do Right Now

As you’re trying to manage all the things and are setting goals and plans, etc it can be helpful to set daily or weekly plans that are attainable to help you make progress without overwhelm consuming you.  Create a space for tiny wins in your week.  Perhaps you have a goal of preparing for your road trip.  Your action step this week could be booking accommodations and travel.  Then the following week  you can make sure your oil is changed and your car is ready for the trip.  The next week you can make your lists for packing and shopping. By themselves, none of these tasks seem like too much, but when you mash them all together and have no clarity on when or how you’ll do them, that’s when the overwhelm sets in.

Use these 5 steps to help calm your feelings of overwhelm and remind you to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other.  You’re doing great and you got this!

Much love and productive vibes,

Momma Caped Nerd ❤

Selfie

Do you have questions or suggestions for Momma Caped Nerd?  Did this post inspire or help you in any way?  Let me know by leaving a comment below or by visiting my Contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

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My goal is to help parents get more done so that they can focus their time on the things that really matter to them.

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