We’ve all been there. You wake up and all of a sudden it feels like the world is crashing down on top of you. All you can think about is the long list of things that “need” to get done and how you have no time to get them done and the next thing you know, you are completely and utterly overwhelmed. The crappy thing about being overwhelmed – it often forces us into a state of paralysis where instead of taking strides towards marking things off of that list, we do nothing and then the guilt and stress of it all continues to build up and boil up inside of us. I think we can all agree that this is not a great feeling. We can also probably agree that at certain times in life, it’s inevitable. So instead of freaking out and ending up in a state of panic, I thought we could discuss some tactics for defusing the situation before it escalates so far. DISCLAIMER: I am by NO means an expert in this. In fact, I just had a mini-episode this weekend which I’ll share below. This is more of a brainstorming post and hopefully an eye opener for you to see where and when this is going on in your own life.
So it’s no surprise that my husband and I are expecting our first child next month, so as you can probably imagine, things are really starting to get REAL around our house! This weekend into Monday I started feeling that awful feeling…I was unpackaging, washing, sorting and rummaging through all of the baby stuff we were so lovingly gifted at our shower when I was hit with a wave of panic. “OMG there’s NO way we are going to get all of this stuff done before the baby comes”. “The baby is definitely going to come early, I just know it, and we have nothing done….we still need to figure out the car seat, get it in the car (but I need to get a car wash first), we need to clean out a cabinet in the kitchen for baby stuff, we need to wash all the baby stuff, the fridge needs to be cleaned, the whole house needs to be deep cleaned, we have to organize the nursery, we need to finish decorating the nursery, we have to get the stuff we didn’t receive off of our registry, I need to finish packing my hospital bag, we need to make some freezer meals for the first few months, etc, etc, etc….” As you can probably imagine, by the time Monday morning rolled around I was in a tense state of overwhelm.
Over the course of two days, I had convinced myself that the baby was for sure coming early and that we would have none of the above mentioned things done before then and that we would begin our journey as parents in a state of chaos. Now yes, this can still happen, but worrying about it and living “as if” it IS inevitable does not help anything. Luckily, I had an appointment with my counselor on Monday evening and she was able to talk me through this stuff and calm me down. I woke up today determined to work through the overwhelm and here are some things I am doing and could probably still do to defuse this situation and make sure I don’t end up back in overwhelm hell…
MAKE A LIST
I did this first thing in the morning. I wrote down all of the things that “need” to get done and all the things I want to get done before the baby’s arrival. Honestly, just getting it all out of my head and onto paper felt magical! Next up I prioritized that list…which was most important to me and which was least important to me. Ok, so obviously they were all important to me; however, putting the car seat in does hold a slightly higher rating than cleaning out the fridge. 🙂
ASSIGN ONE TASK PER DAY
Looking at huge list every day and debating where to start does nothing (at least for me) but put me back into a state of paralysis. SO instead of that, I looked at the list and started scheduling things INTO my Google Calendar. I’m one of those people…if it’s in my calendar, it’s getting done. This makes me feel good because I can see things being prioritized and I can see when and how they are going to get accomplished. Trying to do 10 things a night is not realistic and let’s be honest…at 8 months pregnant ain’t NOBODY got energy for that!! 🙂 But one thing a night is absolutely do-able. Especially with Steve’s help which brings me to the next thing…
ASK FOR HELP
Why do we think we always need to do everything by ourselves? Stupid humans, we never learn!! As I’ve mentioned before, we are meant to live in community, and when you are in a state of overwhelm…that doesn’t change! In fact, you need it even more. Instead of internalizing everything, I expressed to Steve all the anxious thoughts that were flying around in my head, shared my list with him and enlisted him to help me with the one task per day until we get some things done. I immediately felt better and it’s so much nicer having some one else on your team helping you tackle things. It doesn’t even have to be a significant other, it can be a friend, family member, co-worker, whoever…just ask for help!
BE MINDFUL OF SELF CARE
It’s ironic because it’s in moments like this that we can all benefit from self-care the most; however, it’s also moments like this where we usually make the opposite decision to spread ourselves so thin and wear ourselves out until we can’t function anymore. This decision has to be INTENTIONALLY made. It will not come naturally for you, or me, or anyone…because we are humans and it feels awkward. BUT I also know through my learning experiences with self-care that it is the one thing that may be able to help me through times like this the most. I need to make sure that over the next few weeks as we knock things off my list that I am taking extra care of myself. What does this mean? Well, for me, it means making sure I go to bed at a decent time, scheduling time for walks to enjoy the nice weather, get my movement in, eat delicious and nutritious meals that will sustain me and baby as we get these tasks done, make time for my guilty pleasures (Dancing With The Stars and The Voice), my morning routine, quality time with Steve and daily time in prayer and/or gratitude. This will look different for you, but for me – I know these things fill me up and leave me energized and motivated, without them things go south pretty quick…so make it a priority people! You are worth it!
So there you have it. These are my ideas and tactics for dealing with overwhelm and taking back control. Do these resonate with you? I’m sure there are a lot of other great ways for dealing with feeling overwhelmed that I didn’t touch on and/or think of…PLEASE SHARE your thoughts on this…I’d LOVE to hear!! 🙂