Let’s face it. Our mighty mom brains are constantly overloaded. Add in all the business stuff on top of that and no wonder why the feeling of being overwhelmed is all too familiar for us. But being in a constant state of overwhelm is obviously not healthy and can definitely take a toll on our bodies and more importantly, our minds. Knowing how to overcome the feeling of overwhelm starts by understanding what is overwhelming us.
4 Things That Cause Us To Be Overwhelmed
Our to-do lists
We all know the ever-dreaded, ever-surmounting list of to-dos a little too well. From doing the dishes and folding laundry to blog articles and social media posts, they’re never-ending and always overwhelming.
Yes, we’ve all got them. From soccer practices, P.T.A. meetings and coffee dates with friends, to business meetings & phone calls, there is always an obligation keeping us busy and feeling overwhelmed.
Relationships take work, and putting in the work can be overwhelming at times, but from business relationships to children and spouses, working on our relationships isn’t just needed, it’s absolutely vital.
Our thoughts & emotions
More often than not, our own thoughts and emotions can cause us to feel overwhelmed too. Thinking that we’re not good enough, caring too much about what other people think and making assumptions about anything and everything easily causes overwhelm.
Just reading that makes me feel overwhelmed! How about you? Need a brown paper bag? If so, there is no need to worry! I’m here to help! Not only will I hold your hair, I’m also here to hold your hand and walk you through how to overcome this overwhelm one step at a time!
6 Steps to Overcoming Overwhelming Feelings
1. Get it out of your head and onto paper
In general, the sense of overwhelm comes from an overload of information in our brains and our feeling of a lack of control over it. The best thing you can do is to get all that information out of your brain and onto a clean sheet of paper, putting yourself in control. I call this a brain dump and it’s one of the easiest exercises you can do.
Brain dump your to-do list. Brain dump all the obligations you have lined up. Brain dump any relationship stressors that are filtering through your head. Brain dump any negative thoughts or emotions you’re having. Yes, even those. While getting it all out on paper might already make you feel better, it’s ok if it makes you feel even a little more overwhelmed. We’ve got a few more steps to go!
TIP: Write each item on its own separate sticky note, it’ll make the next step so much easier!
2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
So you filled up a full sheet of paper? Not surprising, but definitely overwhelming. Let’s take a look at all
of these items and work on prioritizing them. Following Stephen Covey’s four quadrants for time management, number each of your items as follows:
I. Urgent and important – Think daily fire-fighting
(Ex: Crying babies, actual fires and certain phone calls)
II. Not urgent, but important – Think critical thinking
(Ex: Planning, strategizing and even exercise)
III. Urgent, but not important – Think interruptions
(Ex: Most mail, certain meetings and negative thoughts)
IV. Not urgent nor important – Think entertainment
(Ex: Social media, Pinterest, YouTube, Netflix and pleasurable activities)
TIP: Post all of your sticky notes up on a wall and start dividing them into these 4 quadrants
3. Now it’s time for the 4 D’s: Dump, Delegate, Defer or Do
The biggest problem we have as mom entrepreneurs, and I speak with myself included, is the need to feel like we have to do it all ourselves, do it all now, and take care of what is screaming in our face first. This is not true. Did you hear that? Let me say that one more time. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Following these same 4 quadrants it’s time to take your priorities and give them a little perspective.
- DELEGATE these tasks however possible
- DO these tasks and give them your absolute focus
- DELETE these tasks immediately and avoid them like the plague
- DEFER these tasks and limit them as best as possible
4. Take a breath
Before you go any further, you really need to stop and take a deep breath. No. Seriously. Take a deep breath. Take a breather. Take a shower. Take a nap. Get some exercise in. Take a walk. Go grab a coffee. Walk around aimlessly at Target for an hour. Do something to essentially clear the rest of your mind.
5. Take action
“All good thoughts and ideas mean nothing without action.” –Mahatma Gandhi
While I hope you’re already feeling a little better, it’s time to put our words into action.
- Immediately get rid of any DELETE tasks
- Schedule any DEFER tasks for later
- Find someone else to take care of any DELEGATE tasks
- And get to work on any DO tasks!
6. Give yourself grace
While your DO list might still be long, it’s important to remind yourself daily of the following:
- You will not get it all done EVERY day
- Some beats none
- A small step in the right direction is positive movement
- Every step counts
- You are amazing. Period.
Cut yourself a little slack and allow yourself grace when you don’t get it all done. We’re all human beings and even bigger than that, we’re mom entrepreneurs. We’ve got the toughest and the absolute best job in the world! There is no need to be overwhelmed by it! So give yourself some grace momma, and keep on keepin’ on!