Being a mom isn’t easy, but it’s especially difficult right now when we are in the middle of a pandemic due to Covid-19.
I was finding that my stress and overwhelm were at an all time high. I was kinda feeling similar to how I felt after having a baby – the days just run into each other and you feel a sense of entrapment within your new life as a mom. (So I guess this post will be helpful for new moms also…)
About a week or two into our lives going on “pause”, I realized that one of the only things I was in control of is how I handle my emotions and guard my mindset.
I could go on and on feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with the current situation. But this would only lead to me taking out my agitation and irritability on my kids and that isn’t fair to them.
Or I could look for little ways to calm my overwhelmed mind and relieve a little bit of stress so I wasn’t such a short tempered monster ;-).
Now don’t get me wrong, I still have moments with my kids (on the daily) where my overwhelm gets the best of me and I really loose my cool. But I also believe that’s all part of parenting – it’s a real challenge to be cool, calm, and collected all the time.
If you are battling with overwhelm and stress right now, I’m sure you don’t enjoy it and would like to feel more in control and at peace. Read on to find out what you can do when you feel like a stressed out and overwhelmed mom.
Why Do You Feel Stressed and Overwhelmed?
According to the dictionary, stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” And overwhelm is to “give too much of a thing to (someone) or to bury or drawn beneath a huge mass.
I think it’s fair to say that we are in demanding circumstances when you have kids at home who depend on you.
You are being “given” things all the time whether you know it or not. For example, you are consuming information from social media, the news, or people that you talk with.
You “give” yourself a lot of thoughts about what you should be and need to be doing.
All these pressures and expectations you put on yourself take a toll on your mental and emotional health causing you to feel stressed out.
Alright, enough talking about stress and overwhelm, I’m sure you just want to know how to make it go away! And just so I’m honest with you, stress and overwhelm will never go away completely. They are a normal part of life – if you are engaging in your life. But let me share with you some ways to make the stress and overwhelm a little less dominant.
6 Tips for the Stressed Out and Overwhelmed Mom
Tip #1: Put Boundaries Around Your Phone
If you find yourself turning to your phone all the time, and after you put it down you have a hard time focusing on anything else, then it’s time to create some rules or boundaries around how you will use your phone.
I can tell when I’m getting to the point of overstimulation from my phone use because I start checking in with social media four times or more an hour! As soon as I put my phone down, my mind is still racing with what I read and scrolled through. My mind becomes totally revved up and a feeling of overwhelm comes over me.
Eliminate some of that overstimulation and overwhelm by deciding ahead of time when you will check in with social media or when you will have your phone around in general.
I’ve set a boundary around my phone use in the morning. I try really hard to not use my phone for anything other than music or podcasts before 8 am. I set this boundary because there is a lot I want to accomplish in the first few hours of the day. Spending time mindlessly scrolling isn’t something that’s productive for me that early.
I am in no way perfect with this. On the days when I don’t have the willpower to say no to my phone, I end up deleting Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. And guess what? It takes less than a minute to reinstall, but by not having the apps there, I’m not checking in a million times a day. I’ll usually reinstall the app toward the end of the day, spend a few minutes on social media, and get out.
Related: Removing Social Media From My Daily Routine
Tip #2: Stop Putting Pressure On Yourself
Once again, it’s easy to consume a lot of information about how other mom’s are doing things. You see something on Pinterest or Facebook and you start thinking you should be doing the same thing. And if you aren’t doing the same thing, or you just plain don’t want to do the “thing”, you think you are a bad mom. This is a lot of pressure you’re putting on yourself!
I took a walk one day and didn’t bring anything to listen to…which to me is torture because I love to listen to podcasts while I walk. Anyway, I was intentional with not bringing my phone because I hadn’t been doing enough of Tip #1 so my mind was feeling really out of control.
As I was walking, I started paying attention to how many times I had a thought about what I should be doing. I realized when I had these thoughts they caused me to feel overwhelmed. Because as soon as I started thinking about what I should be doing, that “should thing” became a real item on my already never-ending to-do list in my brain.
Make a conscious effort to stay present to what you are doing in the current moment. Don’t put more pressure on yourself by letting your mind run off with “shoulds”. If you are thinking that you “should” be doing more than you are, stop thinking that! Literally tell yourself, “I am not thinking that.”
Related: How To Drop The “Perfect Mom” Syndrome
Tip #3: Practice These Two Mantra’s
When I find myself really feeling stressed, I remember these two mantra’s – “One day at a time.” and “Control what you can and let go of what you can’t”.
Reminding myself that I only need to focus on today, helps relieve some of the stress and anxiety about the unknown future.
The other mantra helps me remember that I can only control myself. This gives me a sense of freedom because it’s a good reminder that I am not responsible for making other people (even my own kids) making certain choices.
Tip #4: Stick To Your Routines
Even though each day may be different, you can still find little routines to stick to.
You might not get up at the same time each morning, but what you do when you do wake up, your morning routine, can remain the same.
Routines in time of overwhelm and stress are important for these reasons:
- Creates more productivity while using less brain power. When you are feeling overwhelmed, the less decisions you have to make the better.
- Incorporates good habits so they stick. For example, you may have worked hard at incorporating exercise into your day. Don’t let that habit slip away because you are stressed or overwhelmed.
- Gives you a sense of control. Routines consist of a repeated sequence of actions. When you have a routine in place, you are in control of what will happen next (most of the time ;-)).
- Ensures important tasks are completed. At a time when everything feels like it’s falling apart, knowing that if nothing else is completed, at least you’ve brushed your teeth as part of your bedtime routine!
If you need help with routines, you might want to check these posts out:
- The Beginners Guide to Family Routines
- 5 Ways Routine Eliminates Chaos
- 8 Tips to Create a Morning Routine as a Mom
- The Morning Routine of 14 Moms
- The Bedtime Routine That Makes Me A Better Mom
Tip #5: Remember Compassion
When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, the slightest thing, like loud noises, can set you off. Or at least that’s how I react.
In times of high stress, taking a breath and remembering compassion – toward yourself and your family, can change the outcome.
As much as you would love to have it all together all the time, that is not possible. You’re human and because of that you feel a range of emotions. You have great days and bad days.
If you flip the switch from irritation and anger to compassion, you can release some of the overwhelm.
This is what compassion might look like for you:
- When you feel yourself on the brink of losing your mind, you tell yourself it’s OK and nothing is wrong. You allow yourself to do something that feels good, like rest while reading a book or lay on the couch and enjoy a movie with your kids.
- If your kids are hitting every last nerve, take a second and think about what might be going on in their heads? You can take it further and ask them how they feel about the situation.
- When your struggling with how you should be doing things differently, or feeling like a bad mom, use Tip #2 to give yourself a break. It can be easy to get caught up in everything we think we are doing wrong, instead of thinking about all the good stuff we are doing as a mom.
- When you feel your emotions running high, ask yourself this question, “If I was coming from a place of love right now, what would that look like?” This can help you move toward compassion.
Tip #6: Flexibility Is Your Friend
As much as I love a plan and a good block schedule, when you are feeling really stressed and overwhelmed, it’s not the time to be rigid. Allowing for some flexibility will make everything easier.
For example, when my schedule changed drastically due to the Covid-19 outbreak, I floundered and struggled for the first few weeks because I didn’t want to let go of the schedule I had in place.
But the truth was, it wasn’t working out. My kids were home and they needed more from me than my ideal scheduled allowed. I ended up having to scrap my ideal schedule (that had been working so well for me), and try something different.
If I kept trying to cram our day into my old schedule, it was going to lead to frustration and irritation because the reality is the times had changed and I needed to be flexible and change as well.
After a few weeks of practicing flexibility throughout the day in an attempt to meet all our needs, I came upon a schedule that works well for us all. I still keep my morning and night routine (Tip #4), but I’m more flexible with how the day plays out with the kids.
I know I’m talking about flexibility with scheduling here, but you can also choose to be more flexible when it comes to rules and expectations you have for your family. Instead of a strict no screens policy during the week, you can choose to allow 1 or 2 hours a day.
Or maybe you make your life easier and give yourself some flexibility around what your kids are eating right now. PB&J for dinner every night? Why not.
If you are feeling really stressed and overwhelmed, chances are something isn’t working in your day. Make flexibility your friend to relieve some of your stress and figure out what works for you.
Related: How To Maintain Routine When Life Is Disrupted
The Last Thing You Need To Know About About Feeling Stressed & Overwhelmed In Motherhood
The only thing you have complete control over is yourself.
The six tips above will help you calm your overwhelmed mind and relieve a little bit of stress so that you can enjoy motherhood more.
Even better, these tips cost nothing and you only need yourself to implement them.
Which tips will you start implementing today? If you have a helpful tip to lessen overwhelm and stress, please share it in the comments below.
**For more help on staying sane in motherhood, when times are crazy, grab 38 Mom Hacks That Will Save Your Sanity. You will find it here.**