Motherhood can be stressful. And, when we allow ourselves to stress more than the healthy amount, our body gets triggered into a fight, flight, or freeze response:
Read: 15 Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Fight: You find yourself shouting at your kids or your partner, or feel your eyes filling up with angry tears at something you would usually not get so upset about.
Flight: You withdraw into an another glass (or more) of wine or escape into the world of social media.
Freeze: You find yourself unable to do anything at all. You’re stuck.
If any of the above sounds anything like you in your current state, here are some tips that might help:
1. Brain Dump and Sift
Feeling overwhelmed often results in a never-ending stream of thoughts in our minds. For some relief from this, try getting them all down on paper. This doesn’t have to be in any logical order, but it helps to create some space in your head to regain some clarity. Once you’re done with your brain dump, sort through it all and ask yourself: “What do I truly need to do right now for myself and my family?”
2. Avoid Multi-Tasking
I’m sure you’ve heard that multi-tasking isn’t at all good for your brain. Yet, we continue to operate on countless things at once in an effort to achieve as much as possible. While this is bad for your well-being at any one time, it’s even worse when you’re feeling overwhelmed. So, commit, from today, to doing only one thing at a time.
Now that you’ve metaphorically ‘decluttered’ with steps one and two, try decluttering in a literal sense too. It’s a known fact that clutter causes stress. For immediate relief, take a few minutes to clean up the space you find yourself in right now. For long-term relief, aim for a more simple, minimalistic existance.
4. Take a Digital Break
When we’re feeling overwhelmed, receiving countless texts, emails, and / or notification is hardly any help. So try to take a break from all things digital for as long as possible. If you find this specifically helpful, try to incorporate a digital break more regularly, i.e.: whether it be once a week or once a month.
5. Learn to Say “No”
Feeling overwhelmed by motherhood can also be as a result of the pressure felt from other aspects of our lives. All too often, we prioritise being productive over taking a breather, or trying to accomplish something over being present and building relationships. To avoid only adding to the stress of being a mom, learn to say no to certain commitments that don’t suit your priorities. What’s more, once you’ve said no, use that time to rest and do nothing.
Exercise is a major stress reliever. Find a type of exercise you enjoy and prioritise making time to do it. Put some earphones in and use the time to zone out. Sex is also a natural stress reliever (and a good cardio workout). Be sure to maintain a regular sex life to help ease the stress.
7. Realise That You’re Not Alone
At times, stress caused from being a mother can lead to an emotional / mental breakdown where we begin asking questions like: “What’s wrong with me?” and ”Why can’t I handle this?” While introspection can be a good thing, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to keep these sorts of questions at bay and not allow yourself to even go there. Instead, remind yourself that you are not alone. What you’re going through is completely normal and you will get through it.
8. Spend Time Outside
Spending time in nature helps to put things in perspective. Research shows that going on a hike can, in fact, counter feelings of hopelessness and depression. However, even if you aren’t able to go on a hike, try to take some time to simply step outside and breathe in some fresh air.
9. Prioritise Yourself
The reality of the matter is that you won’t be able to take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself first. It’s ok to be selfish. Looking after yourself and your happiness will only benefit your family. So be sure to prioritise self-care and the things you enjoy doing.
10. Ask for Help
The worst thing you can do, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, is try to pretend as though everything is ok. Find someone who you trust to talk to about how you’re really feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable being that vulnerable with anyone you know personally, contact us here at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, and we’d be happy to connect you with someone, who you feel comfortable with, who can guide you through what you’re feeling and help provide solutions.