Who as a mum isn’t living a busy life, huh? We all know full well what it feels like to juggle... the housework, kids’ clubs, work and the list goes on and on.
You may feel the sheer volume of commitments is too much or almost too much to manage - like you are drowning and struggling for air under the physical and mental load.
It’s your thoughts not your life that trigger overwhelm. Thinking there is too much (to do), a scarcity (lack of time) or that you should (guilt). The trick is to catch and shift this thinking before it tightens its grip. As overwhelm is caused by what our brains are telling us, working on your beliefs along with practical actions will help you to regain your focus.
If this speaks to you (as it does to me and many of my clients!) then here are some top tips to turn down the volume, create some headspace and take control in and out of work.
1) Move your focus away from the demands onto your response
Mindfulness is key to being present and protecting against overwhelm. Ground yourself in your environment using all of your senses, asking yourself what you can see, hear, etc. Simple breathing exercises with a longer exhale to inhale can calm your sympathetic nervous system and the fight/ flight/ stress response.
2) Acknowledge your worth
It’s healthy to set boundaries about what you are and aren’t available for and to say ‘No’. Your worth isn’t attached to your performance. Identify your superpowers and tap into them to move you forward.
3) Prioritise your precious time and energy
Are your tasks/ deadlines necessary or are they self-imposed? Be clear about why something is on your to-do list and schedule it, releasing the mental burden. Break tasks down and recognise where mono tasking (focusing on one thing) rather than multi will serve you better.
You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘Tidy desk, tidy mind’. Well, it’s true! Have a clear out of your workspace or home environment so you minimise distractions, reduce procrastination and up your productivity.
5) Practice self-care and compassion
Carve out time for yourself to rest and recharge. This doesn’t need to be a grand plan. Simple and do-able wins the day! Schedule this self-care as you would other commitments. Be kind to yourself, as you would be to a friend, when the going gets tough.
A lot of mums come to me for coaching, feeling overwhelmed exacerbating their lack of direction, focus and ability to make career choices.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 81% of women have felt so stressed at some point in the last year that they’ve felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Work is the number one trigger!
Overwhelm is a state of mind. Stop for a moment, breathe and be present. Now what two or three actions are you going to take to help you to take control and enjoy a sense of relief?
This article was written by Oriel Camp, founder of Oriel Coaching. Oriel helps busy, working mums to reconnect with what is important to them and to make a meaningful career change. You can get in touch with Oriel at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07960 855646.