Question of the Day – Feeling Overwhelmed“I feel so overwhelmed with the “end of school year” craziness. I’ve got 3 little kids and their 3 teachers are asking so many things of me: bring $5 for a field trip, send brownies for a party, send in a baby picture for kinder-graduation, black pants for the performance, flower and card for teacher appreciation, and on and on. Not to mention the end-of-year gifts for the teacher, my son’s birthday, my niece’s high school graduation AND requests for my TIME! I’m supposed to volunteer at the festival, watch the end of year performance, and chaperone the field trip?!?! My brain is ready to explode! This is all fun stuff so I feel guilty complaining, but how the heck do people manage the May crazies without getting overwhelmed?” – Lindsay
Parent Educator Answer: Feeling OverwhelmedI remember feeling exactly the same way when my kids were little. I was out walking my dog one December feeling totally overwhelmed with trying to remember all the things I had to do. I ran into my neighbor who had 5 KIDS, was homeschooling 3 of them, and was very involved with church activities. Surely, she could relate to my struggle of feeling overwhelmed trying to manage the details of many lives. I said, “You must be going crazy, too, trying to remember all the details, celebrations, gifts and events with 5 kids! How are you not overwhelmed?”
A Lot of ListsShe looked at me contemplatively and calmly replied, “Well, I have a lot of lists.” The most common cause of overwhelm during busy months like May and December is trying to hold too many things in your head at one time. Writing everything down gets it all out of your head so you don’t have to “try to remember.” If you trust yourself to check your lists and follow through, this (theoretically) frees up your brain so you don’t have to hold too many things in your head at one time. It’s like having too many browser tabs open on your computer at one time. Sometimes the computer can’t process it all and it slows down and starts taking forever to load. It needs extra time to process everything. When we have too many thoughts in our head, we also begin to slow down and become less productive. Writing things down is like closing some of those browser windows so there are fewer things to think about it. If you do have a lot of lists and you still feel overwhelmed, take it three steps further:
- Break things into categories. Everything you need to buy can be compiled into one list rather than making multiple trips. All phone calls get done at one time.
- Write how long you think each task will take. Sometimes we procrastinate on things we really don’t want to do, but when you realize that one email you don’t want to write will only take 5 minutes, it makes it seem less daunting and you get it done with more easily.
- Choose a date and time on your calendar to complete it. Putting it on the calendar will help you see your schedule and how much time you actually have.
- Buy 13 toys for the preschool summer fun basket. (40 min. Tuesday @ 7:00pm)
- Have Sophie make a card for her teacher. (10 min. Sunday @ 2:00pm)
- Buy fruit and make a fruit platter for end of year party. (60 min. Thursday @ 8:00pm)
Life Coaching answer: What To Do When OverwhelmedWhat gets in the way from implementing this tried and true method for reducing overwhelm? Perfectionism. I have not encountered an overwhelmed mom yet who did not have some sort of perfectionism (myself included). Inside our heads, it sounds something like this:
- “I have to do everything right.”
- “I should do everything they are asking me to do.”
- “I need to contribute and do my part.”
- “I need to be there for my kids.”
- “I can’t forget anything.”
- “Oh well, no big deal.”
- “I’ve contributed plenty this year already.”
- “I give myself permission to drop the ball”
Supermom Kryptonite:Trying not to drop any balls. Picture a juggler with 5 balls in the air. He focuses; whole body tense. He might smile and talk, but he can’t really relax. Most of his attention has to stay on juggling those 5 balls. Now imagine he is juggling these balls for 12 hours a day. EXHAUSTING. Give yourself permission to drop some balls. Decide ahead of time which balls to drop or just commit to being kind to yourself when the inevitable ball drops. You are not perfect, you are human, and human beings forget things, flake, and make mistakes.
Supermom Powerboost:When we are exhausted, overwhelmed, and crazy, we just need to be with people who understand us. The Holderness Family does a great job of laughing at the craziness that comes with modern-day parenting. They are famous YouTubers who make funny videos that make us crazy Supermoms feel seen, heard, and felt. Their recent Maycember video is today’s Supermom Powerboost. Watch the video, have a laugh, and know that you are not alone. I’ll include a link in the show notes and my Facebook Page, Life Coaching for Parents.
Quote of the Day:“Imperfections are not inadequacies. They are a reminder that we are all in this together.” Brene Brown
10 Powerful Questions
5 Questions every morning to give you clarity and intention.
5 Questions every evening to give you satisfaction and gratitude.
This is the best way to get you in the driver’s seat of your life.