Overwhelmed and motherhood go hand in hand, don’t they? How do you get started when you’re overwhelmed?
Feeling overwhelmed, and paralyzed by that feeling?
I get it.
Right now, I am overwhelmed thinking about the next two weeks.
Christmas. My children will be out of school, we have family visiting and the holidays. Maybe you feel the same.
With this time of the year comes a flurry of activities, requirements, expectations, and financial burdens.
About six billion school parties. If you have multiple kids, you’ll have to find a way to multiply yourself and attend all of them.
Party supplies to buy. 19 little gifts to give.
Money for them to go gift shopping.
Interacting with other parents in the classroom parties.
Wrapping gifts. Mailing gifts to loved ones out of town.
Coordinating attending Christmas parties for all the different family members who require your attendance.
Time to sit down and cry.
That’s not just me, right??
Related: How to Create a Self Care Kit
And that is all on top of all the usual parts of life. Picking up and dropping off children, making lunches, breakfasts, and dinners, juggling schedules.
I’m overwhelming myself just talking about this.
My heart is racing, my palms are sweaty, and the overwhelm is creeping up my neck.
But things still need to get done, right?
How do you push past when you’re filled to the brim, overflowing with overwhelm?
When you feel like you can’t function.
The next right step, of course.
There is going to come a time when this isn't my go-to for all advice ever, but that's not today.
Here's the thing.
We need to come to an understanding about all the things you need to get done. They're not all going to get done today.
But you can take the next right step, and get closer to your goal.
And that's okay.
Let's have a list for what you need to do when you need to get started.
Address Your Overwhelming Thought
My most common overwhelming thought is
It's too much for me to do.
This thought creeps in when I look around my house and see a mess, or when I walk into the kitchen and there is a sink full of dishes, or I don't have a clean coffee cup. Usually, if I try to get away from one overwhelming task, and I'm faced with another overwhelming task, I can't get away from it.
Honestly, it often is too much for me to do.
Related: Using Self Care to Get Rid of Stress
So I break it down. I don't have to get all of the clothes folded, I can put twenty minutes towards it now, and come back later.
You don't have to get every single thing done to relieve your overwhelmed mind.
This is where my brain has the most trouble though. Getting started when I think I won't be able to finish.
If it's not perfect, why bother doing it in the first place?
Perhaps you have felt the same? This stems from thinking you are an imposter, and you think everyone will see you as the fraud you are.
It has to be perfect, so no one can judge you.
Change the Dialogue in Your Head
When is the last time you did something perfect? I mean REALLY perfect.
How about this, when is the last time someone tried something, and you judged them for getting it wrong?
Who is the one expecting this perfection from you? Will someone really be affected if you complete this task and it's not perfect?
Dishes, for example. If you can fit all but three plates in the dishwasher, will someone come home and say “wow, I wish you would have done ALL the dishes!”
No. That's insane!
and if someone is coming home an saying that, well . . . move out of your mother in law's house.
Done is better than perfectLara Casey
- Acknowledge the unrealistic thought.
- Address the feeling / thought.
- Do the next right thing.
- Throw away the idea of perfection, and embrace DONE.
Make a List
I like lists. I have a list post about lists.
Sometimes when we are dreading something we expect it to be a lot worse than it is.
Ending your evening with a brain dump will help you the following day.
Writing down everything you need to know or remember for a task will help you organize your thoughts so you can see how long it will take, or have a better estimate.
You don't have to make a full plan or anything here, just write it all down. You don't have to do everything you write. You will never get to everything.
- Get out a paper and pen
- Set a 20-minute timer
- Write everything you can think of that needs to get done today
- Don't edit while you write, let it all out.
The Next Right Thing
There are going to be days where you won't know where to start. Overwhelm will get the best of you, and the walls will start closing in.
Take your list, and do one thing.
That's it. That's the plan.
Do one thing. When you finish that, you can figure out the rest. That's a future you problem. Let's stay here, in the now.
- Pick one thing.
- Do said thing.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed until you achieve your desired result.
Set A Timer
Since you have that timer still from the brain dump, lets put it to good use.
Don't have time? Everyone has twenty minutes.
Take your thing, set your timer. Do your thing.
When you are on the clock, you do your thing. That's it. Ignore everything else. Your doggy can get attention later, your husband can make his own popcorn, you can pee in twenty minutes.
Everything that isn't scheduled already can wait.
Don't worry about anything else you are thinking about. You already wrote it down, remember? Focus on your one thing.
- Set a timer
- Focus on your one thing
You did your thing!
Maybe it's not done, but you spent 20 minutes working on your thing, maybe even more. You need a reward.
This is a big deal. It might seem like it's not, but an hour ago, you were so overwhelmed you were laying on the couch with the blanket over your face scrolling Facebook and trying to calm down.
My reward is I'm going to watch a show with my husband.
- Complete Your Thing!
- Celebrate! You're amazing!
Rinse and Repeat
Isn't success fun?
After this, you'll just repeat the process as needed.
In each paragraph, I added the action steps you need to complete to be successful.
Once you get past that first bump, everything will be so much easier.
This is my process, and what works for me.
Your process might look a little different. The important thing here is you start. Use this process as a starting point.
Another process I love is my morning routine. Check it out here: