Have you ever been on the edge, about to break? Maybe dealing with one crying, tired kid while trying to manage a crying, hungry baby then realizing you forgot to switch the laundry & now need to rewash it for the 4th time (this is the WORST). In times like these the overwhelm is real. Big emotions can overcome & leave you ending up in a puddle of tears or rage yelling followed by the worst mom guilt. First and foremost I want to reassure you:
You are NOT alone.
You are NOT a failure
You are HUMAN
You are doing your best and your best is ENOUGH.
As mamas we have a million and one things on our plates at all times. It can be so extremely overwhelming yet we only see pictures of other women who seem to “have it together” and get down on ourselves when it all gets to be too much. Again I want to reassure you that you are not alone!
When I help women overcome overwhelm I let them know that we can approach it two ways. Firstly there are strategies to deal in the moment & there are strategies to use long term (this is for another post).
I have put together 3 quick ways to reduce overwhelm in the moment:
- Breathe – I love box breathing and belly breathing to calm your nervous system down in the moment.For box breathing you simply inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds & hold that for 4 seconds then repeat as needed. Typically I repeat this 4 times, but whatever works for you. If 4 is too long/short of a count you can adjust it to whatever number you feel is just enough to grab your attention (you don’t want it to be too long that you’re struggling for breath or too short where you can do it super easily).Belly breathing is also a great one where you inhale fully & pay attention to your belly filling with air & rising, not your chest. You can put one hand on your belly to anchor your attention and focus on making it move with the inhalation.
Breathing like this helps to pull your attention into your body & out of your head as well as signals your nervous system to calm down.
- Affirmations – what the mouth says the brain believes. When we say a positive/calming statement, our brains take it for face value & signal our bodies that it is happening (even if it’s not). This is a great trick for when you’re overwhelmed and need to calm down in a pinch. Next time you’re stressed out, say aloud one of my favourite calming affirmations:
Every cell in my body radiates calm energy.
My patience is limitless, I am calm cool collected.
I am the perfect mother for my child(ren), I handle their needs with ease.
I am doing my best and my best is enough.
These are a great tool for when you’re overwhelmed as when you say a calming statement your brain believes it & signals your body to calm down.
- Focus on a body part – when you’re feeling yourself getting overwhelmed I want you to focus on a body part. I know it sounds silly but just hear me out! You can choose any body part although I like to use my feet as they’re closest to the ground and I can imagine me rooting down into the floor.In a moment of overwhelm, pick a body part and ask yourself:How does this body part feel? Wiggle it around. Is there something under it/touching it? How does that material feel on it? If you use your feet, imagine a root growing from the sole of your foot and rooting down deep into the ground until you can’t imagine it going any further.
This exercise brings your attention out of your head and into your body giving you a chance to regulate before reacting.
Use these three strategies next time you feel the weight of motherhood becoming a little too much to regain a sense of calm and beat the overwhelm.
Being a mom is an extremely hard job that doesn’t get enough credit. You are constantly taking care of everyone else and it is easy to get overwhelmed with your mile-high to-do list. This is why it is my soul mission to help mamas beat the exhaustion and overwhelm and revive their energy levels and confidence. You can do the same by implementing these strategies when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’ve got this Mama! Come join a community of mamas looking to revive their confidence, beat the overwhelm and raise their energy levels in my free Lioness Wellness group!
Dr. Jenna Priestap, ND
Sage Naturopathic Clinic