If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. As a working mom, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly juggling a million different things. But even though it may seem like there’s no end in sight, there are ways to take a step back and regroup.
Try these five-minute mood boosting activities next time you need a quick pick-me-up. From listening to your favorite song to writing down what you’re thankful for, these simple strategies can help improve your outlook and give you the boost you need to keep going.
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We’ve all been there
Motherhood is hard, regardless of what your journey of motherhood looks like, so the fact that you feel overwhelmed is almost a given. With the busyness of children’s schedules, maintaining a career, and trying to look like you try each day, its no wonder you are able to do it all. We’ve all been there (or are still there)!
In fact, according to a 2016 study, 61% of American adults report feeling stressed out about their lives.
We all know what its like to feel like you are failing fast with laundry and meals and playtime! But I want to start this with an encouragement that you are not alone!
What to do when you feel overwhelmed?
So what do we do when we are feeling overwhelmed? We moms need to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others well. We have to understand that our needs for rest and recovery are just as important and the millions of things on our to do lists.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, there are 3 basic things that you can do quickly and easily to assess the extent of the overwhelm so that you can then choose the right course of action to find your calm in the chaos.
1. Take a step back
The first thing that you should do when you feel overwhelmed is to be conscious enough to take a step back! You have to be moving slow enough to recognize that you are pushing yourself to burnout.
When you take a step back, you can then assess the situation and figure out what is causing the feeling of overwhelm. When you take a moment to step back you can better see all parts of the situation at hand.
Taking a step back also includes being honest with yourself about what you can and cannot do. It is okay to say no to things, especially if it means that you will be taking care of yourself in the process.
2. Acknowledge without dwelling
The second thing you should do when you are feeling overwhelmed is to acknowledge the feelings you are experiencing without dwelling in the feelings. In practical terms this means that you should identify the feeling, name it, and then work on doing the work to push through it.
Acknowledging your feeling could be as simple as mentally making a note of the thoughts and feelings, it could also include journaling through the feelings, depending on how deep the exhaustion goes. Feeling overwhelmed is going to be expressed differently so each of us, so the acknowledgement you need will be individual.
Be sure, however, that you do not get stuck in this step. You don’t want to dwell on the feeling of overwhelm, as this can lead to a sense of helplessness.
3. Seek help
Once you have taken a step back and acknowledged the feelings of exhaustion or overwhelm its time to take action. So ask yourself this question…
Will I be able to overcome this overwhelm on my own? Or is this something that I need help in doing. This is a very important question to ask and you have to be able to answer it honestly.
If you typically feel like you have things together and a recent event or disruption has led to your overwhelm, then you may be able to make simple shifts in your day to release the overwhelm.
However, if these feelings have been chronic, then you may want to look into ways you can get assistance for your overwhelm. This could come in the form of therapy, coaching, or even offloading tasks in your home!
Whatever help looks like for you, if you need it, know that it is okay to seek it!
Want more self-care tips, activities, and ideas? Check out all of our Self-Care Resources created to help event the busiest mom steward her health well!
After you have completed the three steps listed below, you may still be seeking something that you can do in the moment to boost your mood until a more long term solution can be found. That is where these mood-boosting activities come into play!
These activities can be done in 5-minutes and improve how you feel. These are excellent tasks to do during the “take a step back” step we discussed earlier in this post.
Here are 9 Simple mood-boosting activities for when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Doing deep breathing exercises is one of the easiest and quickest ways to calm down. Deep breathing allows you to take in more oxygen, which helps to clear your mind and relax your body.
There are a few different ways that you can deep breath, but my personal favorite is the 5-5 method. With this method, you count to five slowly while breathing in through your nose, hold a moment, then breath out through your mouth to the same 5 count.
While it may sound cliche, the truth is, prayer is one of the most effective answers to nearly any need you have. It should be a first step when you are feeling lost or overwhelmed.
When we pray, we are opening up our hearts and minds to a Father who cares about our needs and concerns, and seeking truth from the keeper of truth and in the midst of our struggles that can be incredibly comforting.
Take a shower
So many times, moms especially, joke about not having time to shower. Which is funny in the moment, but sad too! Here’s the thing. You need to have moments to yourself, and if the feeling of being overwhelmed is secondary to the feeling of not having time to yourself, then consider this your reminder that you are worth the time it takes to take care of yourself.
That means taking a moment to run the shower water and just reset. Even if its for a few moments of quiet.
Stretching is not only a good thing to do after rigorous exercise. It can be particularly therapeutic when you are feeling stressed or tense.
Stretching releases endorphins which have mood-boosting effects and can help to relax your body and mind.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try a few simple stretches like neck rolls or arm reaches.
Take a walk
This is another great way to get some fresh air and clear your head. If you can, try a walk outdoors and take in the sights and sounds around you.
The combination of movement and nature can do wonders in releasing feelings of overwhelm.
Listen to music
Music has a powerful effect on our emotions. It can soothe us when we are feeling stressed and lift our spirits when we are feeling down.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, try listening to some calming music or your favorite upbeat tunes and have a dance party!
The act of gratitude has a calming affect when the world seems to be in chaos. The Grateful 10 activity is a way to focus on the good things around you instead of what isn’t going as planned.
To complete this activity, grab a notebook and write down 10 things that you are grateful for then say them out loud, then write down 10 more and recite them. Do this in groups of 10 without repeating until your set time is up.
Learn God’s intention for Time Stewardship
Embrace a rhythm of working and resting and get more done! Get your copy of our Purposeful Productivity Journal and find more time for the daily tasks that matter and quickly begin creating routines that prioritize rest.
Progressive relaxation is a stress management technique that can help your body to relax by systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups.
To do this activity, start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, tighten the muscles in your toes for 5 seconds then release. Work your way from your toes up your body to your head.
Talk to a friend
Talking to a friend is one of the best remedies for feeling overwhelmed. When we share our thoughts and feelings with someone else, it can help us to make sense of them and find solutions.
Not to mention, friends are a great source of comfort and support! So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, pick up the phone or send a text to a friend and let them know what’s going on.
Laughter really is the best medicine! When we laugh, it releases endorphins and relaxes our bodies which can help to alleviate stress.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try watching a funny TV show or movie, reading a humorous book, or looking up jokes online.
Write it down
Finally, another great way to deal with feeling overwhelmed is to write it down. Putting our thoughts and feelings into words can help us to process them and find solutions.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try writing in a journal. You can do this free style by simply sharing your thoughts or use guided journaling with prompts.
Could Simplicity be the answer?
Overwhelm often comes because we have too much on our plates. When this is a chronic status the exhaustion can feel inevitable When we are in this place, however, it is good to consider what can be done to alleviate the feelings long term.
For me, that often looks like simplifying. When I feel most overwhelmed, I am usually overextending myself in one way or the other. That could be in in my schedule, or the things I have accumulated, or even in the decisions I am having to make!
Feeling overwhelmed is something that a lot of us experience, and it doesn’t have to be our normal. There are things we can do to overcome those feelings and take back control of our lives. Acknowledging our feelings is the first step, and then seeking help from others or trying some simple mood boosting activities can make all the difference.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed more often than not, consider simplifying your life so that you have less to manage. We hope this article has given you some tools to start reclaiming your time and energy. For more sustainable time management tips, download our free guide, Beating Busy.