Families today lead very busy lives. The pressure to “do it all” is overwhelming.
Do you ever stop and think about all the things we are expected to do in our lives?
Make sure the kids get so many minutes of active time, outdoor time, learning time, chore time, and down time. Be sure you’re making healthy dinners, keeping the house clean and tidy, running all the errands, staying on top of the laundry, and then taking time for yourself. Definitely don’t forget about that important self care. And maybe throw in some time with your friends or spouse.
If that’s not enough to fill your days, consider that 70% of Canadian families have two working parents. We are part of that statistic. And my girls have 8 to 10 hours of extracurriculars a week as well.
How do we manage all these things without losing ourselves completely?
The short answer is, we don’t. I definitely struggle with feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Some weeks flow well and others pull me down like crazy.
Often, I have to step back from all the “extra” things I try to do (blogging, helping others, even doing laundry) to allow me to reorient my life. The overwhelm comes on every time I take on too much. I know my limit, but sometimes I have a hard time saying no.
Regardless, I’ve finally learned that I literally have to disconnect, step away from everything that isn’t my family, and let things go. Sometimes that means I don’t get an email sent, or a post ready, and that really is okay. And when that still doesn’t help, I try these tips.
These are some things that work for me:
Staying on top of chores
This may sound odd, but having a tidy kitchen (ie no dishes in the sink) when I get up in the morning keeps me in a good place, mentally. Waking up and having to do chores before I even start my coffee is never how I want to start my day.
By taking those few minutes at the end of the day (or making the kids do it right after dinner,) I ensure I will begin the next day on the right track.
Related: Why we don’t Reward Chores
When I have chores to do (which is every day) I love putting on some music. I will often dance in the kitchen, or while I’m folding laundry. It helps the time go by, and it counts as exercise too, right?
The other time I love having my music is when I go for a walk. Yes, I have a lot of internal conversation with myself, but I also love walking to uptempo music. Something about listening to my favourite songs and bands always puts me in a happy place.
This goes with my music above – moving your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. Paired with some great tunes, this is a amazing tool to lift up your mood and lower your stress levels.
I take a weekly dance class. This is where I socialize with some other lovely ladies and get my sweat on. I feel energized and I forget about everything else that’s going on in my life for an hour or two.
Getting to bed early, and getting my full eight hours of sleep, always helps me feel more confident in my life. I will say I don’t very often get a full eight hours of sleep, but I get at least seven.
Making time for sleep is just as important and making time for your family, or your work. Our bodies need rest to rejuvenate. When we are not well rested, life is more stressful. It’s biology.
Feeling my feelings (aka having a good cry)
Sometimes my life completely overwhelms me. I’ve yelled at the kids for the tenth time, no one is helping me with anything (or so it feels), I had a rough day at work, and my hormones are going crazy. The only way I can deal is to have a proper cry.
Feeling our feelings is important. Letting them wash over you can be cathartic. Allow yourself to express them. Tears are not a sign of weakness. In fact, they can be a release, and just what your body needs to shed some stress.
Keep the whole family involved.
A busy life should never be solely on one or two family member’s shoulders. Everyone in a household should be contributing to the household jobs.
This is especially true in a two working parent household. There are often not enough hours in a week for one person to try to do all of it themselves. Enlisting the children to help, and teaching them basic life skills like dusting and vacuuming, cooking, and laundry, will ease the burden of the never ending housework.
There will still be days when we all get overwhelmed. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do about it. Taking inventory of ourselves can often help. Use a few of the ideas above and see if they help you recenter yourself.
Overwhelm can be battled – I do it on a weekly basis! If you have any other suggestions or ideas that you use to help you refocus and lower your stress levels, let me know in the comments.
Take a deep breath and keep working to battle the overwhelm!