As moms, we are supposed to be everything for everyone. That's how it works, right? But what happens when you are burned out? What happens when you are overwhelmed and just need someone to take care of you so you can gather your bearings?
As moms, it's sometimes easy to forget that we need to refill our own cup. We can't be of any real use to anyone else if we haven't taken care of our own needs first.
I know a bit about being overwhelmed. This year just about did me in. I started the year hooked up to an IV, unsure whether my twins would survive, summer found me at the hospital with my toddler who nearly drowned, and we're ending the year with a bang since my husband's company is being sold and he was told he won't have a job after this month.
I've definitely had my moments.
So what do you do when you are overwhelmed but still have kids, and husbands, and jobs that need you?
Take a second and just breathe
Things are rarely as bad as you think they are. Even when they are, they usually get better with time. Close your eyes and just breathe and remind yourself that it won't feel like this forever.
Take a power nap
I'm no good to anyone when I'm tired. On those days when I just have way too much to do, when it doesn't make any sense to slow down long enough to take a nap, sometimes that's exactly what I need to do. Set a timer for 30 minutes and just rest in a quiet place. Plop the kids in front of the TV if you need to. When you wake up, you'll be better able to tackle the things that you need to.
Ask for help
Help isn't always an option but it IS an option more often than we think it is. I know how hard it can be to ask for help. I usually try and do things on my own unless I absolutely can't but I've found that people are usually more than willing to help out. By not asking for help when we need it, we make things harder on ourselves than they need to be and we are less able to help others when they need it because we haven't taken care of our own needs.
Break things into small pieces
Does a huge task have you overwhelmed? You have no idea where to start so you freeze up? Sit down and break the larger task into smaller pieces. That gives you a clear view of what needs to be done and lets you tackle the problem one piece at a time.
So your to-do list is 10 miles long and you are freaking out just looking at it. Logic says you should work on the most urgent task first. I've found that when I get to that place where I'm so overwhelmed I can't think straight, it's easier to work on the smallest or easiest task first. The act of checking even one minor thing off my to-do list makes it easier to propel myself into action so I can complete the harder tasks.
I'm a big fan of delegating whenever possible. I naturally want to do everything myself. It's easier to just do things the way I want to have them done. Remind yourself that getting things done at all is better than having them done perfectly. Delegate whatever you can. If you are overwhelmed at home, put your kids to work. I'm a firm believer that we do our kids a disservice if we don't teach them the value of work while they are young.
Most of us have to-do lists. Keep a list of what you have gotten done during the day. I call this my have-done list. It's easy to get discouraged when your to-do list is still miles long at the end of the day. If you are being honest with yourself though, there's always going to be something left to do. Pay attention to the things that you have accomplished and you may find that you've done more than you thought you did.
I'm sure you've all been overwhelmed at one point or another. Most of you are probably a bit overwhelmed right now. So, what do you do to keep it together when you are overwhelmed?
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Busy Mommy Media. It has been republished here with permission.
Rachel is a former teacher and mother of 6 who knows what it is like to try (and fail) to do it all. As the managing editor of Busy Mommy Media, she works to simplify life for busy moms with realistic parenting tips, quick and easy recipes, simple organizational hacks and more.