This week the High Five Moms are sharing tips for keeping that overwhelmed feeling at bay.
I am not an expert, but I’m learning. This post is as much for me as it is for you! I’m quite talented at taking on too much.
The following is what I’ve learned (or am currently learning). I’d love to hear your tips too.
Streamline your home and life
Excess clutter – I feel overwhelmed just looking at it! Seeing some free space helps me breathe more deeply and think more clearly. When getting a towel causes an avalanche, I feel frustrated! When things are hard to find or lost, the level of exasperation sky rockets. Keeping clutter to a minimum help us be more productive and peaceful (I’ll admit to being a work in progress though!)
Practice saying No.
What are the true priorities of your life? What do you want to look back and see? Whatever these things are, they will only come to be through intentional effort. This requires us to say no. Sometimes to good things.
It’s important to remember we only have 24 hours a day. And some of that times needs to be spent sleeping!
As someone who has spent many days running from one thing to another (without ever leaving the house), I know how hard it is to let things go. I’m trying hard to remember that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. Not that we can’t say yes, of course. It’s just important to look at our options realistically. And while we‘re doing that, let’s also remember that so many things seems to take longer than we’d expect! (This is true for me anyway.)
Once you’ve streamlined as much as possible, slow down and enjoy the tasks you are involved in. Life is not a race. Breathe. Experience. Soak.
I’m striving to trade rushing around from one thing to another while stuffing chocolate in my mouth (in an effort to appease my stress), for doing less and really taking the time to do those things well and with true enjoyment.
Oh, and I’m serious about the breathing. Just stop and take a deep breathe once in a while. Stretch your arms over your head, then stretch them back down to your sides, reaching your arms wide as you go down, as if you are drawing on the walls. It really helps. (Hopefully that makes sense and doesn’t just sound like craziness).
Women are known for their multitasking ability. Really, it’s a gift.
But sometimes we don’t know when to say when!
Here, let me give a few examples of some good multitasking and some, not-so-good:
Folding laundry while talking on the phone = good.
Watching a move while folding laundry = good.
Talking on the phone while preparing a new recipe = not-so-good.
Talking on the phone while preparing a recipe with a toddler as your assistant = not-so-good.
Assisting with a math lesson while trying to write a blog post = bad.
Trying to do P90X and make dinner at the same time = bad.
Reading the Bible while cooking dinner = bad. (You end up with a burned Bible cover. Ahem.)
Curling your hair while cooking dinner = bad. (Not that I would ever do that. Cough. Cough. That’s gross. In my defense I was leaning really far away from the dinner while curling my hair! If I eber did such a thing, that is.)
Trying to do too many things at once, or trying to do incompatible things at once, make life more difficult. Neither task is completed with much success and the act of rushing between things in this way tends build up that overwhelmed feeling.
Lately I’m attempting to focus on one task at a time and give it my all. I’ve found my jobs get done faster and with better results than when I’m trying to do ten things at once.
(That said, I’m still planning to dye my hair and paint a door with chalkboard paint this week!)
Don’t do everything yourself.
Train, train, train. Then: delegate, delegate, delegate.
A while ago I noticed myself feeling extremely tired and overwhelmed. There was just too much to do and that didn’t include any extra things. Just necessary things.
As I unloaded the dishwasher, I thought, “Why am I doing this when I have a perfectly capable child who can easily do this job?” There really was no reason.
I’m working on getting my little guy to unload the dishwasher regularly. But I think I need to be trained to allow him to do it just as much as he needed to be trained to do it!
Teaching our children to work takes some time, but boy are the benefits worth it!
Before long I’ll be able to do P90X, curl my hair, and read the Bible while someone else makes dinner! (Snicker.)
Don’t expect perfection.
A good life with children at home means there will be messes and interruptions.
Be realistic and enjoy the craziness for what it is. Stay focused on the true blessings and accomplishments of the day. Loving and caring for your children is a high and noble task. Be pleased with the books you’ve read, the hundreds of questions you’ve answered, and the times you’ve kept your cool when you wanted to lose it (or the times you said sorry when your cool was lost).
Plan and Prepare Ahead
Because this post has already grown to mammoth proportions, I won’t say much about this. I think you all know how much smoother the week goes when you know what is coming up and are ready for it.
Checking the calendar at night and first thing in the morning, laying out clothes the night before, thawing the meat for dinner, making a menu plan, and so on, are all excellent ways to keep from being overwhelmed. In fact, I think this point deserves a post of it’s own . . . (Coming soon).
Remember that God knows your heart. He knows the details of each day. He knows what you need. Ask Him for help.
Also keep in mind that He has already taken care of the big stuff (a way to get to heaven!).
Visit the other High Five Moms:
This post is linked to Raising Homemakers.