I’ve heard it this week….I’ve heard it from clients and I’ve heard it from friends. I have even heard it in my own head. I’m overwhelmed… Yes, I’ve heard it and my heart is weary for you. Stop…take a seat and hear this. You are not alone. As women we have a lot on our plates. We love to take on so many good things, then there are roles, relationships, expectations, commitments. And in the end it all feels pretty overwhelming. You are not alone. So many other moms, grandmothers, and caregivers are out there today feeling like maybe what’s on their plate is more than they can manage.
And maybe what you have on your plate is more than you can manage or maybe it’s not but you have so much to think about you can’t even make a decision about it. What is causing stress for you right now? I’m going to ask you to:
Sit Down (by yourself in a quiet place…you think I’m joking, but I’m not)
Take a Step Back
When we are feeling so depleted and overwhelmed, the cause can be many things and there are a number of ways to help. The first one is know that you are not alone. There are others out there going through the same thing. It’s hard work being wife, mom, caregiver, friend, sister, and whatever other roles you are taking on. When you are feeling the overwhelm take note. Instead of pushing through take it as a sign something needs to change. Number one before you try to tackle the problem itself in whatever capacity needs help. Before you do that, stop and take time to care for yourself.
Have you heard the acronym, HALT, for when things just aren’t going right. It’s a check-in. Are you: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? When any of these things are occurring no matter what else is happening they contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed. All of these have their roots in needing to care for yourself.
Hungry: You’ve heard about being “hangry” whether we have a medical condition or not being hungry and putting off eating or eating something unhealthy because we are busy takes a toll on our body and on our mental state.
Angry: A negative emotion that is often a cover for another emotion needs to be delt with and can make everything else feel worse.
Lonely: When we are missing someone or feeling that we are deficient in social support we can’t take on the things we need to
Tired: Our body and mind need physical and emotional rest. When we don’t get rest we don’t have the resources to do the things we need to.
Did you know that when you are feeling so overwhelmed, one of the most important things you can do is take time for yourself? You know the analogy from flying that’s often used- put your own oxygen mask on before you help the person next to you. Well it’s true our instinct when we are overwhelmed, often, is to give more or solve the problem we are facing that is impacting our loved ones. Instead take a step back, take a break, and do something to take care of yourself. This can take a variety of forms like:sleep, a good talk with a friend, time to watch our favorite movie, a chance to take a hot bath, eating a healthy meal, doing an enjoyable activity,, or many other things. It’s not always our initial reaction to overwhelm or even our second line of defense. But the toll of stress on our lives can have significant impact on our health and taking the time to recognize our need for care can refuel us for the journey ahead.