By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood and life in general? If you do, you’re not alone, as I sometimes struggle with those feelings too. Now some may say that, as a 4x certified coach who helps my clients work through overwhelmed thought processes (amongst other obstacles), shouldn't I know better? Maybe, but it is also true that I am a divine being having a human experience. While my training and certifications don’t exempt me from my humanity, they do provide me with the tools that I need to move forward. All of this to say: I am in the trenches with you, mama. A couple of strategies that I use to help me navigate through overwhelm are (1) exercising self-compassion and (2) changing the way that I think about different situations (aka reframing). Instead of coming down on myself, I view those moments as learning opportunities, because I am a student of life who is mindful of the natural ebb and flow of life. So, when I feel overwhelmed, I use it as an opportunity to check in with myself and ask, “what is the message I need to receive? What area of my life needs to be realigned?”
As mothers, wives/partners, career people, business owners, students, and more; how do we do it all? How do we manage everything happening in our lives, especially when we have competing priorities? We have endless responsibilities that can include everything from taking care of ourselves and all that entails (like eating well, sleeping well, moving our bodies, managing stress levels); to taking care of our children, making nutritious meals for our families when everyone has various preferences and nutritional needs, keeping a clean home, meeting job deadlines, building careers / businesses, staying on top of all our appointments, being active in our communities, making time for hobbies and personal development, being present for our spouses, friends, and loved ones (the list goes on…), but how do we do all those things while maintaining our sanity?
Here’s my secret - in short, the answer is: we don’t. Well, I don’t; at least not all at once and surely, not by myself. For the “go big or go home people”, please have a seat and hear me out for a second, (and know that I am one of you). In various other blogs, I have shared the importance of tapping into community and asking for help without shame or guilt; and have especially covered the latter point. In this blog, I’ll touch upon the former point.
Reflecting on conversations I have been having lately with my naturopathic doctor, massage therapist, and psychotherapist, I have found a common theme: me feeling overwhelmed by being pulled in various directions and in some cases, feeling like I’ve dropped the ball. I got curious about this feeling (another reframe incoming) and instead of viewing this as a failure, I viewed it as feedback. “What if sometimes the many balls that we are juggling need to be dropped in order for us to re-evaluate what our actual priorities are?”
Another mindset shift that has helped me is releasing the thought that I needed to live a balanced life, and instead, I’ve focussed on moving towards living a harmonious one. According to Merriam Webster, balance is defined as: “stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis.” A common image that comes to mind is that of the perfectly balanced scales of justice that we often see. In theory, that looks appealing, but how applicable is this to our everyday lives? Trying to pour into every area of my life simultaneously left me feeling burnt out, stressed out, anxious, and overwhelmed. On the other hand, harmony is defined as a: “pleasing arrangement of parts, an agreement, an accord, or an internal calm: tranquility.” This definition resonates with me more because it feels better. I get to choose what that “pleasing arrangement” is and which agreements need to be made based on the specific needs of my family and I (which has resulted in increased feelings of peace) – I invite you to do the same.
In practice, this may look like: coming to terms with the fact that you won’t be able to give every area of your life 100% all the time and this is okay! In fact, it should be welcomed and normalized.
Breathe, deeply. Step back to re-evaluate. Take a few minutes to sit in silence, be still, and be open to receiving the response(s).
Gentle reminder: Priorities can and do shift! Embrace this, and allow yourself to adjust accordingly.
You are doing a wonderful job, Mama - keep going, you got this!
Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Certified Transformational Coach | Wholesome Mind Health Coaching