After developing a list of 5 practical tips to beat overwhelm every woman needs, I saw this phrase in an article I read recently: “Welcome to overwhelmia, my new normal.” It provided a much needed chuckle, but afterwards brought a knowing smile to my lips. Sad to say, but most women today live in “overwhelmia”. As a new entrepreneur endeavoring to help women navigate the tough times with grace, I knew how invaluable practical advice can be.
Whether you are a working mom, single career woman, or empty-nester, overwhelm seems to be a way of life. I wrote about why we do not need live in a state of overwhelm previously, including some tips on managing our minds. This is a necessary foundation for beating overwhelm, but the key component remains integrating this into your daily routine. My list of 5 practical tips to beat overwhelm every woman needs, will get you moving in the right direction.
doing it all leads to overwhelm
No matter what season of life you may be travelling through, please hear me, “You do not have to do it all.” For some reason that message seems to permeate everything “women-related” from body image and clothes to being a supermom and/or successful career woman. I’m not sure where this lie started, but trust me, it’s a lie; not only that, it’s humanly impossible. Yes, you heard me right, it can’t be done. Don’t believe the media hype or what you “see” of your co-worker or neighbor. Things are not always what they seem, and the cost of putting on that show is higher than you want to pay.
Believing the lie that you have to do it all, or trying to live up to an impossible standard will suffocate you with overwhelm every time. Additionally, it sucks the life out of you and destroys your passion for the things that are meaningful to you. You become unable to see your true priorities and while trying to “do it all” you actually do nothing well.
“Multi-tasking is an illusion. You think you are multi-tasking, but in reality you’re actually wasting time switching from one task to another.”Bosco Tjan
Multi-tasking leads to overwhelm
Again, I’m not sure where this started, but, I think “once upon a time”, a little gremlin started the lie that multi-tasking leads to increased productivity AND makes you look really important. Recent studies show that couldn’t be further from the truth. The cold hard facts indicate multi tasking increases the incidence of mistakes 40%, tasks take 50% longer to complete and the ability to focus is a thing of the past. A fast look in the mirror would indicate we’re not looking so important after all.
Break the multi tasking habit by doing one thing at a time, well. You will notice how much faster things get done with much less stress and overwhelm, when you focus on one task at a time.
5 Practical Tips to beat overwhelm every woman needs
Are you weary of the juggling act and ready for a change? I have compiled a list of practical tips to help you beat chronic overwhelm in your life. But I would encourage you to spend the time needed to explore poor thought habits that may be contributing to your overwhelm. You can find guidance in this article as well as my FREE Calming Techniques Guide both in that article and at the end of this one. Incorporating these tips into your life will only bring temporary relief if you don’t deal with root issues.
1. Recognize You’re Overwhelmed
Ok, this may seem obvious, you are here because you know you need help with overwhelm. BUT do you know how you got here? Learn to recognize the triggers that lead to overwhelm for you, so you can avoid it. Asking a few questions can help you pinpoint recurring problems.
- What specifically happened to trigger my feelings of overwhelm?
- Are these feelings the result of something I did, failed to do or based on my perspective?
- Are other people involved? How did they contribute to my overwhelm?
- Is there a repetitive underlying cause that triggers overwhelm for me?
2. Review and Set Priorities
I find this particular tip to be the one that trips up most people. Like goal setting, few want to take the time to sort this out. However, it is crucial if you want to beat overwhelm! Without priorities you have little direction for your day; you get caught up focusing on urgent things and ignoring the important things. When you ignore the important things, they become urgent in the future and things pile up resulting in overwhelm.
- Make a list of everything you need to do; from small daily things to larger events and things you may only do once a month (like pay bills).
- Break this list down into smaller lists, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. List “one-time” special events (birthdays, weddings, holidays, etc.) on a separate list.
- Take the daily list first and prioritize what must be done. Distinguish between “must do” and “should do” tasks. Is there anything that can move to weekly rather than daily? Determine if a task can be delegated to your spouse or another “helper”. Remove all “should do” tasks to a separate list for later review.
- Take the weekly list next. Prioritize which days the tasks need completed. Distinguish between “must do” and “should do” tasks. Can anything move to the monthly list? Determine if a task can be delegated to your spouse or another “helper”. Remove all “should do” tasks to a separate list for later review.
- Take the monthly list next and repeat the same process you used for daily and weekly lists, prioritizing this list.
- Last go back over the “should do” tasks. Can any of these be eliminated completely? For any that remain, prioritize the list. You can now choose from this list as time allows when all “must do” tasks are completed.
- For the special events lists, prioritize tasks for each event, delegate and integrate into your daily or weekly lists according to the timeline for that event.
3. Plan Ahead
This is huge for those that tend more towards overwhelm. Planning does take time, but in the long run saves time, effort and stress.
- Meal planning; find a method that works for you. Plan for the week or the month, but taking the time to do this will beat the “what’s for dinner” overwhelm. Keep it simple, pick things that you make well, plan 5 nights, count on leftovers the other two nights. You could even keep the same menu every week.
- Make a grocery list. If you do meal planning, it will also make grocery shopping a breeze and save you money. Keep the list in a visible place for everyone, as soon as things run out they can be added to the list.
- If you work outside the home, Sunday night, pick out five outfits for the week.
- Plan breakfasts and lunches and have healthy snacks on hand whether you stay at home or work away from home.
- Prep packed lunches ahead of time, older kids can help with this.
- Prep ahead as much as possible for meals and store in fridge and freezer.
4. Schedule “Me” Time
This is something we all know is valuable, but it rarely gets on the “list” of things we prioritize to do. This is absolutely essential to your well-being and success in anything you do. Trust me, your spouse, kids family and co-workers will thank you.
- Discuss and strategize with your spouse how to make this happen. Even if you don’t have children, being on the same page about this makes a big difference and you help each other make it a priority.
- Pick one night each week for your “Me Time”. For those with children, plan one night for each spouse to have a specific time to him or herself. Whether the entire evening or just an hour or so. Be consistent and make this “non-negotiable”.
- You can use this time in any way you choose, but pick something that “recharges” you. maybe a walk, listening to music, reading, or a hot bath.
- Exercise! Aside from your weekly scheduled “Me Time” try to incorporate 30 minutes of exercise daily.
5. Establish Regular Routines
Have a flexible daily routine. This will look different depending on your situation, and doesn’t need “set in stone”, just something so everyone knows what is expected. This is especially helpful for working moms as evenings can be so chaotic. Even if you don’t have children, a routine brings calmness and a level of predictability to your days which fends off overwhelm.
- Plan ahead for TV time, homework, dinner together and free time.
- Incorporate your kids into your nightly hygiene rituals. This is great bonding time for moms/daughters and dads/sons. Toddlers can simply play on the floor, but they learn plenty when you think they’re not watching!
- Brush/floss teeth, brush hair, facial cleanse, moisturize body & face, with little ones. Mom & Dad will be an example of good hygiene and it’s fun time together that would normally be lost.
- Plan down time to read individually or together, or other quiet activity
- Make sure backpacks are ready at the door, lunches prepped and clothes set out for the next day.
- Have everyone participate in cleaning up clutter and putting things away in all common areas. Clutter is a known trigger for overwhelm, plus how nice to start each day without it!
Taking the time to implement these 5 practical tips to beat overwhelm, every woman needs, will help you create space in your days. Recognizing you’re overwhelmed is a big first step to taming your time. Learning to prioritize and “single” task instead of multi tasking, not only calms overwhelm, but saves time! Once you practice, planning ahead and having flexible routines will be a comfort you won’t want to do without. These are my personal favorites because they limit everyone questioning me about what’s next or when something is going to happen. Of course making “Me Time” non-negotiable, will allow you to recharge and nourish your mind, body and spirit so you can continue to care for others.
Another tool that you won’t want to be without is my Calming Techniques Guide. It contains some excellent techniques for anxiety reduction and it’s my gift to you! Sign up below!