Being a parent can be overwhelming at times and so can long term illness. In dealing with them simultaneously, it has enabled me to narrow down some top tips for when it comes to feeling overwhelmed.
- Stop! Take a deep breath and centre yourself. Keep breathing – calmly focus on your breathe. Focusing on your breath naturally lowers stress levels, distracts you from your thoughts and helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Sleep is key. Whether it’s a good nights sleep, a power nap or a well earned lay in. You must listen to your body and what it needs. Establishing a healthy night-time routine, including a specific time to turn off gadgets and a time to be in bed and ready to rest, are extremely beneficial. This enables your mind to re-programme itself, your body will naturally follow – if you stick to it.
- Turn off your phone notifications. Whatever has overwhelmed you, will be exacerbated my the constant “PING” of notifications. If you need to use your phone for emergencies then it is still there with you, but take some time out if you can.
- Allow yourself to clear your mind by taking your calm breaths. Make a mental or physical note of what is overwhelming you. Is this something you can control? If your answer is Yes, gradually start taking ownership of the situation, one step at a time. Do not be afraid to ask for help. If your answer is No, continue your deep breathing -in and out. Once you feel centred and ready, firmly inhale and tell yourself “It is what it is, nothing I do can alter this. What will be, will be.” Finish, by firmly exhaling and gently rolling your shoulders back. Allow that roll to continue to flow down your body towards your feet.
- Me Time. Everyone needs time out from life now and again. When you have young children that can be hard to come by. Make sure your little ones are on a nap schedule, so you can make the most out of that quite time. Some people pop out to smoke a cigarette, others meditate or drink a hot cup of tea – without having to share their biscuits. Whilst others, simply enjoy 5 minutes peace – to be able to pee privately without a toddler bursting in!
- Meal times can be hectic and rushed. You have the adults coming and going from work or the gym and the smaller children getting ready for bed or sometimes playing with friends, over for tea. Then you have the older children coming in at different times from various extracurricular activities. Being unable to stand for long, means I find cooking fresh every day, a real struggle. I don’t even realise that I’m panicking about it, until it is literally due, hot on the table! To overcome this overwhelming scenario, I dedicate one afternoon a week to batch cooking. My family can now eat delicious, home cooked meals, even if I am too unwell to cook that evening and regardless of who gets in at what time. I’ve also found that batch cooking works if you’re also on a tighter budget.
- Having no get up and go, can make you feel; low, depressed or even overwhelmed. To stop all those little jobs piling up and becoming a mountain you need to tackle, I strongly advise planning ahead. I have a notepad on the fridge, every time someone throws an empty item away, all they have to do is write it on the pad – one complete shopping list, with little to no effort and everyone contributes! With washing, I bought laundry bins and labelled them “Darks, White, Colours, Towels“. Every day, I tackle one load, from one bin. The pre-organisation takes all the hassle and stress out of laundry.
Ultimately, we all go through points in our lives where our emotions get the better of us. These tips aren’t here to necessarily solve your problems, but they may help alleviate some stress along the way.
However, if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed by your emotions or current mental state, then please seek help. You can speak to a trusted friend, your GP or school/college/university nurse. You can contact a free counselling service in your area or ring the Samaritans.