Lately, I have been stuck in a prison of my own creation. For the past two months, I have been so overwhelmed by life that it has been difficult to stop my mind from racing. I tend to do this to myself in three-year cycles. This time has felt the most difficult. We tend to schedule ourselves within an inch of our lives because we moms are so good at juggling. All these tasks don’t begin to consider the other pieces of our lives that require daily attention. When we get behind on the basics, it begins to feel very overwhelming. Therefore the question is, how do we get out of it?
Biting Off More than you Can Chew
Taking on too many tasks can happen in an instant. It only takes one small life change to send you spinning. I already had a full calendar. First, our time for dentist, eye doctor, and other health appointments had come up again, in addition to recent ones that require driving to Denver. Then the start of the school year. I had taken on the role of PTA president for a new elementary school. Plus I was focused on the other non-profit I had started. Lastly, I had an article due for the COS Mom Collective. I was already stretched a bit too thin. Then my husband informed me that he would be gone for work for three weeks. At that point, something had to give.
Lists Upon Lists Upon Lists
I track everything in my calendar on my phone. I alert myself to simple, mundane tasks so that I won’t forget. Usually, it’s enough. When life gets to be too much, it’s not. I was finding myself unable to concentrate. My mind was constantly thinking about the next thing. Planning drive times and overthinking every task became so commonplace that I couldn’t sleep. I needed to come up with a solution to my racing mind. The answer came in the form of making lists. I had handwritten lists, lists on the computer, post-it notes all over the place. Every time my thoughts started to overwhelm me; I wrote them down. Getting them out of my head helped in a massive way.
Asking For Help
A very common theme I hear from moms is that they have a hard time asking for help. We are so conditioned to feel ashamed needing help that oftentimes, we would rather struggle alone. I got to the point where I had to ask for help from a neighbor and friend. She was more than happy to help, and it was such a weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s important to think about how we would respond if someone asked us for help. I’m sure that everyone reading this would be happy to oblige and there would be no judgment. It takes a village, after all.
Realizing It is Just Too Much
Even with list-making and asking for help, the number of tasks I had to accomplish became too great. I had to do some soul searching and figure out what I could put on pause. Once I came to a decision, it seemed easier to breathe. I knew that I had to take a hiatus from writing for COS Mom Collective. I reached out and everyone was incredibly understanding. It’s just one more example about how asking for something that we need is usually the right thing to do.
Getting Used to the Pace
Life is still busy, but at least now my husband is back in town and school is going well. The craziness has subsided. We’ve made it to all our annual appointments with only our new appointments and some occasional Denver drives on the horizon. Our first PTA event has come and gone. We are all getting back into the swing of things and adjusting accordingly. Being overtasked and overwhelmed can happen quickly. Knowing how to manage life when it does is key to not only surviving, but also thriving.