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Oy. The overwhelm. I mean, w
Today is the day of questioning everything because I have hit the wall of massive overwhelm. I am stretched too thin and my cup is empty. So I keep asking myself ‘why?’ and it sucks. You see, I could be Peggy Bundy and it would be fine. I do not HAVE to work (aside from for my own personal well-being) and I do not HAVE to be a member of pretty much all groups or do the things I do, and because of that, I have a really hard time asking for help since I ‘did it to myself’. So I get overwhelmed.
Why am I overwhelemed today?
I signed my kid up for soccer. That’s it! I added one practice and one game to our weekly schedule, starting next month, and it has me scrambling. Granted my kid is not your typical kid, so I have to factor in the time for tantrums, pep talks, and 100% vigilance while he’s participating lest something goes wrong. So, yes, it is stressful even though it’s only technically 2 hours a week.
Anywho, I digress. Adding in this one little thing has me all worked up. I am barely keeping my head above water as is, and I am constantly ‘failing’ at keeping up with all my classes, groups, and business goals. The house isn’t as clean as I’d like, I’m not calling my loved ones as often as I want to (you know who you are!), my running game has suffered and I have a 10k coming up. I am physically exhausted. My shoulders are practically stapled to my ears because I am so tense.
Here’s the thing though, I know I am not alone. We, especially women, assume we’re supposed to be able to do it all without batting an eye. News flash: we can’t. We physically cannot do it all, something somewhere will suffer. Maybe it’s our marriage, our health, our friendships, or our sense of self. But something ALWAYS gives. And right now, I am battling because if all of this STUFF that I am doing is important enough for me to keep doing it… something’s gotta give. Even though I want nothing to give. If you’re reading this you might know EXACTLY how I feel right now.
Well, typically my ‘why’ is to become my best self, be a great mom to my kids, show how hard work pays off, and to help lead others along the path of true self acceptance and to THEIR best self. But not today. Today my why is BECAUSE I CAN AND SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS ME TO.
If I quit it all, it would do nothing but free up time in my life. But if I don’t quit… someone somewhere will be inspired. If one single person goes for an extra run because the ‘crazy type 1 diabetic can run a half marathon‘, or someone cooks a healthier meal because ‘If she can do it on her worst day so can I’, or someone decides to make the life-changing decision to add Juice Plus to their diet because ‘ that internet chick won’t shut up about it’, or someone signs up for therapy simply because they see themselves in me today… then it was all worth it. Today my ‘why’ has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you.
I write this for the stay at home mom who is about to lose it. To the working mom who just wants to be with her kids but has to work late AGAIN, for the woman who is at her wits end trying to keep up with the simple every day tasks that are never freakin’ over, and to the entrepreneur who is feeling solidly stuck and thinking about quitting. I see you, I feel you, and I won’t quit if you don’t.
Ok, so we’re not quitting because of the overwhelm. But what now? It’s one of my pet peeves to get all motivated or worked up but then be left with no action plan. So I refuse to do that here. This plan is for me, and maybe it’ll help you too. The only goal of this plan is to get out of
Make a list
Literally list every single thing you can think of that is adding to your overwhelm. Dump all that shit out on that innocent piece of paper or computer screen. Just get it ALL out, no matter how ridiculous it is. If it’s taking up space in your ‘whelm’ write it down. For example, I have ‘schedule dogs’ teeth cleaning’ on mine. That shit won’t happen for MONTHS but it is contributing to my overwhelm, so on the list it goes.
I do this because in general just seeing the list usually brings some sort of relief because it’s almost always smaller than I think it will be. Plus it makes it easier to delegate. Oh, Husband! Get ready to call the Vet!
Create a punch list
From your overall list of mental vomit, create a list of items that are pressing, must do’s, or time sensitive. Then evaluate it. Do you have to do ALL of it? Can any be delegated? Are they all necessary? On my
Add fluff to your punch list
I know this will sound weird, but add gimme’s to you punch list. Things like ‘take a shower’ or ‘eat lunch’. Things you are probably going to do anyway, but you get the benefit of crossing them off your list. Believe me, the action of crossing things off a list is sort of like training your overwhelm to sit the fuck down already because you are a task mastering BADASS.
No joke, I had ‘get mail’, ‘shower’, and ‘eat lunch’ on my list today because the overwhelm was so bad. (See above for the tone I had when I first started this post vs. now post gimme items.) I view these items as a warm-up for the stuff that really needs to get done. Like testing the water before I jump in, or reminding yourself that it’s all just muscle memory once you get going.
Schedule some downtime
Tomorrow my punch list is MUCH smaller than it is today. My verbal vomit list will still be there, but I will have accomplished enough today that tomorrow I can sit down and watch a show while my kids are at school. I’m looking forward to that like a hyena looks forward to a lion’s leftovers. It’s motivating to me because I know that when my butt hits that couch tomorrow I will not feel so overwhelmed, I have a plan, and I will have taken action already. I could have easily
Let some stuff go
Today is not the day to do crafts with my kids. Or even play with them
Find a trigger
What helps you shift into GetShitDone mode? For some people, it’s music, a mantra, or a nap. For me, it’s coffee. The hot mug, the taste, the smell… everything about it brings me to get into action mode. As I write this I am doing Shred10, which usually requires me to give up caffeine. I won’t lie, I never do, but I WILL cut back to one cup per day. Today, I have had three. Regardless of how you feel about coffee, for me, it calms and centers me. Just having a cup nearby helps me focus. So today, I drink coffee.
How’s the whelm now?
Now, 5 hours after starting this article (And completing the action steps above), my overwhelm is working its way back to just ‘whelm’. I don’t want to quit anymore. In fact, I’m sort of fired up! I have conquered my punch list for the day, I have one for tomorrow (THAT INCLUDES SITTING ON MY ASS THANKYOUVERYMUCH), and I’m starting to feel my ‘why’ shift back to its usual state. Sorrynotsorry, it’s not about you anymore friends. I am now back to solidly having it be about me. And I hope you are too! Well having your why be about YOU…. not me. That’d be awkward.