I’m sure I’m not the only mum who sometimes feels completely overwhelmed. Who sometime struggles to balance work with family. It’s one of the biggest challenges faced by the women I work with, whether they’ve just started in business or they’ve been running their business for 10 years.
What happens when you feel overwhelmed?
It doesn’t matter whether you are a working mum, a stay-at-home mum or a mum running her own business. I am pretty sure that as a woman and a mother, you experience periods of overwhelm. Perhaps you feel so overwhelmed that you just don’t know how to cope. Do you worry that it affects your creativity? Do you notice an impact on your decision-making? Are you conscious that your performance is affected? Do you lose the joy and fun? How does it influence your overall quality and enjoyment of life?
Often when we feel overwhelmed, we feel stuck and just don’t know how to get moving again. We lose clarity and focus.
According to the Deloitte 2014 Human Capital Trends Study, the overwhelmed employee is one of the corporate world’s biggest challenges. It’s hardly surprising. Even the simple things in life, like buying milk, overwhelms us with choice. I searched for milk at Sainsburys online – guess what, 130 options: skimmed, semi, full-fat, goat, soya, almond … You name it.
The thing is, when you are overwhelmed with choice, it can be difficult to make a decision.
The technology that we have in our every day life is fantastic. But now we are dealing with a flood of information, text messages, tweets, emails, meetings, and conference calls every day. How many times a day do you check your mobile phone?
We have become the burn-out’ generation.
Give yourself permission to feel overwhelm
Given our modern society, it’s hardly surprising that at times we feel overwhelmed. It’s difficult to avoid.
However if you can identify when you are feeling overwhelmed and accept that is what is happening. Acceptance is part of the strategy to cope. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to like it. What is important is to acknowledge the overwhelm, find ways to cope, and give yourself recovery times.
It is when we put our body under constant stress, relentless overwhelm, and persistent crisis mode, that we burn out and get ill.
Do you know when you are feeling overwhelm?
Do you know when you are feeling overwhelmed? For some of us, it’s a physical sensation in our body. You might notice you’re getting snappy with the kids. Maybe you start biting your nails. Perhaps somebody else comments that you are being terse and short in your emails.
Recognise your overwhelm triggers
Try to recognise your overwhelm triggers. Is it when the children are off school and you’re still trying to manage client work? Is it when you have relatives visiting? Is it during certain projects at work? Is it specific situations? How can you avoid these triggers?
Identify coping strategies that work for you
Finally it’s important to identify overwhelm coping strategies that work for you. The strategies that will help you feel better. Maybe you can’t stop the relentless email into your Inbox, however there will be things you can do to build in your own personal recovery time – for example a walk in the woods; going to the gym; a long soak in the bath; watching TV. The interview with Julia Harris in The Confident Mother explores this whole topic in more detail with practical strategies that are effective. Julia’s lucky enough to live near the beach and that is her favourite coping strategy.
In conclusion, give yourself permission to feel overwhelm. None of us are supermum. What is important is to know and accept when you are feeling overwhelm. Recognise the overwhelm triggers so that you can avoid them, if possible. Finally find coping strategies that work for you.
If you like this, perhaps you’ll like my action sheet which shares other practical ways to deal with overwhelm so you can get more done.