Overwhelm is something that many of us are all too familiar with these days.
We live in a world of never-ending to-do lists and we’ve grown accustomed to the notion that we have to do ‘all the things, all the time’.
We work, we take care of our families, we manage our homes, we schedule and plan and organise and remember everything - for everyone.
And we’re largely doing it alone. In Britain today, the majority of people live over 100 miles away from their family and where they were born. That’s a huge change from 50 years ago, when most people moved no further than 5.
It takes a village to raise a child? Well, society’s changed and the villagers have gone.
Added to this, our children are busier than they were a generation ago, their daily schedules filled with hours of homework and structured activities.
It’s no wonder that we’re habitually overwhelmed.
The mental load is huge and it’s exhausting!
Then, life throws a spanner in the works. We get sick; one of the children is sick, there’s a work emergency, the car breaks down or there’s a huge unexpected bill ……….
The straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The good news is that it really doesn’t have to be that way.
Whilst you might not be able to make yourself ‘less busy’ or prevent unmitigated disasters, there are a few practical ways to deal with day-to-day overwhelm.
Hopefully, if you’re not totally overwhelmed, you’ll find it easier to cope when life throws you a curveball.
I love physical journals, diaries and planners, but apps like Trello are good too.
Try and make your daily plans the night before, to get yourself off to a good start.
Carefully prioritise things into what needs doing, today, this week and this month.
Tick off what you can and be prepared to carry things over.
It really isn’t possible to do ‘all the things, all the time, all by yourself’.
Anyone who says it is, is probably doing less, with a lot more help or with some other advantage that you haven’t seen.
You’ll find that you make a lot more progress if you pick one thing to do at a time and focus on doing it well.
It’s even worse if I start off in the wrong frame of mind.
Try to recognise when you’re struggling. Set a sensible amount of time to spend on one task, then move on.
I’m going to avoid saying “Find a hobby” - way too much commitment.
Instead, make a list of small, enjoyable or creative activities that you wantto do, rather than have to do. Things that you can dip in and out of. Maybe a list of things you’ve always wanted to learn (there are a plethora of online resources), or even magazines you never seem to have time to read.
If you don’t know where to start, head to Instagram and search for people using hashtags.
Looking for women running their own businesses? Try #fempreneur or #staybossyladies , Mothers? #ohheymama or #childhoodunplugged . Creative? #meetthemaker or #handmadecurator. Looking for people local to you? Search under your local area name. Also remember to check out seasonal, or topical hashtags, like #blossomwatch, #StayHomeStaySafe or #IsolationChronicles
It’s so hard when you feel like you’re being left behind and it often feels like everyone else is doing things better and progressing faster.
Social media creates this illusion that we all have this whole life-thing sorted, but stop a second and check yourself.
You’re being shown a snapshot of what people want you to see. Chances are, you do it too! You’ve just never thought about it that way before. Nobody’s ‘that’ perfect.
A lot the time we can pretty mean to ourselves. We’re unsympathetic and we expect way more than we would from anybody else.
Here’s how it usually goes…..
In reality, we’re all just trying to muddle through and as long as we’re doing our best…..
Then we really can’t ask any more.
Lucille is based in Suffolk UK and has been a jewellery designer and writer for 14 years.
She’s the founder of Sophia Alexander Jewellery, creating modern family heirlooms and luxury personalised jewellery using real fingerprint, handprint and footprint impressions in 9ct gold, 18ct gold, ethically mined fairtrade gold and silver.
She’s also a Mummy of five, a full-time home-school Mummy to one with multiple anaphylactic allergies and she’s lived with a life-long chronic pain condition for 20 years.
- And she knows a thing or two about overwhelm.
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