an“I feel so overwhelmed! I have no idea how I’m going to get everything done that’s on my plate right now!” Sound familiar?
These days, you’re expected to be everything—working professional, caring parent, family organizer and planner, budget manager, cook, etc.
The mile-long to-do list can feel like it’s all too much. For many women, the weight of it all causes catastrophic thinking and stress, anxiety or even depression, mental health conditions that are often made worse when dealing with stress.
But you’re not alone in thinking there’s just way too much to do and not enough time to do it. Maintaining your mental health and finding techniques for daily stress management can be a real struggle in these times of extreme overwhelm.
But, what’s the solution?
Consider these five tips for overwhelmed women with competing demands.
1. Stop and Take a Deep Breath to reduce stress
First and foremost, you need to stop and take a deep breath. Imagine you’re hitting the pause button on your life with a magical remote control.
This is important because when you feel overwhelmed and are dealing with stress, it’s very hard to address the problems of competing demands and develop coping strategies when things get overwhelming. So, it’s critical to just stop for a moment.
Now, I’m not saying to “drop out” completely, but can you take a few hours just to relax? Taking this time for yourself can help you reset and even appreciate the little joys of life to reduce your stress level.
Additionally, practice some deep breathing exercises as this is a stress reduction technique that helps to reset your system. The idea is to simply take a moment to step back from the edge of dread.
2. Accept That You Can’t Do It All
Of course this is easier said than done. We’re taught in western society that we need to fulfill all these expectations.
Well, I want to tell you that it’s just not possible. There are simply not enough hours in the day to be everything to everyone.
And it’s okay not to be everything to everyone; it’s just not healthy to try to meet others’ expectations when you’re not even fulfilling your own basic needs. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge when you’re coping with stress, can’t do it all and need to give yourself permission to accept that.
3. Prioritize What’s Really Important to minimize stress
Consider, for a moment, what’s really important to you—your core values. Of course, your family and career are likely going to the top the list. But certainly, there’s more.
What about your health (including stress reduction techniques), or expanding your horizons with learning and personal growth? How about working on building resilience to tough emotions, so you’re ready to tackle the next thing with a clear head?
Make a list of four or five items that you know are really important for your happiness. Then start making adjustments so you can align your life to those priorities.
4. Ask for Help with stress and overwhelm
Even though it’s the 21st century there is still a stigma around women asking for help. Again, it has to do with meeting these notorious invisible standards that are held over us.
We are expected to gracefully (and easily) keep juggling all the balls in the air. Asking for help is seen as a weakness or even worse—failure. Plus, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything and be everything to everyone.
Here’s the thing, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s an acknowledgment of the reality of your situation. It’s wisdom.
Consider the potential sources for help in your life—your partner, friends, family, and/or community organizations. Sometimes government entities can provide help too.
5. Make a Plan for Moving Forward to curb stress
Now, think about your game plan. How will you move forward, safeguarding yourself from overwhelm and keeping your anxiety and worries under control?
Some ideas include:
- Use calendars and planning tools to stay abreast of deadlines and important dates.
- Break down things you need to do for each day.
- Keep to-do lists reasonable (less than ten items a day, if possible).
- Budget time for yourself, such as a morning run or a yoga session.
- Consider what you want to achieve both personally and professionally in the coming year.
- Know your limits with what you can and can’t do.
If you’re tired of juggling, it’s time to hit the brakes. Make a fresh start by using the above tips. Doing so will help you ward off that awful overwhelmed feeling, or worse anxiety and depression symptoms.
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However, if you’re still dealing with stress and struggling to keep up, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help from a therapist. At Blue Boat Counseling, we specialize in anxiety treatment, depression counseling and marriage therapy. If you decide you’re in need of a high quality counseling practice in the Columbus, OH area, please reach out and contact Blue Boat Counseling today. Our skilled mental health therapists offer online therapy to help you with stress reduction techniques, setting boundaries, and most importantly, working on how to be you.