To The Girl Who's Overwhelmed
Yesterday was one of those days.
You know, the ones where you wake up thinking you're gonna take on the world, and within 30 minutes of leaving your bed you swiftly realize your day is going to be more of the "survive" kind than the "thrive".
Here's a little context:
It's fall, and for us wedding photographer's fall is our crazy season. Between weddings, engagement sessions, emails, logistics, and the seemingly unending pile of photos to edit (I swear it could rival Everest at times), work is a lot right now.
I'm also a Mom, and I work from home. So while I'm working I'm also Mom-ing. This typically means that my work schedule is at the mercy of Beckley's nap schedule. When she is napping well (which is most days), I'm able to get a decent amount of work done. However, if it's a bad nap day, work becomes seemingly impossible. Cue stress and overwhelm.
Notice I haven't even mentioned house chores like laundry or cleaning yet. If you've been to my house within the last month, you know that both of these things are currently last on my priority list.
Yesterday was a bad nap day.
Yesterday ended up being a day where naps happened in 45 minute long stints, followed by an hour of crying and drooling, and then maybe another 30 minutes of sleep.
It was vicious. It was unpredictable. And it was almost impossible to get any work done.
It's usually on days like this that I end up sending Jackson spontaneous texts like,
"Sweet Jesus help me." or...
"I give up." or...
"Lord, have mercy." or my personal favorite...
"Why did I want this. I've been tricked."
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being a Mom, but some days it's just hard.
I share all of this to say that I know how it feels to be overwhelmed.
To feel like you're being hit on all sides.
To realize something has to give and being so frustrated about not being able to do it all.
To look around your surroundings and feel stressed by everything you see.
To feel like you need to hit something.
Or crawl in a hole and cry.
Or binge Netflix and eat wavy potato chips and a whole container of french onion dip.
I know how it feels. I've been there. I was there just yesterday, and I'll likely be there again. So if you're there right now, please know, you aren't alone.
While I'm not by any means a pro at battling overwhelm, I have picked up some tricks. Maybe they could help you like they've helped me.
01 | take deep breaths.
It's amazing how much some simple deep breathing can help. It sounds too easy, I know, but it really does help. The next time you feel your body tensing and the panic rising, sit down, stay still, and practice some deep breathing.
02 | say "3, 2, 1, go!"
I often find that when I feel overwhelmed I want to shut down. So for me, taking action is the best thing I can do to avoid this unhealthy reaction. I'll often say to myself (either in my head or out loud) "3, 2, 1, GO!" and then immediately start working on SOMETHING that needs to get done. Taking action prevents me from shutting down and letting the overwhelm win.
03 | KEEP YOUR TO-DO LIST SHORT.
This has been a life-changer for me! A woman I follow online, Angie Bellemare, suggests keeping your to-do list to only 3 items a day. I used to have lists of 10-15 things, and there was NO WAY I could get it all done in 1 day. No wonder I felt overwhelmed! When I keep my list limited to 3-4 things that are high priority, I know I'm able to accomplish them and I feel a lot less overwhelmed when looking at my to-do list.
04 | PRIORITIZE THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS.
This goes with the previous point, but prioritize what's really important and let the unnecessary tasks take a back seat. If your oven doesn't get cleaned tonight it's okay. Nobody is going to judge you for it!
05 | REMEMBER YOUR PRIORITIES.
Take some time to think about what is most important in this season of life. For me, it's faith, family, and a couple of work projects I have going on. So all of my tasks that I'm prioritizing are related to those 3 things. If I have a task that isn't related to one of those priorities, I don't prioritize it. I let that task take a back seat.
06 | WORK FROM SMALLEST TASK TO LARGEST.
Super practical tip here: do your smallest task first, and work up to your largest. You'll finish that small task quickly, be able to give yourself a pat on your back, and then feel so accomplished and ready to tackle the next one! Simple mind trick that helps so much with productivity and battling overwhelm. :)
07 | GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO REST.
👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Seriously. Give yourself time to rest. Keep your to-do list short, prioritize what's REALLY important, and then take time to let yourself unwind and not always be in "go mode" all the time. You need rest, friend. Let your body be still for a while.
On a less practical note, I want to give you some simple encouragement if you're currently feeling overwhelmed.
It's okay. It's normal. Being overwhelmed doesn't make you "less than" or a "bad person" or "weak". We all have those moments, and it's okay.
What's important is that you come up with a plan to change your situation. I always say don't bother complaining about something if you aren't willing to take action to change it. If you're feeling overwhelmed, you have the ability to change that. It might not feel like it in the moment (trust me, I know), but you can.
Take it one step at a time, give yourself some space if needed, and then come up with a plan and take action to beat the overwhelm and gain control of your life again.
Cheering you on, friend!