I often feel like life gets the better of me, and I don’t know where to begin to get things back in order. Everywhere I turn, I just see more and more things requiring my attention:
- The kitchen is chaos
- The washing has piled up and I’m running out of clean underwear
- The lounge is covered in toys, puzzle pieces and books
- My personal email has 150 unopened but semi-important or interesting emails waiting for me
- The fridge is empty and there’s nothing for dinner
- I’m behind on my study
- Colleagues from work are texting wondering if you could just quickly do something from home
- The dog is in desperate need of a walk and is barking and bouncing all over the place
- And lastly, my little darling daughter is trying to grab my hand so that she can lead me into her bedroom to play!
Perhaps this is a normal day for you? Over time, these feelings of overwhelm can pile up to chronic low grade stress, or even depression or anxiety. So what do you do when you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and only you can do it?
Dance your blues away
Personally, I can’t calm my mind until the house is somewhat tidy, so I generally start with a big clear up. But to make it fun for me and bub, I play some dance tunes or 90s RnB so that I can dance around the house whilst being productive.
Go for a slow walk
Get outside, but take your time to mindfully walk with your little one. This will not only clear your mind, but satisfy your baby’s desire to connect with nature.
Diffuse some essential oils
Aromatherapy has proven to be one of the fastest ways to improve your mood. I find that having a calming blend on throughout the day keeps me and my bub feeling relaxed. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can place one drop into your palm and rub your hands together and then cup around your face whilst taking a big deep breath.
Keep up your magnesium intake
Magnesium is an essential macro-nutrient that acts as both a muscle relaxant and a relaxant for the central nervous system. When we are in a state of stress or overwhelm, we use up our magnesium stores much more quickly. Increasing your intake of magnesium is not as simple as a dietary change as it is poorly absorbed through food. I recommend investigating a magnesium supplement, epsom salt bath or a magnesium oil.
Use nap time to relax
The most generous gift I gave myself whilst on maternity leave was the rule that I would not do any house work whilst bub was asleep. She was a light sleeper anyway, so if I tried to do the dishes, I’d just wake her up anyway. Now that she’s older, her naps are much deeper and I could get away with a bit more noise, but I rely upon this relaxation time to find my centre and return to calm.
Apart from hanging out a load of washing that may finish while she’s napping, I won’t do any house work. And I try not to get sucked into the blackhole of social media, so I generally avoid Facebook during naps too. Instead, I spend the time reading a book, writing blog posts (like this one), journalling, sipping a cup of tea, or catching up on some Zzzz if I’m really tired.
I also always start each nap time with 15-30 minutes of meditation, as you can read here.