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Do you ever just feel overwhelmed? Like there’s chaos going on around you and you don’t know how to stop it? You’re living just to put out fires from your everyday life and can’t seem to get anything else done? And, it’s not just that you don’t have the time to get more done, but you also feel like your mind can’t take on even one more thing!
You’re running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. That’s the type of chaos and overwhelm you feel; and you just can’t figure out how to get it to stop? I think we all feel like that sometimes. I know I certainly do!
It can be a challenge to raise kids, or stay home with them all day long. I totally get that! It feels like chaos at least half the time…all the time. But, there are a few things we can do to help calm ourselves down during the day. (Even if we don’t think it’s us who needs to be calmed!) To take a step back from all the chaos and just take a few seconds to put our heads back on straight!
I’ll let you know what I tend to do. What actually helps in these situations! To calm down when feeling overwhelmed or completely stressed out! Because there are a few things that we can do that will actually work…and are backed by science, or at least the study of psychology!
The first thing I generally do when I get stressed or feel overwhelmed is drink more coffee!
The taste, the smell, just consuming coffee gives a calming effect to me. I associate drinking coffee with being calm and getting more done (if that even makes sense). I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 14, so I have a bit of a tolerance to it’s caffeine effect, that others may not have. I have always had coffee while working on papers and projects for school (in highschool and college). It gave me the energy I needed, and sped up my thought process, so I could be more productive and get more done in less time.
And, I’m a bit of a productivity junkie. I need to feel productive, or even just busy, to feel a sense of calmness in my life. Chaos at home with two kids running around me is not very productive, or the right kind of busy I need to stay calm. So, I drink coffee, instead. Relying largely on the fact that I associate it with other aspects of my life before being a mom, that helped me stay calm (productivity)!
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At first this may seem counter intuitive. Working out and getting your blood pumping, and activating your fight or flight response, as a way to calm down?
I know, it seems kind of odd, and while you’re in the middle of a work out you probably won’t feel all that calm. But, think about how you feel after you’re done exercising. After a nice, and challenging, workout, you probably feel accomplished and more relaxed before hand. You basically just burned off all that stress and overwhelm you had before you started, just like you were burning off calories.
Plus, remember that “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (from Legally Blonde) And, I don’t know too many people who can feel completely overwhelmed and stressed out while being happy!
So, do yourself a favor, put your toddler in their highchair and turn on a workout video, or find one on youtube to do! You’ll be thanking yourself after you get through it!
Clean Your Home
Anyone else think of Monica from Friends when I say this? She always seemed to clean and organize her apartment when she felt overwhelmed and stressed. I used to think she was crazy! That was before I became a mom, and before I had to clean up after multiple people everyday.
Now that the cleanliness and organization rests solely upon me…and looking at, or even being in, a messy home gives me a headache. It’s like the mess is shouting at the top of it’s lungs ‘I’M CLUTTER, I’M CLUTTER! YOU NEED TO GET RID OF ME NOW’. And, it’s right, that is exactly how I feel about it. If it doesn’t get taken care of and just sits there; I can’t seem to think of anything else. It’s hard to concentrate; all I want to do is to get it to stop shouting at me and go away. And, the only way that will happen is if I clean it up or put it away.
So, cleaning and organizing your home like Monica is an awesome way to calm your overwhelm in more ways that just one! It calms your mind, makes your home more peaceful, and ensures you don’t get more overwhelmed by having too much to handle at once when it comes to taking care of messes.
Believe me, Monica isn’t crazy! She’s actually quite smart, and we could learn a lot from her!
I’ve been realizing lately that I have been using this technique a lot lately. Especially when my two little girls are stressing me out and not listening to me….(I have also started consciously responding to my girls, instead of simply reacting.)
I was actually taught this technique to calm my nerves when I was a part of a sports team in high school, around the same time I started drinking coffee.
But, you don’t need to be taught how to use deep breathing to your advantage to help you calm down. (If you do, then here’s your training: breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, then breath out through your mouth for a count of 4. You can also experiment with breathing in and out for longer to see what helps you the most! I’ve been teaching my 5 year old how to do this, too! It seems to help her quite a bit when she’s upset and needs help calming down.)
If you are getting overwhelmed or stressed by your kids, like me, try thinking about how you can best handle the situation, while you take a deep breath. Use this exercise to think clearly and remember why you love your kids so much, and how you felt when you were behaving.
Deep breathing exercises can help you center yourself, or refocus on what’s important, and calm your nerves and lower you stress, all at the same time. So, next time you feel so overwhelmed you just want to yell, try taking a deep breath instead!
Cuddle your Kids
Sometimes, as moms, all we need is some snuggle time with our kids to feel less overwhelmed. Especially when they are running circles around us and we’re struggling to keep up! But, that’s not the only reason why hugs and cuddles from our kids help us to calm down!
Other then holding tight onto our kids so they don’t escape and cause more chaos; getting hugs and cuddles, or any physical connection with another human being is super beneficial, especially for us moms. When I was in my first psychology class ever, I learned how women need more physical contact than men do.
It could be how our brains and the hormones in our bodies react to stress. Like oxytocin, which plays a role in mothering, bonding with our children or others, and is also released when breastfeeding our babies. So, we may get a bit more from the cuddles from our kids, than our husbands would.
Plus, it just feels so calming and relaxing when we have our little kids snuggling up to us. It’s super comfortable and helps us feel loved by the little human beings that we created; it’s actually quite an amazing feeling! And, I know you know I’m right…you probably want to go grab one of your kiddos right now and give them a snuggle!
To Sum it up
See, there are some actions you can actually take to calm down amidst all the chaos trying to swallow us whole. We may only need 5 or so seconds to take a deep breath and refocus ourselves, or to grab a child and give them hugs and cuddles. Or, maybe we need a bit more, like exercising for 30 minutes, to get ourselves in a different state of mind and feeling good about ourselves and what we can do.
We can all find the calm inside of us that’s trying to come out and help us out when needed. Sometimes it just needs a little help! Next time you feel overwhelmed, try out one of these methods for yourself and see how it works! Everyone is different, though, so don’t feel discouraged if you try one, or three, of these methods and they don’t seem to work. For example, not many people will feel more calm after drinking copious amounts of caffeine, but I do! Do what works for you!
Share in the comments how you help yourself calm down in the middle of feeling overwhelmed, and don’t forget to share with some one who truly needs this!