Help for Overwhelmed Moms

Can I be honest with you for a minute?  Last week was a rough week.  My fibromyalgia has been really acting up.  It demands to be heard.  I kept telling it to be quiet, but it has a mind of it’s own.  The main reason it’s been worse lately is because I haven’t been able to get a good night sleep for several days.  If I don’t get my sleep it isn’t pretty.  It just makes all my symptoms worse, especially severe fatigue.  Over the years I have tried to cope with being a mother and wife even when I feel like this.  It hasn’t been easy.  I so want to be there for my kids in every way.  They are teenagers now and don’t need me as much when they were younger, but they still need me.

Have you ever felt just completely overwhelmed?  Maybe it isn’t from a chronic illness.  Maybe it’s working  full time outside the home and raising your kids.  Maybe you deal with depression or a difficult marriage. You may of lost someone close to you.  Life can be hard.  Everyone experiences feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate at times.  Over the years I have come up with ways to get me through the rough patches.

Music- One thing that really helps me is listening to music that is meaningful to me.  Music can take us to another place.  It can show us that someone else understands what we’re going through.  Music has even been shown to lower blood pressure.  I have been listening to a lot of Mandisa lately.  If you’re not familiar with her she was a contestant on American Idol a few years ago. I just purchased her latest cd called Overcomer.  As you can probably guess by the title it is full of songs of hope and perseverance. You can take a look at it here.  One of the songs is called “Where You Begin”.  One of the verses expresses how sometimes we’re just at the end of our rope.  Here are some of the lyrics:

” Today I need You
Just to get through
Today I’m breaking under the weight of it all
And I’m afraid I might fall
Today I’m empty
But I am willing
To keep listening and looking for You in the noise
For Your quiet voice.”

It goes on to say that she’s giving all her weakness over to God.  He will renew our strength.  Sometimes that’s not in the way we want or expect.  We may not get a surge of renewed energy.  Our problems may still be there.  But deep down inside we have this deep peace that somehow everything will work out in the end… somehow. Things will not be this way forever.  God will help us through.  I remind myself of all the ways he’s been there for me before.

So look for music that resonates with you.  It doesn’t even have to have words. I suggest you don’t do anything else while you’re listening.  Just close your eyes and experience the music.

Fill your mind with positive things- “…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.”(Philippians 4:8 NIV.)  The first few days I was feeling so horrible I felt myself getting depressed and feeling helpless.  I was having a hard time getting beyond this.  Finally I was tired of my attitude and I needed something to hold onto.  I decided to search for authors and speakers who were an inspiration to me.  I sought out scriptures that talked about hope and renewal.  Even if I only had enough energy to read something short, I came back to it a few times during the day.  I let it sink in deep.

I looked on YouTube for speakers to listen to.  One of those speakers was Jennifer Rothschild.  She is a wife and mother of two.  She is also a singer, pianist, author, and speaker.  She is also completely blind.  She wasn’t born that way.  She became blind at the age of fifteen.  Here is her story.  Nick Vujicic also inspires me.  He was born with no arms and legs.  You can read bout him in one of my previous posts.

I also read books on people dealing with the same sorts of things I was dealing with.  I think sometimes it helps to remind ourselves that other people have gone through similar things and made it to the other side.  It can also be a source of encouragement.

Ask for help- I think when we’re raising kids and trying to keep a home, etc.  we often think we have to do it all on our own.  There is nothing wrong with asking others for help.  Everyone needs help at some point or another.  I’m sure you would be more than willing to help a friend out in need.  Extend that same grace to yourself.  On a day when you’re not feeling so overwhelmed write a list of people that would be able to help you with certain things.  They can be people you know and people you could hire if money allows.  Is their someone who can pick up groceries for you?  Is there someone you can carpool with for your daughter’s ballet class?  Can you hire a maid on an as need basis?  Do you have a good friend you can confide in?  These are just a few suggestions.  None of us should have to go it alone.  I belong to a small group and they have come through for me several times bringing meals or just encouraging me.  When I’m in a better place I do the same for them.


Simplify your schedule-  I know we all like to get as much done on our to do list, but that is not always possible.  On a particular tough day when things are crazy or I just don’t have much energy to give I take a good hard look at my schedule.  I first highlight the things that absolutely have to be done.  After those things are completed if I am able I pick one or two items that aren’t highlighted and do those.  If I can’t do them I just move them over to the next day.  I also have a master to do list where I keep a running list of things that have to get done, but not necessarily by a certain time.  If I have a day where I can get something extra done I pick something from the list.  Here is a link to a master list from inspired to action.

Journal-  Journaling is a great way to record your thoughts and feelings.  I started journaling when I was in the fourth grade.  I have been doing it on and off ever since.  I will admit that as the years have passed I’ve done it less and less.  I just don’t make the time for it and life gets busy with kids and other responsibilities. Last week I decided to change that because I know what an important tool it can be.  It also has many health benefits including strengthening your immune system.  It can help relieve stress by helping us regulate our feelings.  It gives you a chance to see things in a different way or work out a conflict you may be having.

I like to keep a prayer journal also.  I find that writing out my prayers helps me focus my mind on what I actually want to pray about.  It also helps me stay connected to God.  I often go back and reread my them and see how God has answered my prayers.  They are not always in the exact way I wanted or expected, but they always draw me closer to Him.

When you’re feeling like you just can’t take another step or you just need a little breathing room try some of these steps and see if they help.  I hope they do.  What do you like to do when you are feeling overwhelmed?

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Comments

  1. says

    You have no idea how much I needed to hear this right now at this very moment! Thank you so much! I’m struggling in my marriage and I also have some physical pain. It is hard having all of this going on and trying to raise your kids. I also have 2 teenagers and a 7 year old. I also turn to music, and I love Mandisa and that song too. I think I need to look at my life and see if I can simplify it. I will pray for you – I know some days are just so hard. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. says

    tanya, i’m your neighbor at FF. you have some great points here for the person who is overwhelmed. i’m glad you put your main points in large letters:) that was very helpful to me for sure!

  3. says

    Sometimes I find a good burst of exercise helps me deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed, or anxiety – especially if I can put my earbuds in and turn on a good audio book. I haven’t been exercising much lately, and come to think of it, I’ve been feeling more over-anxious than usual. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. says

    Great post! I suffer from depression and sometimes find life a struggle. But the little things do help, like listening to music, exercise and eating healthy.

    Thanks for linking up to this February’s Share The Love Blog Hop.
    Now following you via GFC

    Natasha @ Serenity You

  5. says

    Thanks for sharing this on my Monthly Milestones link-up. There are some great tips here! I know that when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, it always helps to step away from it all in some way, if not immediately, as soon as possible. Sometimes something as simple as taking a hot shower or reading a book or going for a walk helps a lot. Sometimes just doing something crazy or fun or silly with the family helps, too. It pays to take the time to take care of you, too. We all need it a lot more often than we think!

  6. says

    Boy, can I relate. Overwhelmed describes me every day. I never felt this way before kids, even during the most stressful times of my life, like college and work transitions. Kids are just so all-encompassing (in a good way, but a BIG way.) I agree that asking for help is key to gaining control!

  7. says

    I’ve lived with fibro many years. Here are a couple of tips. Get 8-9 hours of sleep if possible – try using melatonin an hour before bed. I’m looking into Essential Oils to help with REM sleep and so far every night I use lavender EO, I sleep deeper, waking more refreshed. There are other oils I will be trying for pain, etc. Sleep is key to fibro. Get a body pillow or an extra pillow to support your frame. I have a soft moldable one that I prop my arm on so my shoulder doesn’t drop and mess up my spine, causing pain in my back and neck. A body pillow propping your knee helps your spine stay in alignment too, less pain. I also have used a sleep aid (gel cap), cheap at Walmart or SAMs to help me sustain sleep, but I’m thinking the Essential Oils will replace it soon. Blessings!

    • says

      Sleep is so important! If I don’t get it I can’t function. For some reason for the past few weeks I’ve had a hard time staying asleep. I have never heard of a gel cap. I’ll have to check it out. I use lavender too!

  8. says

    Oh, I really live this post! As a type 1 diabetic with three boys with sensory processing issues, I almost never sleep. I use some of these techniques as well. It’s funny how we manage to get by with the help of good music, writing down our thoughts (I keep a gratitude journal), and our own varied techniques. I do hope you are feeling well. Oh, and I found your wonderful blog because of the lovely SITS girls community.

    • says

      Thanks Tara for commenting. That is my sister’s name! Life can sometimes be difficult can’t it. I always say I just have to do one day at a time.

  9. says

    I can relate to your post because I have Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. I think living with any chronic disease brings its own challenges, but fatigue seems to be the biggest problem. Stress is the worst for my symptoms. So, I agree with everything you have on your list. I try to remain positive, keep things simple, and listen to inspirational music. I love Mandisa’s music. It took some time for me to ask for help. I did not want to appear weak. In the end, asking for help is one of the best things you can do.

  10. says

    I know I try to take on too much! If I got enough sleep, that would sure help–but also I need to spend more time in the Word, thinking God’s thoughts! Meditation and prayer would help renew my mind. Yes, I know what to do–I just need to take the time to do it. Thanks for this post. Coming by from the #SITSblogging commenting group!

    • says

      Thinking God’s thoughts is a wonderful thing to do Tammy! I know for me it’s easy to get down on myself when I’m having a hard day. I am trying to get in the habit of reminding myself what God says about me is always true no matter how I’m feeling!

  11. says

    Overwhelmed seems to be a way of life sometimes! I try to just stop and take a deep breath and pray when I start chasing my tail and getting frantic. A bubble bath helps, too. Thank you for sharing! #SITSblogging

  12. says

    I enjoy tuning into good preaching on tv when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I also like to listen to inspirational music, just as you do. If the weather permits, I will go outside and work in my flower beds which brings me joy. It seems that women tend to get down a little more than men. Having a good friend to talk to can help also which women are quicker to do than men. It’s great to have outlets when we need them!

  13. says

    Journaling has been a huge stress reliever for me. I started keeping a journal when I was 11 (when my biggest issue was figuring out who would ask me to dance at the 6th grade parties), and I’ve continued it because I love being able to pour out my feelings to a recipient that is always patient, understanding and non-judgmental. We all need to find that one thing that helps us! I hope you are feeling better soon!

  14. says

    Great tips – I think taking things off your schedule is a must. Nobody says we have to do it all (except usually ourselves) and giving yourself the grace of removing some of the “stuff” is super helpful.

  15. says

    Wonderful post. And it applies to so many things in life when you are stressed. There are times I have had to turn to my friends for help or you can come by my house and hear it filled with music as I try to deal with the stress in my life. Thank you for this post.

  16. says

    Very helpful post. I do get overwhelmed and find a list is a must to keep my sanity. And I find too, that the act of scratching something off my list is very satisfying even if it’s just one thing.

  17. says

    You will never know how much I enjoyed and needed this post today. I have days when I seriously wouldn’t even crawl out of bed if not for my two children who need taking care of. And I love your idea of keeping a journal. Maybe if I could put all of my thoughts/worries on paper, it would help me process and get through them easier. Going to have to give this a try. Thanks for the idea!

  18. says

    February seems to be a month that hits many people hard. I find that it helps to take a bit of time away from the daily grind. I like the idea of using music. That always makes me feel good!

  19. says

    Great post. As moms, we tend to over-commit and try to do it all… Sometimes you just need to take a step back, ask for help, take a deep breadth, and enjoy the moment – without feeling that you need to get something done.

  20. says

    This is an excellent post filled with great suggestions! I know for me that filling my mind with positive things is what helped me the most last year when I lost my mom. I had to have the right attitude about it. When I did, it changed everything and I started to heal. There are a lot of things in life that we can’t control, but our attitudes are not one of those things. :D

  21. says

    Tanya, thank you so much for sharing this with us. I know it requires your precious time as well as vulnerability. But, it was a very helpful and encouraging read and all moms can unite over feeling overwhelmed at some point or another. Another thing we need to learn to do is forgive ourselves so we can move forward and trust the promise God has made to redeem all – thank goodness He is bigger than me and my many mistakes!

    Sarah’s Fare recently posted → <a href=”http://sarahsfare.com/eggs-in-a-nest/”>Eggs in a Nest</a>

  22. says

    Being a parent is hard work. I know people tell you that life with a newborn is tiring, but I don’t think it’s stressed enough. It’s not getting little sleep that was a huge deal for me, it was being unable to get REM sleep! It didn’t help either that I have no extended family here, and my husband was not helping me as much as I would have liked. Life can definitely be hard.

    My childhood was the worst time of my life. If I had not discovered music and books as a teenager, I don’t know how I would have gotten through it all. Music was like a therapy to me, and even today, listening to music when I’m frustrated really calms me down. My positive outlook on top of those things is what helped me not only survive my childhood experiences, but eventually change my life for the better.

    I hope next week is much kinder to you!!!

    • says

      I’m so sorry you had such a tough childhood. I’m glad you found comfort in books and music. I did the same thing when I was a teenager. I know what you mean about the REM sleep.

  23. says

    Hi Tanya! This is very valuable information.Music helps me a lot too and I also journal when I have the time. It’s important for us to keep watch of our mental health. Thanks for sharing!

  24. says

    I’m not a mom yet, but I have several close friends who are, and wow, I know they need this! I think it really helps to know that everyone is in the same boat and it’s normal and easy to get overwhelmed. Very relevant post!

  25. says

    As an “only child” turned “first time mom” I totally can relate this yet. I was extremely overwhelmed when our son came along. Thankfully my husband {first out of five} was able to help me along the way. Plus I had some amazing friends you. This is great post and I hope others can learn from it!
    -Stacey
    GluedToMyCraftsBlog.com

  26. says

    Ahh.. this was for me tonight! Thank you! I spent most of Monday in the ER with what turned out to be nothing more than anxiety. I am a Type-A, mom of two under two and freelance writer. My mother-in-law passed away this past December and I’ve had chronic illness issues since I was 16. It’s all just catching up. Today I was actually in my Bible, looking for verses on anxiousness, peace and promises. I think I will look up hope and renewal. Those are good topics I didn’t think of. Thank you! God bless :)

    • says

      It sounds like you have your hands full with two little ones! I’m sorry about the loss of your mother-in-law and you being in the ER. Years ago I struggled with panic attacks, so I can relate. I hope things go better soon. Keep close to God!

  27. says

    Thank you for the suggestions. It’s amazing how much difference taking a few moments for ourselves to listen to music, pray, write in a journal, or do something else we enjoy can impact our health and mind in such a positive way. I recently addressed my stress and haven’t looked back since. It can be the most suffocating, toxic thing in life and we as women need to be strong; find strength in ourselves and encourage others to do the same. Thank you for sharing this.

  28. says

    How did you know I needed this post?
    While I’ve been trying a few of these things, I think I’m too stressed to have been able to utilize these ideas in a meaningful way. However, I am finally at a place where I can breathe a little bit.

  29. says

    Journaling is such a great way to get out whatever is bothering you without the fear of being judged. I would definitely add that if feeling overwhelmed is ongoing, then it might be time to seek some professional help.

  30. says

    This is an uplifting post! Thank you so much for sharing because I needed this today! Being a mother has been the most rewarding but overwhelming job I’ve ever had! Pinning this to refer to it later! Thank you!

  31. says

    Journaling has ALWAYS been one of the best things i can do to get the painful feelings out. I recommend everyone keep a journal during good and bad because you can reflect on the good when you feel down so much easier!

  32. says

    I use audio books to help me relax in the car. I just listened to The Spark which I highly recommend to every parent. My 6 year old loved it too and would ask me to turn on the story. The narrator’s voice is so soothing and comforting and this book will help parents to remember what is important in raising children.

  33. says

    I tend to get overwhelmed very easily. I’ve always been that way. I find that putting on some sleep sounds (like a running stream or thunder) helps me relax.

  34. says

    Sometimes life’s responsibilities can be overwhelming. I know that Fibromyalgia does not go away, but I will pray that you have fewer episodes. At this season in my life I am learning to ask for help…even when I don’t want to!

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