5 ways to Cultivate Calmness and Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed - Happy as a Mother

5 ways to Cultivate Calmness and Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

As a mom, there is no shortage of things to worry or think about. Our minds are constantly buzzing with items that need to be picked up from the grocery store, making dinner, getting the kids from school, making sure that they have spring jackets and rain boots for their field trip tomorrow, and so on. The list is literally endless; kind of like my laundry pile that I can never seem to get caught up on.

Juggling the tasks of motherhood, whether you’re working or at home, is a recipe for feeling overwhelmed. There is always so much to do and so little time. On this (final) maternity leave, I have made a conscious effort to slow down, to adjust my expectations, and to cultivate calmness. Here are some of the things that I have changed:

Declutter

Okay, it’s random I know, but I started my journey to a slower lifestyle by purging unnecessary stuff. Like a lot of stuff: the over stimulating toys the boys owned, maternity clothes, outfits the kids have grown out of… etc. Even if it wasn’t in sight, it was just so much stuff, and always took up space in the back of my mind. Anyone following my IG in the early days saw the constant posts about the playroom purge I was doing– and let me tell you– it was freeing. I’ve really tried to adopt a less is more mentality, and if something gives me stress and/or makes me feel overwhelmed, I get rid of it; like every single one of the useless happy meal toys that float around my house– good riddance.

Write Things Down/ Set Reminders

I know this sounds like a no brainer, but seriously, do yourself a favor and just write your thoughts down. Trying to keep everything top of mind is burning through all of your mental energy. How can you cultivate a sense of calm when your brain has to prompt you every 5 mins to remember to change over the laundry or pick up something from the grocery store. Tell siri to remind you; put a to do list in your phone. Once you export the info, you free up space in your mind. Having free space means you can engage your creativity, practice gratitude, or be present with the people around you. It doesn’t have to look pretty, follow a pattern, or be a particular way – just get your thoughts, whatever they are, onto paper. This applies to to-do lists, fears, situations that you are chewing on or that are bothering you, etc. write them down!

Stop the Mindless Scroll

Brene Brown says that comparison is the thief of joy, and let me tell you, she knows her stuff. Have you ever been enjoying your life, in the present moment, and then been completely robbed of your joy the second you compare yourself to someone else? In the social media era, we fall into this trap so easily. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting at home in yoga pants, in need of a shower, milk leaking all over my shirt, scrolling instagram and feeling less than. I somehow managed to stumble upon a mother on the other side of the world who had a baby the previous day and already had her abs back. *cue eye roll* Guess what? You can stop scrolling! I’ve made it my mission to take care of my mind and soul by not comparing myself to others. So when I am scrolling social media, if I feel comparison and a sense of lack start to creep up, I. get. off. social. media. Put your phone away, set a timer for how long you are allowed to scroll, pay attention to how you react to the content you are consuming; make it your mission to guard yourself from comparison.

Practice Gratitude

Everynight before bed, I ask my boys what they are grateful for. I swear I should write a post about all the different responses because they crack me up; they have ranged from being grateful that our little baby was born, to the cobweb in the corner above the bed. Gratitude is an essential component to living a slow and peaceful life. It is a value I teach my children and one that I practice daily. Here’s the thing, you can’t feel both a sense of lack and gratitude at the same time. When we are led by a sense of lack, we are constantly trying to fill the void. We buy more useless stuff, we try to prove our worth, we do more and say yes to more. This all results in feeling anxious and overwhelmed. When we learn to appreciate and value where we are and what we already have, there is no need to scramble. Instead of judging and focusing on what you lack, learn to enjoy where you are, the house you are in (regardless of its size), the body you have (regardless of its flaws), the place your are in your journey (even if it’s not the final destination), and so on.  

Learn to Prioritize

One final, super practical skill I have been refining lately, is prioritizing. I am the first to admit that I have a bazillion things on my mind at any given time. To me, they all seem rather urgent because they all stress me out. Realistically, they aren’t all equally important. When I write them out, I can better organize and find the most essential task that will have the most impact. A few months ago, I read a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and it completely changed my life and how I make decisions. If you struggle in this area, I would highly recommend it. Some tasks are more important than others, and often there is one thing that can be focused on which will resolve many of the items on the list. Prioritizing has been the sole way I — a mom to three boys ages 3 and under — am able to sit and be here with you right now. Mastering this skill will free up space in your life, and give you time to focus on the things you value most.

Well, there you have it. That is my current recipe for slowing down and combating feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks of motherhood. If the recipe changes, you can be sure I’ll be back to share more about it 🙂

Are there specific ways that you juggle motherhood? Pop into the comments and share strategies that have worked for you. How do you managed to  slow down and do more of what you love?

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