The juggle of mum-life is hard at the best of times. But it’s not just the day to day squeeze that can feel overwhelming right now, it’s also the uncertainty and things beyond our control, creating worry about coping with the unknown shape of things to come. The drop in temperatures, the darker skies, the shorter days all don’t help either!
These things are deeply challenging to human beings so if you’re finding it tough, know you’re in good company.
The good news is there are ways we can support and help ourselves in these times.
Here are 7 simple strategies to help combat that rising overwhelm:
1. Tune into the here and now.
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute or pare it right back to one breath at a time. The mind likes to race ahead, it is designed to think so let’s not give ourselves a hard time for all those cascading thoughts. Anchor it in the now with a soothing touch, a scent, a single yoga pose, a piece of music, watching something that inspires awe like the robin that visits you. Your five senses are always therefore you, to ground you in the here and now.
2. Focus on what’s within your control, try to let go of the rest
In the course of our mum day there will be many pinch points and we all experience worry and swirling thoughts - now more than ever. In the midst of these challenging times, taking time to consider your circle of control, will help you focus your mind more constructively, reminding you where you have your influence and where it’s more helpful to let go.
Take a moment to consider everything over which you have control - what you say, do, how you behave, what you watch and read, what you focus your attention on. Also consider and list what is not within your control. If you have no influence, then there’s no worrying, wishing, hoping or effort that is going to make a difference. So where will you choose to focus your energy and attention?
Have a look in the Nourish app for a practical tool to help you do this exercise: Click HERE
3. Break down your day into bite-sized chunks
Chunk down your day – don’t do it all in your head right now, that will fry any mummy’s brain. Tackle the task at hand right now and mentally leave the rest until it is required of you. Take it hour by hour or minute by minute when you have to. Break it down and things feel far more surmountable. And as you knock down all those individual tasks (so often unsung) repeat the mantra: I appreciate me. What you are doing as a Mother is incredible. Get good at reflecting on all you are achieving and see them for the true mini accomplishments that they are.
4. Avoid the 3 P’s
When you feel the stress hormones start to flood your body, anchor your mind on constructive thinking by steering clear of the 3 Ps. The 3 Ps will rob you of your inner peace. They are:
Personalisation – thinking you are to blame… e.g. the kids are kicking off, it’s all my fault… I’m a bad mum… No, your kids are behaving like kids. There are lots of different factors at play. It’s going to be ok.
Pervasiveness – everything is awful! No, it’s just this journey that’s tough or this period of time or this one behaviour. Chunk it down and it will help you get perspective.
Permanence – it’s going to be like this FOREVER! Breathe, this could all change in an instant, or maybe it will be tough for a while, but it won’t be forever. Hang in there!
5. Dot your day with ‘micro moments’ of nourishment
Self-care needn’t take big chunks of time for it to be effective. Give yourself a moment where you set the intention to carve out an absence of effort. For one minute, let the ‘to do’ list wait. Compassionately scan your body and release any tension you find. Maybe take some shoulder rolls or some head turns to release your neck. Spritz some scent and take six relaxed breaths, reminding you that the world can wait. When we breathe better, we feel better. We all have time for this kind of self-care and it makes all the difference! Check out the Nourish app for plenty more inspiration. Then re-enter the day with focus and vigour. You’ll get done what you can humanly get done and when that overwhelm starts to rise, repeat this exercise.
6. Reboot YOU
Just like our computer needs a reboot, so do we. Unplug yourself and take a minute to recharge by ‘earthing your brow’. Think Homer Simpson saying ‘D’oh’… Bring the back of the hand to the forehead or rest your head on your hands. This is how you can reboot your nervous system. Take a seat at a table and rest your head on your folded hands for six slow, deep breaths. If you’re in full scale meltdown, get onto the floor and take a child’s pose. This will help you find your calm.
7. Shake off what you no longer need
When all else fails put on some feel good music and ‘shake it off’ Taylor Swift style. Music is an instant mood alchemist, as is movement. It can also distract the kids from their gripes. Have an impromptu dance party or kitchen karaoke session. Try something upbeat or seek out some classical if you need soothing. Build your own playlists and you can switch things up effortlessly, whatever your day throws at you.
Suzy is a mother of two, a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, Best Selling Author and Wellbeing Coach. She is also a core member of the Nourish Contributing & Founding Team.
Suzy specialises in maternal well-being, helping mums manage their emotions, energetic bank balance and the unique stresses of motherhood. Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for well-being brand Neom Organics.
Suzy has written three books – The Self-Care Revolution: Smart Habits & Simple Practices to Allow You to Flourish, The Little Book of Self-care: 30 Practices to Soothe the Body, Mind and Soul, and Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness and Self-Care for Children and Parents.
On the Nourish app, you will find over 50 nourishing tools (incl. 27 short videos) from Suzy, ranging from mindfulness and self-compassion basics, to breathing exercises, to dynamic yoga sequences, to mind based coaching activities. Suzy specialises in helping us find those micro moments to dot through our day.
Go to Suzy on the Nourish app.