I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I’m more one to start each Monday with a clean slate mentality and jump into amazing plans. But alas, the New Year is almost upon us and the zombie week between Christmas and New Year is a week of gold for entrepreneurs. Amiright?
It’s the perfect time to implement some new plans and line up some new quarterly goals. I love fresh starts. I thrive on strategizing and planning. Knowing my next 5 steps makes me glow.
And yes, I’m often an overwhelmed mom. Sleep deprivation is real. Working full time while you stay at home feels impossible at times. 30 minutes all to myself isn’t the norm. But here’s what I know:
It’s December 10 and there are 21 days left between now and January 1. That’s just too much precious time gloss over and ignore. I’m focused on my next 5 steps — steps I definitely need. I also believe these are great for anyone, no matter where you are in life, no matter what you’re facing.
These are next 5 steps as an overwhelmed mom that I’ve learned to take when the road gets bumpy, the work is weighing me down, I’m rocky in relationships, or scant on smiles.
Most mothers feel overwhelmed at times. We all need the reminder that life is lived one step at a time. Some steps are faster than others, and some are excruciatingly slow. Some are big and some are so small they hardly register. Don’t get overwhelmed at how far you have to go — if we’re honest, we know we’ll never really “arrive.” Just keep stepping….
1. When you’re feeling like an overwhelmed mom, take a deep breath.
Okay, so you might think this seems simplistic. Like, “Come on, Amy. I have some real serious needs over here. You want me to focus on breathing when my life is falling apart?” Yes, actually. That’s exactly what I mean. It can lower stress, release tension, help us heal, manage pain, and lower blood pressure. It even can make us look younger.
2. Find your safe space.
As as a kid, I used to love spending time in my closet. Yeah, everyone wonders how I turned out to be an introvert…. NOT. It was my safe space: dark, quiet, hidden behind clothes, with a shelf of books and treasure beside me. If I left the door open just a crack I could see the sky out the window. My room went from purple gingham to French bunnies, but my closet stayed the same: safe.
While I don’t have a closet to hide in these days, I do find that sometimes I need to escape to quiet darkness, even if it means just closing my eyes for a few moments. To feel my feet steady on the ground. To remind that in this present moment I can experience relief from whatever chaos swirls.
3. Say thank you.
What better way to live our days than by saying thank you. It’s a practice of noticing good things, acknowledging the positive. Here’s what I mean: have you ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? I mean nothing? The natural reaction for most of us is to tell everyone about it.
I don’t know about you, but I can physically feel the adrenaline ramp up when I do that. Every telling makes it more intense, and pretty soon I’m looking for more bad things to add to my blooming story of woe. And let me tell you, by the end of the day I’m exhausted.
Am I suggesting you pretend the bad things aren’t happening? Absolutely not. Some days truly suck, friend. But I am saying that while we acknowledge it all, we get to choose what we dwell on. We get to fix problems from the inside out.
Notice the sunrays breaking through the clouds. The miracle of moss, the crunch of a fresh apple. The amazing reality that we can communicate with Naples in nanoseconds.
A recent study documented that people could rewire their brains by writing gratitude letters. Write one to your littles for when they grow up. Write one to your older kids for them to read right now. But the truth is, even if no one read these letters, YOU will experience astronomical results. More joy.
The mental health benefits of writing gratitude letters are not entirely dependent on communicating that gratitude to another person.
- Start a daily bullet list.
- Add a Thanks page to your planner.
- Start writing, even if it’s just in a gratitude journal beside your bed.
(And if you’re looking for more ways to say thank you as a woman entrepreneur, check out these free scripts for work thank yous.)
4. Choose one thing and knock it out.
This isn’t a whole big-ass project one thing. No. I mean to take one small thing that might take you 5 or 10 minutes. For me, these things really help me get back on track and feel a little more in control. They initiate movement, and are often removing clutter or visually organizing things in my life.
In other words, they help me get up out of my confusion or stuck-ness. The momentum from one of these things carries me into more productive, meaningful work.
- Loading my dishwasher and shining my sink.
- Starting a load of laundry.
- Making my bed.
- Outlining the Must-Dos of my day.
- Writing a thank you note.
- Making my weekly meal plan.
- Sweeping my floors.
- Organizing my work week on my office whiteboard calendar.
- Taking a short, brisk walk.
There’s science behind this step, too. Simply put, getting your heart rate up gets your body to release endorphins — that feel-good hormone. So get up. Do something briskly. When you want to curl up with a bowl of cereal and watch Netflix, push back. You’ll feel better, I promise.
5. Celebrate the wins.
Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels? Not getting where you want to be in your business, your relationships, your finances, or life as a whole? Yeah, I have those days too. And on those days it’s easy to pile up all the things that have held us back, stalled us out, or gotten us stuck.
Instead, go back through your planner and acknowledge the things you’ve gotten through. Browse your camera roll. See the wins. Remember the relationships. And take a moment to acknowledge the fact that yeah, you’re a badass. You’re making it.
No one can determine the speed you should go, or when you should accomplish certain things. Your journey differs from everyone else’s. Just make sure you stop and celebrate your progress.
Friend, our road gets bumpy sometimes. Emotions are real. We working moms over-schedule, over-commit, and underestimate what it takes to get where we want to go. It’s not a competition. And it’s not a race. It’s daily life. Hang in there.
All you need to know, friend, is the path to your next 5 steps, no matter how big or small.