This article is part of the Mommy Overwhelm series. We already shared self-care activities to lower parental stress, food, herbs and supplements to strengthen your resistance to stress and battle depression and some positive parenting affirmations. On Thursday, we'll be looking into long term strategies to avoid parental overwhelm.
Experiencing parenting stress can happen to the best of us, but when these stresses continue on a daily basis, they can have negative effects and lead to depression and aggression. A continued feeling of being overwhelmed depletes our energy and erodes our immune system.
Any feeling of overwhelm is a direct result to one of three bodily reactions to fear: fight, flight or freeze. Here is a list of the signals your body might be sending to let you know things are definitely NOT ok, and it's time to do something about it.
- Anger or rage
- Feeling detached
- Feeling like your troubles are ever growing
- Feeling at a loss, not knowing what to do anymore
- Wanting to run away and leave everything behind
- Not feeling love for your children
- Resenting your children or your husband
- Lack of patience
- Everything is just too much to handle
- Feeling like you might harm yourself or your children
- Wanting to leave your children
Do you recognize any of these signals?Now is time to act. If you are sensing any of these feelings, your body is warning you that you are out of resources.
Even though you might feel numbed, or like there is no way out, there is! It is hard, and it takes time, but you are completely capable of getting out of this situation. Do not wait for someone to come and rescue you, YOU are in charge of your life!
So what can you do?
- Set up relaxing activities every day
- Eat a nourishing diet, you can even incorporate supplements or herbs to help you deal Talk about it. Find a nonjudgmental friend or family member that will offer a listening ear. If you don't know anyone, see a therapist. If you don't have the means to find a therapist, heck, email me!
- Find help. Have someone take care of you and your family. You could find a mother's helper, or a babysitter, or someone to come over to clean or do the dishes… Just liberate some time and space for a while for you to evacuate all this stress, until you feel renewed and ready to handle the situation again.
- Get out and change the routine. It might seem attractive to stay in and wallow in your misery, getting out, seeing, meeting and talking to people will make you feel so much better, so do it. NOW!
A friend is showing these signals, what can you do?If a friend is showing these signs, now is the time to act. Our culture promotes detachment and privacy and we're hardwired to let people 'solve their own problems', but lending a helping hand to someone who is in need can be life saving. Just think that family dramas could often be prevented if anyone had just lent a helping hand or a listening ear. So what can you do?
- Offer a helping hand, with the children, or the laundry or whatever, just be there for your friend
- Make sure your friend knows she can talk to you, ask her sincerely how she is feeling. If she's reluctant to talk (we tend to get that way because we feel like nobody's interested anyway), tell her you sense she is not doing well.
- Do something amazing. Bring a basket of food, take her to a spa, go and give her a pedicure, set up a helper's association, whatever you think might help your friend. Check in regularly. Often people who are feeling depressed or overwhelmed tend to also retract themselves from contact, as they feel this is just too much to handle. If your friend seems reluctant to get out or come over, go to her, maybe gently urge her out of the house.
Want to read more:
I Can't Cope. Dealing with Overwhelm, on Dreaming Aloud