When You Feel Overwhelmed about Today

I don't know about you, but some days I wake up and just don't feel like doing it. Like, anything. Whatever “it” may be for the day – homeschool, work, cleaning, paying bills, being happy. I just don't want to, and I often feel like I really just can't.  I feel overwhelmed.

Feeling overwhelmed with life today? Read these tips from a gal who's been there.

Today is one of those days.

Here is my life today:

1) It is well into June and we are still doing homeschool, although half-heartedly. My senior has had a graduation party but has not finished the work required to graduate. The sophomore is several weeks behind in at least one class.

2) My soon-to-be-college-senior and I have five days to purchase a car for her that is reliable enough to drive two days later to her summer job at a camp 12 hours away. With money we don't have. Can you say “progress towards financial goals ripped away in one fell swoop”?  And “worry about purchasing a lemon”?

3) I am physically exhausted due to overscheduling activities over the weekend and a body that does not want to sleep for more than 5 hours at a time.

4) The hubby and I had a long-distance “discussion” yesterday (note to self: never rant via text) that has not been resolved yet.  His schedule is such that he has not been available since.  Sigh.

5) Food in the house is very low, and payday isn't for another week.  With all the kids home, this becomes problematic rather quickly.  I don't have a plan for dinner tonight.

6) The car needs gas, and payday isn't for another week.  We have to put gas in one car in order to be able to look for another car.  Oh, the irony.

7) I have tasks to complete for work that are time-consuming and must be accomplished before the aforementioned car search can begin for the day.

8) The kitchen floor is disgusting.  I stepped on a chunk of grapefruit this morning.  And I can see plenty of other grit/gunk/goo that has been accumulating for weeks days.

9) I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  If you had any delusions that I have life together, you have just been disabused of them.  I hope I never give that picture of the Pinterest-perfect gal, because that is SO not me, and one of my goals is to be transparent here.  Let's be messed up together, shall we? :-)

The thing that gets me is that these issues are not really that difficult. In the grand scheme of things, these are quite minor. I apologize BIG-TIME to anyone reading this that has much larger stuff (like, REAL stuff) to deal with. But for some reason, to me, this morning, these things seem overwhelming. And I'm not even hormonal. Go figure.

So what's a girl to do?

Obviously, there are things that must be accomplished whether I feel like it or not. But I do have options; I don't need to just blindly plow ahead, feeling cranky/exhausted/martyred the whole time and most likely leaving death and destruction in my wake (figuratively speaking, of course. Um.)

I've been through this before, and I'll go through it again; and here is what has helped me in the past, will help me today, and will most likely be put into practice in the future when I feel overwhelmed:

1) Re-evaluate the plan for the day. Can I change the plan to put off the things that seem impossible? Or substitute other things that need to be done but seem more appealing? Yes, I realize this is essentially giving a big “ you go, girl” to the idea of procrastination. And sometimes that just makes things worse later, so this step must be taken with care. For me, today, I was scheduled to write a post to review the homeschool lesson planner that we use. Unfortunately as of early this morning (due to the aformentioned overly-busy weekend) I hadn't even started it yet, and it is due by noon. That task was staring me in the face, and I just felt like it would be impossible to do. So I changed the plan and am writing this post instead. It fulfills the goal of a blog post but in a way that is more palatable to me TODAY. I like this strategy because I am still getting something done but it is easier because it is something I am more motivated to do.

2) Pay extra attention to self-care. Do those things for yourself that make you feel emotionally stable and/or physically attractive and healthy. Take your vitamins. Drink enough water. Eat meals in a timely fashion. Get dressed in clothes that make you feel good. Paint your toenails. For me, this morning, even though I felt time slipping away, I made the effort to get breakfast BEFORE I reached the point of absolute starvation (which is something I let happen far too often, being caught up in “getting stuff done”). Food in the tummy ALWAYS makes me feel better.

3) Admit to others that you are feeling weak. Especially those who will be affected by my lack of motivation, such as kids and hubby. I'm going to be telling my children to go easy on me today because I am having a hard time getting it together. This is OK. Transparency with kids is a key parenting reality. No, I don't need to fall apart in front of them. But enlisting their help when I am struggling binds us together more closely than if I always present myself as bigger and better than they are and never having problems. It shows my kids respect when I am willing to admit my failings to them.  And they are often really sweet and encouraging when I do so.  And we all need warm fuzzies, don't we? :-)

4) Remember you are not indispensable. This is a biggie for me. I tend to think that whatever it is won't get done unless I do it. Nobody else will do it right. (Can you say “controlling”?) On days like today (all days, really) I need to remember that other people can do most things just fine. I need to delegate tasks and lighten my load. And shower them with thanks and praise, even if it's not done the way I would do it. You know what they say about skinning a cat (although one does wonder why they would want to do that or even talk about it). The same thing applies to laundry and dishes and cleaning the kitchen floor and giving a spelling test and checking a math problem and (insert many other tasks here).

5) Pray, and then give it all over to the One who can handle it all without my help. The load becomes burdensome because I try to do it all, and/or I think my plan is the one that has to happen. I forget the bigger agenda, which is based on eternal realities that I know nothing about. So my prayer needs to be sincere, and then I need to LET. IT. ALL. GO. I need to decide to look ahead with joy at what God will do, not with foreboding that it won't turn out the way I want it to.  (Time-out here as I pray about finding a good cheap car.)

Of course I probably could have prevented this crash and burn scenario from happening in the first place, by not planning so many activities and being more careful to eat right and rest and get spiritual nourishment – we all know this stuff. It does seem, though, that with the best will in the world, sometimes it is just impossible to keep track of all that… and we end up here, today, feeling low and moving slow. So I say let's deal with the reality of that happening and address it proactively, rather than letting it progress to a complete melt-down.  Cuz melt-downs ain't pretty, at least not in my house.

Guess what?  I already feel somewhat better.  I so much appreciate y'all walking through these things with me.  What are your coping mechanisms when you're feeling overwhelmed?

It's Not That Hard to Homeschool

6 thoughts on “When You Feel Overwhelmed about Today”

  1. First off -hugs! I hope today is better :)

    When I’m overwhelmed I tend to come unglued. Knowing this means that I too need to have a plan in place. I tell the kids I am overwhelmed, and look at my schedule. What NEEDS done? What can wait? I mark off what I can to give me white space.

    Also, because I know I need down time and have unglued tendencies, we make a plan in advance to stay home at least one day every week. This is typically Tuesday. This gives me white space every week, and allows me a day to “catch up” on things when we have been busy.

    1. I love the idea of “white space,” Misty! Yes, there are times when I definitely need to PLAN for that rather than just hope it will happen. Good stuff! Thanks for the comment! :-)

  2. Oh boy, I can relate. I’d definitely been there done that! Great tips, by the way. And I love Misty’s suggestion about white space as well. When my husband and I were first married, we found other people trying to demand our time just about every weekend… so we ended up having to schedule D&M (Dennis & Michelle) Weekends every so often. This helped me immensely because then I could HONESTLY say that we couldn’t do something because we already had something else on the calendar. It was no one’s business what that was… and time with your husband and/or family is just as important (if not more so) than the majority of other activities people want us to do. (hugs)

    1. That is an amazing idea, Michelle. I’m glad you and your husband figured that out so early in your marriage! What a neat thing to plan ahead for that and be able to prioritize it. AND to not worry about what other people thought about it. That’s another thing that tends to move me up the scale of overwhelmedness (new word and I like it) — feeling like I have to say yes because I don’t want to let someone down. Thanks for the comment AND the hugs! :-)

  3. I hope that things are better for you a few days later! These are great tips, and I’ve definitely been there. I find that unplugging as much as possible and just tackling as much off my to-do list as I can helps me to feel less overwhelmed. Sometimes that may be doing an alternative to a task (like your blog post example, for instance). But I do feel so much better when I’ve accomplished something tangible, even if it’s in a different way that I originally intended.

  4. I agree, Christina! Chucking everything and sitting on my butt for a day does NOT usually help me feel better, surprisingly enough! I have to find SOMETHING I can check off my list, even if it is not today’s list. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

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