Feeling Overwhelmed?

When you're feeling over-stressed and overworked due to having "too much on your plate", not only will your level of functioning decrease, but your relationships also suffer.  During these times, if you don't purposely choose your priorities, you might end up losing in areas you did not intend.  Below is an activity that can help you with establishing priorities and receiving help.  Thinking about this without writing it down will not be as effective- your brain is a visual organ and can better process information when you actually write it down.  For this activity you will need a paper plate and post-it notes or small slips of paper.    

1. Write down on separate notes, each responsibility that takes up time in your day.  For example, you might write down :laundry, dishes, cooking dinner, homework, grocery shopping, picking up the kids from school, taking the kids to practice, kids activities, preparing lunches for work/school, doing the kids' hair, taking the dog on a walk, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping/moping, cleaning rooms, making beds, coordinating schedules, helping friends, spending time with family, self care (shower, make up, etc).  Make sure you also write down the mundane things you are spending time on, such as watching your favorite shows, or surfing social media.  You'd be surprised how much time you might be spending on these, so you must decide whether that time is better served elsewhere, even if temporarily.

2.  Pick a few of the notes that you know must go on your plate. Once your plate is full, stop.  Then, organize the rest into categories and DELEGATE.  If you have a significant other, sit down with them  and discuss responsibilities.  Sometimes one person may need to pick up some extra tasks temporarily.  Children as young as three might be able to help with some things such as putting things away.  Find short cuts.  For example, you may need to buy disposable plates, cups, and cutlery to cut down on washing dishes.  Perhaps purchasing some pre-made foods such as rotisserie chicken and pre-packaged salad can allot time for other responsibilities.  Figure out ways to multi-task.  For example, Having a bottle of bleach wipes in the restroom can allow you to quickly wipe down the counter while brushing your teeth.   If its still too much, let some things go. Perhaps the kids can pick up their sport AFTER things settle down.

3. Make time for yourself, and for your family.  I used to put a timer on for Saturday mornings for 30 minutes where my kids and I would race to see how much cleaning we could get done in that time.  once the timer went off, we were done, whether we got to everything or not.  Then we would make time for fun stuff like a drive to the park or local library.  The kids seem a lot more motivated when they know cleaning is temporary and seem to get a lot more done in a focused half-hour than they would during extended cleaning time. 

4. Take it easy on yourself!  If you are exhausted, take a 20 minute nap before hitting up the next activity.  Sometimes just giving yourself a momentary break can enable you to accomplish more, but make sure you set limits!  Get your full nights rest when possible. MAKE time for it.  You will get much more accomplished with a well-rested body than you would with the extra couple hours of awake time.

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