I just had a lightbulb moment. You know...when a thought smacks you in the forehead and everything suddenly makes sense?
It hit me when I was walking down the stairs after putting my son back in his room for the fourth time when he should have been doing "quiet time". Today, he was particularly whiny and needy, which is not unusual for him, but it was making me cringe. I couldn't take it anymore.
Just prior to dealing with Peter, I was on a phone call with a client, 100% focused, and I looked up long enough to realize that he was out of his room again, my email inbox had eight unanswered emails, the laundry was piling up, the bathroom was a bacteria factory, I hadn't taken a shower yet and there were toys EVERYWHERE. I instantly got a surge of overwhelm-adrenaline.
“I can’t do all of this!”
Do you know what my first thought was? "I just want to collapse on the couch with a glass of wine right now." That would somehow decrease these feelings of being overwhelmed...that would make this all feel a little better. Right?!
But then I had my lightbulb moment:
I got myself in this situation.
I had been piling so much onto my plate (good and important stuff, but also totally worthless time-sucking stuff) that wine, maybe with a side of chocolate, seemed like a reasonable outlet in the moment.
How "mom" is that?!
We often try to just muster up the discipline to say "no" in these hard moments, hoping and praying that one of these days we’ll be victorious. Sure, we can try, but if you're really struggling with saying no to the emotional food indulgences, perhaps you need to get to the root of the problem. Start by asking yourself why you're so emotional and overwhelmed in the first place.
Alright, I’ll say it… you might have too much piled on your plate, momma. You might be trying to be superwoman (which you already are in many ways), but it just might be too much. You’re strapped and spread thin. You’re not stewarding your time well, and you’re letting your body fall through the cracks because of it.
What if you pulled stuff off your plate so you never get to many of these emotional indulgences in the first place?
If you feel like you're always turning toward food and drink for comfort, you should really hear me out. Let’s look at some things that we can alter so you don't find yourself spread so thin, turning to chocolate and wine in a panicky moment.
1. Wasted time online. You might be wasting a lot of time, especially on your phone, computer, and in front of the TV. Yes, I’m sure so much of your world revolves around social media and beneficial websites (you’re here after all!), but you could be far more productive if you put the screen down more often.
I realized that I was wasting far too much time with stupid stuff. So now, I'm trying to not keep Facebook open in my browser while working on my computer, which was causing me to check every single little notification when they happened. And I’m trying to not get lost down rabbit holes of Youtube videos I don’t even care about or news stories that don’t matter to me. Get on, then get off. This frees up so much time!
2. Figure out what urgently needs your attention. Ask yourself if something needs to be done right now or if it can wait for a bit. In my situation above, my shower was probably more urgent than the pile of laundry. And answering every email in my inbox was not terribly urgent, so I had to tell myself it could wait.
Attend to the urgent things first, and then put the non-urgent things back on your plate. Some days an email might be more urgent than your shower, but other days it might not. Not everything needs your same level of attention.
3. Delegate. See if you can hand things off to someone else. I know cooking meals can be overwhelming, so have your husband make dinner two nights a week. Give the vacuum to your 6-year-old. Let your kids sort their clothes and put them in the laundry room for you. Be creative, but learn to relinquish your control. These tiny bits of delegation can ease your burden, big time!
4. Are you being frivolous? I had a client that I could never get booked on my schedule because she was so frantic all the time, trying to get to her nail appointment, coffee dates, have her eyelashes done, and volunteering commitments. She was a mess! She didn't have a full-time job, but she was more overwhelmed than a lot of women that do. Stop overbooking yourself with things that aren't helping you reach your goals! Learn to spread these things out or drop them altogether.
5. Stop signing up for everything under the sun. Seriously. Practice saying this with me: “NO”. You can use that word sometimes, I promise. Your kids don't need to be in every sport and lesson. You don't need to volunteer for every carnival, fundraiser and leadership position. And you don't need to always be the one to fill the gaps. Practice saying NO more often!
6. Be decisive about your non-negotiables. Figure out what makes you hum at your finest on a daily basis, and make sure you do these things. For me, the top of my list every day is 1) workout, 2) nutritious food, 3) shower, 4) nap. I’m not kidding, these four things must happen daily or I’m an overwhelmed mess. When these things are missing, it somehow upsets the balance of everything else.
What are your non-negotiables? Identify them, so you know what to really prioritize. Click here to read more about making exercise a non-negotiable.
Get yourself out of the overwhelming situation.
What if you started using these strategies? What if your day was suddenly freed up by 10, 20, or even 30 minutes, and only your non-negotiable items and very urgent tasks were on your schedule? Do you feel like you might be less overwhelmed? I certainly hope so.
After this lightbulb moment, I am now paying more attention to things that are wasting my time or making me feel overwhelmed. For me it was YouTube and the endless browsing on Istagram and Facebook. Another thing was realizing that the mess piling up in my boys’ rooms is definitely not urgent. I had to let these things go.
Tidy up the edges, sweep things out, and give yourself more space to breathe. Your mind will be clear and less likely to buckle under stress.
The goal is to not help you muster up the discipline to say “no” to food and drink when you’re emotionally drained, but to help remove you from these situations in the first place. Does that make sense?
When we steward our time well, we will have the capacity to steward our bodies better.
Sometimes we're wasting time with our workouts. We're spending time driving to the gym, checking kids into childcare, flailing around with a worthless class, and hoping something changes. Get out of this rut!
Come check out the Strong Mommas Membership. As a member, you'll have access to brand new workouts every month that can be performed at home in your living room in about 30 minutes or less. Get in, get out, save time, save money, and actually see your body change. Click here to learn more!