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Managing Overwhelming Feelings

How many of you are sometimes overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your to-do list? Most of you have responsibilities that include taking care of your little one if they're at home with you or traveling back and forth to the hospital if they're still in the NICU. Not to mention you also have to take care of your home. Each day, we wear many hats and play multiple roles to keep all the balls in the air. In many cases, we do it alone and without support from others. Hopefully, we eventually realize the importance of the saying “It takes a village” especially as it relates to taking care of an infant. What are some ways in which we can manage the feeling of having too much on our plate?

An essential tool in managing overwhelming feelings is to take time to organize our day. Planning ahead is key in directing our time and ensuring that we prioritize each day's tasks. Before you go to bed at night, review the next day's activities and determine what needs to be handled urgently and what can wait a little longer. Write it down so you won't forget and use your written plan as an easy reference to keep you on track with your goals. It should only take about 10-15 minutes and will save you a significant amount of time as you go through your day. It's much easier to plan on the front end than to react to all the unplanned aspects that may arise throughout your day.

Enlist others for help when you feel yourself becoming stressed. It's not a failure to ask others for support when you need it. Anyone who has had a baby can identify with the unique changes that new parents face. We all remember the lack of sleep, unfinished household chores, and fatigue experienced during the first few months at home with our little one. Even simple needs like fixing ourselves a meal and personal hygiene are sometimes neglected until we devise a system that works well. Ask for help and lean on your family and friends for support.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t take on too many responsibilities before you’re ready to do so. Rest and allow your body to heal properly. Having a baby is physically and mentally taxing. For all the dads, support your significant other during this process and make sure you find downtime as well. We all need to pause from the day-to-day grind occasionally. We can't continue to function at a high level consistently without taking time to recharge. Don't set yourself up for burnout or a breakdown. Plan a night out or a quiet night in. Do what makes the most sense for your family situation. Most importantly, don’t wait until you feel overwhelmed. Anticipate your needs and plan accordingly. Consider having a scheduled time to recharge weekly, even if it’s only for an hour massage or pedicure. Make your mental and physical health a priority.

We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. Don’t allow external factors to shape your day. Resolve to plan for success and rest. It’s much easier than responding to the consequences associated with overwhelming feelings. Take a moment to breathe, then do your best to manage your responsibilities. Leave everything else in God’s hands to either take away or give you the grace to handle.

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