For centuries, women have been behind the scenes making sure their husbands, children, and communities were well taken care of. In 2019, women are still expected to be the backbone of the home all while juggling family, careers, ministry, community, and so much more. No matter how effortless we may make it look, having so many people depending on your every move can easily become overwhelming. If you find yourself starting to feel like you are losing control in the daily chaos of life, it is time to reevaluate some things and take control of your life.
If you find yourself overworked and overwhelmed by everything going on in your life, it is time to take a step back and determine what is really important to you. What is causing the most of your stress and overwhelm? Are there distractions that are causing you to slack off on your priorities? Who and what can you begin to release from your life so that you can have peace?
At my lowest point, I was diagnosed with “functioning depression”. The more I open up and share the story of how I overcame with other women, I speak with so many women like myself who also go about living their lives under the cloud of depression. What keeps so many of these women going even though they experience stress, anxiety, and overwhelm on a daily basis? These women keep going because they are needed by someone else.
A mother can’t stop taking care of her children if she is having a bad day. A daughter working as her mother’s caregiver can’t throw in the towel. A girlfriend cancels date night with her boyfriend because her co-workers need her help on a work project due tomorrow.
Feelings of overwhelm can show up from seemingly nowhere, but those negative feelings are coming from somewhere. My feelings of stress and overwhelm began when I allowed my worth to be determined by what I did, instead of who God said I was.
Truth be told, I got lost in being a wife and mom. I was not longer Victoria, but “his wife” and “their mom”. I wasn’t taking care of myself, and I no longer made myself a priority. Although I love being a wife and a mom, that’s not the totality of who I am. By neglecting myself, my happiness was replaced with stress.
Take control of your emotions before your emotions take control of you.
I don’t know the reason why you are struggling with overwhelm, but please remember you are not your circumstances. To take control of your life, you have to determine where your negative feelings are coming from, and what is causing them. Tell yourself, this will not last forever. Your worth is not defined by this circumstance. Your situation today does not have to determine what you do tomorrow. Taking control of your life starts with taking control of your mind and your emotions. At the end of the day, you need to stop, breathe, and remember who you are.
If you are experiencing stress and overwhelm, do these things to get your life back on track:
Take care of yourself, first.
No matter how many titles you have, nothing in your world will move as it should if you are not at your best. Taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually are major components of taking control of your life. Self-care looks different for each one of us, so choose what works best for you. For mental stimulation, I listen to podcasts and TED talks. My favorite physical activity consists of playing “Just Dance” on my Playtstation4. Praying and journaling have become wonderful daily spiritual practices for me.
After I do all those things throughout the day, taking a hot bubble bath is my favorite type of self-care to end the evening. Relaxing in the bathtub seems simple, but it allows me to relax, unwind, and unpack my thoughts at the end of each day. Find simple ways to feed your mind, body, and soul throughout the day to help remain stress-free throughout the day. Learn to take control of your life by making yourself a priority.
Write things down.
I am a huge fan of using planners to help keep my life in order. Having my appointments and “to-do’s” written down ensures that I accomplish everything I need to do. As I start my day, I glance over my task list and mentally prepare myself for the workload ahead. By planning ahead, I eliminate the stress of rushing to get everything done. Keeping a detailed schedule helps me to easily determine what I can and cannot add to my daily load of responsibility.
Say NO more often.
Many times, I found myself overwhelmed due to overcommitting myself. For years, I would say YES to everyone who asked a favor of me. I babysat when I was tired. We gave money when we didn’t have it. I went to countless events I didn’t want to go to. I tried so hard to please other people, that I neglected myself – leaving me stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked. Saying NO may inconvenience someone else, but it may save your sanity.
In this season of your life what matters most to you? Is it time to get serious about your dreams? How about spending more time cultivating your marriage? Do your kids need more of your undivided attention? Maybe you want to dedicate the next few years to further your career. So many of us become busy day in and day out doing things that really don’t matter. Your stress and overwhelm could be caused my wasting time, and not living in your purpose. Why did God put you on this earth? You need to figure it out and focus n that. Determine what you need to be doing in this season of your life, and get to it.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Many of us are stuck in a place in our life where we are allowing fear to hold us back. Fear of failing, fear of success, fear of rejection are all real emotions. Determine what is holding you back and take control of the situation. Identify the reason why you are stressed and stagnant instead of moving forward – then make a decision. Either you will do it – or you won’t. Take control of your life by facing your fears.