Feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and forgetful since you became a mom? If so, you are probably suffering from the mental load of motherhood. In today’s post you will learn how to declutter your mind so you can reduce the impact of the stress you are feeling.
Happy Simple Home Series: Clear the Mental Clutter
Welcome to Day 5 of the Declutter Your Life series!
Today we are going to focus on simple routines that you can include in your daily activities to help reduce the mental clutter that seems to become a part of modern life – especially for moms.
Even if you are not a mom, I am sure you will find these tips helpful.
This is the last post of the series, and I hope you were able to learn some new tips to simplify your home and declutter you life along the way.
In case you are just joining in – let’s review what we have covered so far:
Mental Minimalism for Moms
When you find out you are pregnant, your mind immediately begins to focus on all the exciting and joy-filled events motherhood is sure to bring:
-Sweet hugs and kisses
-Memorable Family vacations
-Magical Christmas mornings
-Bonding Bedtime stories
Never once do you stop to consider that you could become debilitated by the number of decisions you will have to make:
- Bottle or Breastfed?
- Co-sleep or crib?
- Graco or Britax?
- Public or Homeschool?
And the list goes on…. and on…..and on….
Personally, I would have laughed if anyone had told me that I would have suffered from post-partum anxiety or that my entire personality would change once I became a mom.
Afterall, I was SO excited to become a mom.
How could anyone not find it anything but joyful?
The truth is that I do find motherhood to be joyful.
And you probably do too…
The problem is that the joy is buried under the mental clutter that comes along with being a modern mom.
Clearing the Mental Load of Motherhood
Throughout history the job of being a mother has been challenging. However, our modern lifestyles take it to a whole new level.
Not only do we need to clothe, feed and bathe our children.
We also have numerous other responsibilities and expectations that the generations before us were exempt from:
- Stores filled with dozens of similar products to choose from which creates decision fatigue. (Mom my tells me that when she went to buy a carseat for me, there was only one in the store so that’s what she bought.)
- Planning extravagant birthday parties complete with custom T-Shirts and expensive gift bags for each guest.
- The pressures of social media to look great, be happy all the time and document every moment with beautiful family photos.
- Remembering playdates, sports practice times, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, school activities and other events for an entire family.
- Being the “head of the household” in addition to being a mother and probably working outside the home – a role that was traditionally held by the husband.
Many moms start out trying to live up to these impossible expectations – since it looks so easy on social media.
However, the behind-the-scenes reality is that most women are struggling to do it all.
Or at least remembering to do it all.
So what’s the solution?
Simple Tips to Declutter your Mind
Similar to clearing out your closet so you can find what you are looking for, mental minimalism applies the same strategies to your brain:
It all starts with sorting through all the “junk” so you can focus on what is truly important.
Here are some of the top strategies to clear the mental clutter that is bogging you down:
Make a list of everything you do
I found this exercise very helpful when I felt completely overwhelmed and unproductive.
For an entire week, write down every single task you do:
- Took the kids to school
- Paid all the household bills online
- Scheduled dentist appointments
- Did 5 loads of laundry etc….
There are multiple reasons why you want to start with a master list like this:
- You will see that you are actually doing a ton, even if the tasks aren’t noticed by others.
- It will clarify where you are spending your time.
- You will be able to share the list with your spouse or S/O in order to decide which items they can take on to help out
- Basically, the master list is a reference sheet to see where and how you can work smarter instead of harder.
Social media, the news, reality television – all of it produces clutter in our brains.
Challenge yourself to reduce your daily intake of your “media of choice”.
Doing so will create some space in your brain and schedule for more productive tasks like relaxing or spending time with family.
I grew up thinking that I would be a good mom, because I was great at multi-tasking.
However, the research is now very clear that multi-tasking makes us scatterbrained and less productive than we think.
Instead, create a daily to-do list and work on one item at a time until it is finished 100%.
Spend time outside
Humans were never meant to spend their days inside.
There are tons of benefits for spending a few minutes outside each day:
- Soaking up the sunshine
- Taking a walk
- Just sitting and observing others or nature
Try to make spending a few minutes outside, even just on your lunch break, part of your daily routine.
Stop being a micromanager
This one was the hardest for me!
I tend to be the type that wants to control everything and believes that nothing is done the right way, unless it’s done by me.
But you know what:
It’s not true…
When you stop micro-managing you can delegate tasks to others and allow them to take on the responsibility.
It’s more important that a task be done, than if it’s done a certain way.
Learn breathing techniques
Did you know there are certain breathing techniques that can help to calm your racing thoughts or feelings of anxiety?
I have been a certified yoga instructor for almost 20 years and one of my favorites is the 4-7-8 breath.
Here are the simple steps:
Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4.
Gently hold your breath for a count of 7.
Slowly release the breath through your mouth for a count of 8.
Repeat this cycle for 1 to 3 minutes to gain the benefits of mental relaxation.
Do a brain dump
This one is an oldie but a goodie –
Keep a journal next to your bed or in a handy spot you have easy access to.
Anytime you feel overwhelmed (or before bed each night) write down anything you are thinking, stressing over or worrying about.
Don’t try to form sentences or complete thoughts – just dump words, ideas and phrases onto the paper in order to get them out of your head.
This strategy is really helpful if you tend to be the type to obsess over little details.
There are many studies that show that even a little bit of exercise can increase brain function.
The best part is that it really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you choose:
It all helps to reduce stress and help you to process difficult emotions and destress.
Used for thousands of years to declutter minds, meditation is making it’s way into the mainstream.
So much so, that my favorite tool for meditation is an App.
My favorite is Stop, Breathe, Think.
Very easy to use for beginners and allows you to track your progress.
Ask for help
When it comes to the mental load of motherhood, the truth is that moms can’t be expected to do it all.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
My best recommendation is to reach out to other moms, since they are probably feeling the same way.
Establish ways that you can each trade for services to help each other out like childcare or carpooling.
Every little bit helps!
Last, but certainly not least is the power of delegation.
Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl pants and pass the responsibilities on to someone else.
It’s wonderful if you have people in your life like a spouse, family member or friends who volunteer to help.
However, there are times when you just have to tell them
LOOK: I can’t do this and I need you to take over.
No friends or family to help out?
Sometimes delegating means hiring help too.
There you have it mama! Tons of great strategies to declutter your mind when mom life starts to be too much.
Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the series:
How do you handle the stress of motherhood? Share your tips in the comments below.