Lately, I have been feeling so incredibly overwhelmed. I have some exciting plans for my blog, including working on a course - and a workshop - and a membership group and… the list goes on. And on… and on…. and….
It’s just how I think. One idea sprouts into another and another and the next thing I know there are too many things and I lose all focus. I mean even my to-do lists have to-do lists. Of course, that is just for work. Then there is mom life; the kids, schooling, housework, home projects and did I mention it is almost time for spring cleaning? The clutter is sneaking up on me and I can’t wait to regain the order and organization I did have once. There is so much to be working on!
I don’t know if I am alone in this but being overwhelmed, for me, leads directly into anxiety.
I have so many lists of things to do, that I end up doing nothing. I get tired just making the lists! When I think about all the things I need to do, all the things I should be doing, I just can’t get anything done. Nothing but allowing myself to completely stress out. I know it sounds silly but I end up doing nothing. Sometimes I even curl up in a ball on the couch and just soak in the overwhelm. I run through all the things demanding my action and attention and I lose my cool.
Life piles up on us like laundry.
But laundry I can tackle. For me, this is an easy chore. Just do one load at a time. And I never expect it all to be finished. After all, we are wearing the next load. As I thought about that, I felt Jesus smile. I could picture him nodding with a knowing grin on his face. That is how to tackle overwhelm, one thing at a time. Just do one thing. You don’t have to do everything. Just take one step. The next step.
Looking at the whole list can cause us to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. But can I be honest and admit I am a unique creature? Because sometimes looking at the whole list really motivates and inspires me. Other times I feel buried by overwhelm. It is important for me, and for you, if you are at all like me, to know that is okay. Just remind yourself to do one thing. When that thing is done, do another. Sometimes in between things REST. Reflect on what you have accomplished and do another thing tomorrow.
Laundry doesn’t overwhelm me anymore. Lots of other things can, but not laundry. A while back - when it used to overwhelm me - I made a plan. A schedule. Everyone in our family gets a day, and then there is a day for towels. Monday is my day, Tuesday is Kylie’s day and so on. All the laundry in the hamper gets washed, dried folded and put away. And if the bedding needs to be done, that happens on each person’s day too. Now, this may take all day. Throw a load in that morning, dryer sometime in the afternoon, fold after dinner while watching TV and put it away just before bed. But everyday laundry gets done. And it is a good thing for me. Because it is something I can feel good about every day - at least one thing gets done.
And now I remember my overwhelm plan. God didn’t ask me to do it all in one day. He didn’t even do it all in one day. Just do one thing. Do it well. And when it is done, reflect on it. And see that it is good.
I need reminding. Sometimes, when everything feels important, the overwhelm creeps up and takes hold of my heart and my mood. Followed directly by guilt for not getting things done. But that is not what God wants for me, or for you. God wants us to take action but not to the point of exhaustion. He wants us to enjoy the process. Enjoy the life we have been given. That doesn’t mean being lazy and it doesn’t mean being overworked. It means taking action, one step at a time.
I have a tool I use to battle overwhelm and mom guilt. I call it my Ta-done list. (I'll link it below.) Instead of a to-do list where you write your endless reminders of everything that needs your attention, take a few days to keep a Ta-done list. This is a list where you can write down everything you did accomplish today. A self-reflection. Write down everything...
I got the mail
Took a shower
Called a friend
Responded to an email
Watched ___ on TV
Read this article
Did the laundry
Write it all, you will see you are getting more done than you thought. You will see where your time is going. Give yourself a break. Just do one thing. Maybe the laundry.