Finding Balance

Dear yayas,

I’m drowning. As a mom, wife, employee, daughter, friend, in everything and in every way. I feel like I’m not doing enough or not focusing on the right thing at the right time. It’s like I’m constantly putting out fires just to turn around and put out more. I can’t help but feel like I’m letting people down. Any suggestions on how to find more balance? Thanks. 

– Off Balance

Dear Off Balance, Deep Breaths! Actually, really, take some deep breaths. It sounds like you need to redirect some of your efforts to taking care of yourself. We cannot be at our best for everyone else in our lives if we aren’t giving ourselves some breathing room. Whether it be a hot bath, a yoga practice, or having a coffee by yourself, try to make some time for yourself each week. Another thing is that, as hard as it is, it helps to know that you are not responsible for other people’s reactions. Sometimes remembering that allows me to breathe easier as well. Hang in there! – Cortney

I have felt that way before, too. The good news is, that feeling has always been temporary, just part of the ups and downs of life. It sucked, but I was able to step back and move on. (If that emotion doesn’t ever fell temporary, I would highly recommend talking with someone about it like a therapist. There is no shame in reaching out). There are a lot of little things I do to help get out of those funks: Talking with friends or my husband helps when I feel like life is too much—a good vent helps me get it off my chest. Making lists or journaling gets it out, too. Time blocking my daily schedule has helped me stay more focused on one task at a time. Lately, many blogs and podcasts have been suggesting that maybe there is no such thing as “balance,” that we mostly just bounce from one person and task to the next, paying more attention to one when they/it needs it. It sounds like the “thing” that you need to pay more attention to at the moment is you. Time for some self care, mama. Time to fill up your own cup so you can helps others. Even in the overwhelm, stop and take care of YOU without guilt. It’s not crazy or unusual to feel this way. Our society seems to encourage and celebrate the “too much” lifestyle. It expects too much of everyone, especially moms. It’s time to break that cycle. We need to encourage each other to take care of ourselves, too, because truly we cannot pour from an empty cup. – Lori Beth

Hello Off Balance, It sounds to me like you are a pretty strong and competent person who many people rely on. Which makes it difficult to say no, or that you are taking on too much. Maybe not more than you can handle, but too much. You definitely need to take care of yourself, but also is there anyone around you who can help You? Are there people at work you may be able to delegate some responsibilities to? Can your husband help you out a little bit more, or your children if they are old enough? I’ve felt this way before, and the only way I’ve found to feel better is to let the people around me know that it’s gotten to be too much, and then tried to communicate specific ways they could maybe help me. The help I receive isn’t always perfect, but it helps alleviate some of the pressure I put on myself to be everything to everyone. And then, take a bit of time for yourself if you can to read a few pages of a book, paint your toenails, go for a walk or run, sleep, take a long shower, go to lunch with a friend. I’m sorry you are feeling overwhelmed and hope you find some relief soon! – Lorelei

Being a strong woman and mother is difficult because you have such high expectations of yourself! You are not letting people down although I do understand feeling that way. I would tell you what my Grandmother would always tell me “one hand for yourself, and one for the ship!” She would remind me to put myself on my list and focus on doing for me! When I was in the place you sound like you are in, she told me that the best thing I could do for everyone would be to take care of myself- for them. I hope I’m explaining this correctly, she was so wise in her words. I am still working on this and I think this is the key to finding the balance. Give yourself the time, even if it is just acknowledging this! Do something everyday that nourishes and focuses on you. Big hug! – Taren

How do you balance all of it? The only way to find balance is to cut back on the amount of time you spend on outside of your immediate family and let something else go. Not completely, but ease up on the time spent, especially while you feel this way. – Grama Claire Bear

Dear Off Balance, I have been there several times. Too much on one’s plate equals overwhelm. Reaching out to your significant other, family or close friends and asking for a few hours of help with your children is a great place to start. Then, with that time figure out what must stay and what can go or be put aside. Talking to a professional, such as a family and marriage counselor, can help one sort out their emotions and work towards lowering stress. – Bernie

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