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Monday Musings: Dealing with Overwhelm

This is a time of year when a common feeling creeps in. There is an increase in family activities, back-to-school preparations, continued damp towels from the swimming pool now combine with fall sports gear, and dust has built up from a season of housekeeping neglect because--let's face it--it's more fun to go swimming or barbaque. This familiar feeling is...overwhelm.

I find overwhelm to be most noticeable during transition times. It creeps in a lot on Friday evenings during the transition from weekday to weekend. It is hard enough to sprint to the finish line at the end of the workweek, and now we still have to figure out dinner. All we really want to do is relax, but the dishes need to be done before we start the weekend activities. It can feel exhausting.

However, when we see the transition from summer to fall, this feeling is even more noticeable. Like I mentioned, our mudroom is doing double duty because we're still headed to the pool regularly, but now there are also soccer cleats and shin guards scattered among the pool bags. It seems to me like a metaphor for the time of year; it's just more than one mudroom can handle.

When I find myself in these moments of overwhelm, I have a few personal strategies.

  1. Take a walk - I usually feel better because I've gotten some exercise, but I also find perspective or solutions when I step away from everything.

  2. Make a list - Whether it's writing down my shopping list, documenting the upcoming week's calendar, making a meal helps to feel in control of some personal chaos by getting things organized on paper.

  3. Tidy - Clearing the visual clutter around me often helps remove some of that feeling of overwhelm; just enough to tackle the mental clutter.

  4. Take a shower - When I'm clean and have a few quiet minutes to myself, I usually feel better.

So, nothing revolutionary here, but if you, too, find moments when work, family and household responsibilities can generate feelings of being overwhelmed, these strategies may help.

What do you do to calm the chaos, especially during these transitional times?

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