Navigating Overwhelm as a mother: These are tools to reclaim your balance and ease

Posted by Christina Zipperlen on

Motherhood is a beautiful and rewarding journey, but it's also one that comes with its fair share of challenges. You're not alone if you feel stretched thin right now, mumma.

But this piece of blog isn’t only written for the mothers. It is meant to be for everyone.

From managing household tasks to juggling childcare responsibilities and maintaining personal well-being, demands of work, personal responsibilities, or the constant barrage of information from technology – it's easy for mothers and everyone else to feel overwhelmed by the demands of daily life and to feel like we're drowning in a sea of tasks and obligations. As responsibilities snowball, even minor disruptions can suddenly feel like crushing setbacks in our systems. Anxiety whispers that you're dropping balls or letting people down and guilt creeps into play.

However, amidst the chaos, there are tools and resources available to help mothers and others navigate overwhelm. Sometimes it helps to know that this feeling of overwhelm is really only temporary and that there are ways back to finding a sense of balance and fulfilment, even if it feels absolutely impossible right this moment in time.

And that’s what we’re here for today. We are sharing eight essential tools to shift from feeling perpetually swamped to taking life in your stride (yes, writing this for ourselves over here, too).

But first…

How to know if you’re emotionally overwhelmed 

Realizing when you're on the brink of emotional overwhelm or already deep within its grip is crucial. We often push past these feelings, and put them off as something unimportant and fleeting.

Observe yourself when any of the following signs occur. Acknowledging overwhelm is the first step towards becoming better and tackling the situation as needed.

1. Anxiety

If you continually worry about what-ifs and worst-case scenarios, or if you often feel uneasy or on edge, you might be experiencing emotional overwhelm. This pervasive anxiety goes beyond typical worries.

2. You’re easily irritable

When we're overwhelmed, our emotional reservoir is nearly depleted. This means our tolerance for additional stressors, even minor ones, becomes extremely low. If you’re snapping at loved ones, getting frustrated over small things, or feeling restless, it’s a sign and you should really listen to it.

3. Consistent stress

A perpetual state of stress is like a constant background noise. You might feel like there’s a weight on your shoulders that never lifts, making even mundane tasks seem insurmountable.

4. The scatter brain

…makes it really hard to focus. Your mind often feels chaotic and cluttered, when you are in a state of overwhelm. It makes it challenging to focus on the tasks at hand.

5. The body has its own language

Sometimes, emotional turmoil shows up in our physical bodies. This can manifest through headaches, upset stomachs, nausea, muscle tension, pain, changes in appetite, or sleep disturbances. These signs are not to be ignored, as they can signal that our bodies are reacting to emotional stress.

6. You feel emotionally drained

You might feel empty, unable to express happiness, excitement, or any emotion with intensity. It's like running on an empty emotional tank, with feelings seeming numb, muted or distant.

7. Avoidance

One of the markers of emotional overwhelm is the desire to run and avoid situations. This can manifest as procrastination, social withdrawal, or addictive behaviour as a coping mechanism.

8. Heightened Stress Response

Experiencing a heightened stress response, such as rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, or sweating, even in non-threatening situations. 

Tools to navigate

How do we navigate these sensations best?

Here are eight essential tools to help you navigate the complicated inner landscape of overwhelm:

Mindfulness moments & practices

Pause and breathe. Before reacting, take deep breaths. This simple act can calm the mind and provide clarity.

Mindfulness invites us into staying anchored in the present moment, observing feelings and thoughts without judgment. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindful parenting techniques, and meeting each moment in full presence and awareness can help mothers and others cultivate a sense of calm, presence, and resilience amidst the chaos of daily life.

It takes a village – support network

Building a strong support network is essential for everyone to feel connected, understood, and supported in their parenting journey. Life should never be managed just on your own. As the saying says ‘It takes a village…’  There's profound power in expressing your emotions and sharing your experiences and asking for help. Note to self: seeking help isn't a sign of weakness, it is a proactive step toward your wellbeing.

In addition to friends and close relatives, online and offline support networks, such as parenting groups, playgroups, and mom meetups, provide opportunities for mothers to share experiences, seek advice, and receive encouragement from fellow mothers who understand the challenges of motherhood firsthand.  In addition, whether it's hiring a babysitter, enlisting the help of family members or friends, or participating in a childcare co-op, outsourcing childcare can provide mothers with the time and space they need to recharge and rejuvenate.

A set of boundaries

Often, feeling overwhelmed stems from overextending ourselves. By learning to set clear boundaries, you ensure that your time, energy, and emotional resources are well-managed. Whether it's saying "no" to additional tasks at work or setting aside personal time, boundaries are vital to prevent burnout and maintain emotional equilibrium. More so if you are a mother!

Meal planning & preparation

This one sounds weird, but this one is a true game changer.

Meal planning and preparation can help mothers save time, reduce stress, and ensure that their families are nourished with healthy and delicious meals. Meal planning apps like Mealime, and Plan to Eat offer meal ideas, recipes, shopping lists, and meal prep tips to simplify the meal planning process and streamline grocery shopping and cooking.

Time out! Self-care time

Prioritizing self-care is crucial for mothers to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional well-being amidst the demands of motherhood. Self-care resources such as nature walks, treatments, movement, meditation, a cup of tea and a book, exercise programs, and online support communities offer opportunities for relaxation, rejuvenation, and connection with others.

Move your body

Movement is vital for self-resourcing and for our mental stability. Movement supports stress reduction through the release of endorphins, improves mood and boosts self-esteem.

Movement encourages us to connect with our bodies, bringing our attention to physical sensations and allowing us to foster mindfulness and presence in the present moment.

Apps: for parenting, time and household management and more

Parenting apps can be invaluable tools for parents seeking guidance, support and resources to navigate how to raise children. Apps can help to simplify and streamline anything from tracking development to meal planning, grocery shopping and family calendars.

Get grounded and into nature

Albert Einstein already knew that looking 'deep into nature and then you will understand everything better' can be the answer to so many parts that overwhelm us. Take some time out each day and bring your body back to where it originally came from - Mother Nature!


There is a wealth of tools available these days that support our journey in navigating overwhelm, whether that is as a parent, as an employee, a student or more. Wherever you stand in life the most important part is to remember that you are not alone and that asking for help will always be a sign of strength rather than weakness. Prioritising your wellbeing over that of others is indispensable to show up for yourself and others in this world. 

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