Ep 21. Save Your Sanity + Avoid Overwhelm

Mompreneur article about handling overwhelm
I'm Ashley!

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In today’s episode, I want to share with you a four-step process to save your sanity and avoid overwhelm. I know as mompreneurs, it can be so easy for us to get caught up in all the things we have to do, everything that everyone needs from us and we forget to take care of ourselves. So, this episode is going to give you a step by step framework to help you reclaim your sanity.

Hey mama, welcome back to the show. I am so excited to have this conversation with you today. I think that this is something that a lot of us mamas struggle with and it’s easy to find ourselves feeling completely overwhelmed and drained. As many of you know, I’m currently in the process of creating and launching a brand-new course. And in the midst of this, I am trying not to also lose my mind. Because there’s so much that goes into creating a course, there’s so much that goes into maintaining a business, and if you know me, I have three businesses. So, in the midst of juggling all three businesses and trying to launch this course, I also am a mom and I’m a wife and I’m a follower of Christ.

So, there’s just so much that I do on a daily basis and sometimes I start to feel overwhelm and anxiety creep in. And so, I felt like this would be the perfect time to share with you how I deal with this when I do have a lot going on in my life and I do have so many balls in the air that I’m juggling. So, I’m so excited to give you these tips and these steps that I want you to walk through anytime you feel that overwhelm start to take over.

Step # 1: Press Pause
So, step number one, I want you to press pause. I want you to just take a moment to breathe and reflect. I want you to start asking yourself these questions: why am I feeling so overwhelmed? What is it that is setting me off? Why do I feel like all of the sudden I can’t handle my life? When we start to answer these questions, it helps us to just breathe, re-center and remind ourselves that it’s not an emergency.

I want you to also take into consideration that when you’re feeling this way, are you taking care of your basic needs? Are you getting adequate sleep? Are you feeding yourself nutritious foods? Are you taking care of yourself by prioritizing yourself? Making sure that you have time set aside where you can recharge. If the answer is no, you’re not getting all of these proper things then you know, right away how you can of course correct in the future. So, it helps to just understand that when you pause to breathe and reflect that you can own what’s going on and that once you start to identify what is happening and why you’re feeling that way, it will allow you to move forward.

Now sometimes when I start to feel really overwhelmed, I will play some calming music. I will walk in the other room away from my kids, I will put in headphones and I will turn on something instrumental. Something that doesn’t have lyrics, because for whatever reason when you just hear music, it makes you feel more calm. When there’s lyrics. It kind of makes you feel more overwhelmed. So, play some calming, instrumental music.
If you have a moment, just take a hot shower or a bath and just relax. Now, overwhelm is our body’s way of telling us to slow down and re-center our priorities. And I venture to guess that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably because you’re not prioritizing yourself. And one of the foundational pillars in my new course, The Efficient Mompreneur talks all
about mompreneur mindset and why it is so important to prioritize yourself.

If you have time, take a hot shower or a bath and just relax. Now, overwhelm is our body’s way of telling us to slow down and re-center our priorities. And I venture to guess that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably because you’re not prioritizing yourself. And one of the foundational pillars in my new course, The Efficient Mompreneur talks all
about mompreneur mindset and why it is so important to prioritize yourself.

So just a few ideas for you to kind of get you thinking is that setting aside time in the morning before your kids wake up to refuel and recharge and kind of set your mind right for the day is something that’s so crucial. I also recommend that any time that you get like just quiet time that you would avoid being on social media. I know it’s so easy to turn to that, but
that’s not refueling our brain. And so, if we can turn to something like journaling or just taking a walk outside, or even just going in the backyard to just drink, your favorite lemonade or whatever. Just like those quiet moments that you can sneak away from your kids to recharge, it doesn’t take that long.

I think a lot of us think that it needs to be a treat, like we need to go out and get our nails done or our hair done, or get a massage or something like that. And that is not what self-care has to be. It’s just taking those quiet moments to reflect and to recharge without technology and without the constant chatter of our day children. So, I want you to remember that when you’re feeling overwhelmed, press pause.

Step # 2: Brain Dump
Now step two, this is where the action is going to start to take place. So, I want you to get all of your thoughts and feelings out onto paper; so, this is going to be a brain dump. I feel like we get overwhelmed a lot when we have so much floating in our heads and we haven’t had a chance to process it. So, I want you to write it down, say it out loud if that helps and put down everything. Every single thing: to do’s feelings, people that you really want to hang out with, like whatever is in your head.

Because, I think sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I’m like I just want to go hang out with my friends right? Or I just need a date night with my husband. So, put those things down, write down the things that you think are going to really be helpful in that moment. I think it also helps to write this out on paper, not just type it on your computer. Because there’s
something about physically writing that helps you process your emotions as they are being transcribed from your brain. So, write it all down on a piece of paper and get everything out.

Step # 3: Prioritize and Organize Tasks
Now, step three is going to be the actual action part. Now I want you to start to prioritize and organize what’s going on from your brain dump. So now that you have a list, I want you to start analyzing it. Now I’m sure that you’ve probably heard to prioritize tasks in order of urgency. Like this is something that needs to get done right away, so I’m going to prioritize
that right? And although I think it’s important to prioritize urgent tasks, I want to take it astep further because I feel like when all we do is prioritize by urgency, the non-urgent stuff ever gets done. And so, what I like to do is prioritize my time tasks by how much focused attention each one of them is going to need.

So, let me explain that; I prioritize my tasks by color. So, for instance, I give a color code, I use green for something that I can do while my kids are around, I color code a task orange if it’s something that needs some focused attention, but I can easily be interrupted. And then I will color code a task pink if I need absolute dedicated time with no interruptions. So, let me
give you some examples of what each of these tasks might include. So, for a green task, this is something that can be done while my kids are around. So, this is something like housework, organization, writing a grocery list, kind of like those tasks that I don’t know, I really have to think about because I do them all the time. And it also doesn’t matter if they’re running around and need my attention because it’s just so easy for me to do it, I could do it in my sleep. Now orange tasks are something that need a little bit of focused attention, but if I get interrupted, it’s not the end of the world. So that’s
something like scheduling an appointment, personal phone calls with my friends and family.

Maybe I’m going to be choosing some pictures for Instagram or planning my schedule for the day. These are all orange tasks, things that would be nice if I had focused attention, but it’s not a big deal if I get interrupted.
Now I’m going to talk about my pink tasks. So, these are ones that I really need focused attention, and that if I get interrupted by my children, I start to snap at them because I’m frustrated. Because it takes a lot, a lot of my brain power to do these certain tasks. Now, these are things like writing captions or writing content in general. So, blog posts, outlining
my podcast, anything that really takes some focused time to think things through, I don’t like to be interrupted. And then things like work calls, I do not want to be interrupted when I’m on an important work call, so I will label these items pink.

So now when I am thinking about it, all the things that I have to do, and I have all the to- do’s and I have all that, my feelings I can then begin to put action behind them. So, I want you to start thinking about the priority now. So now that you have everything organized by what type of attention it’s going to need from you now, I want you to really prioritize it, with a one, two, three category okay. So, a number one is going to be super important okay? That’s like your number one thing that you need to get done. Mark it with a one, if it’s highly prioritized and then a two is going to be something that’s like, Hey, it’s important, but I don’t need to get to it right this second. And then a three is something that’s like, hey this would be really nice okay. So now you have your attention categorized, now you have your priority categorized, and now you’re going to look at them together.

Now you can actually go through your schedule and start to plan it. So now you know, okay, I have three really high priority tasks and they’re all pink tasks. So, I know that I’m going to have to do that at a time when my children are occupied. So, I’m going to plan that in my schedule, I’m going to block out time in my calendar to tackle those three pink tasks.

Now I know that I have two green tasks that are not super important, but I do want to get hose done. So, I’m going to put those two green tasks throughout the day, and maybe I’m going to set a timer in my phone to remind me, hey don’t forget to schedule that dentist appointment. Don’t forget to respond to that text message. Whatever it is, I want you to start to put it in your calendar, because I think that’s where a lot of us fall short is that we have good intentions, but we forget. Life gets busy and we have
so much other stuff vying for our attention that if we don’t schedule it in, it won’t get done.

And then those orange tasks are going to be the ones that are kind of like, you know, it doesn’t matter if you get interrupted, schedule some of those in as well. But the key is that before you leave your brain dump session, all of those items have been accounted for on your calendar. And it might seem overwhelming or daunting to do this, but the reason you’re overwhelmed is because you don’t have a plan for it. So, if you start to initiate a plan and you start to put deadlines to your plan, then when you wake up you already have a list of things that need to get done. And now, since you’ve
prioritized them by your focused attention. You’ll know exactly when you can get that done.

I also think that we tend to get really overwhelmed because we don’t think ahead. So, I know this is going to sound super silly, but I want you to schedule time in your schedule to work on scheduling. It sounds super counterproductive, but it’s actually absolutely necessary. I feel like the most
productive people spend more time planning than they do actually implementing. Because it takes a lot more time to get things done without a plan. But if you wake up in the morning and you know, right away exactly what you are to accomplish that day, you are going to be so much more productive and you’re not going to feel flustered and overwhelmed all the
time because you’ve made a plan for everything that’s floating in your brain.

So, I want you to remember that press pause when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Do a brain dump to get all your thoughts, feelings and to do’s onto paper and start to prioritize them. Maybe during that brain dump, you had some aha moments where you’re like you know what, I am not prioritizing my health. I need to schedule in more time to take care of my
body. Or I’m not getting enough sleep, I think that’s why I’m snapping at my kids so much. Maybe I need to go to bed 30 minutes, earlier. So, when you’re processing all of these emotions and it’s time to take action, you can really start to pinpoint what are the things that need to change in your life.

Step # 4: Be okay with “B” Work
Now the final step here is going to be, be okay with B work. And what I mean by this is I think so often me, especially as an Enneagram one, I’m a perfectionist at heart. And I think so many of us want to do things with excellence and we want to do things well. We want everything to be perfect; we want our house to look nice, we want our kids to be well-behaved.
We want our business to thrive, we want to show up on social media. We want to do all the things and check all the boxes and then at the end of the night, we wonder why we’re so exhausted. And I can totally attest to this because I am that perfectionist at heart, and I spend so much time curating things and making them perfect and feeling like everything has to be just so.

But when I start to understand the concept that done is better than perfect, I can start to take a breath. I can be okay with the fact that everything isn’t done to a hundred percent. And when I say this, I don’t want you to think like, oh my gosh, I shouldn’t give my business, my one hundred percent? That’s not what I’m saying, I’m just saying that when you show up,
show up the best that you can without sacrificing your sanity.
So, if that means that you need to rearrange things and you need to readjust, because you’re constantly not giving your best effort to your business, or you’re not giving your best effort to your family, then so be it. You can totally make changes and course correct. But I’m saying that you don’t have to always be on at a hundred percent, you can be okay with B work. I know it’s hard to let go of the need to be in control, but I often think that when we are overwhelmed with our lives, we tend to overcompensate by trying to control everything and everybody around us. And if we were to just take a breath, pause, and reflect, let all of our thoughts and our to- do’s just pour out onto paper, and then took the time to prioritize and make a plan, and be okay with less than perfect work, we are going to find ourselves in a much calmer, peaceful, and joy-filled environment.

So, I hope that you have found this episode today to be very helpful and inspirational. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed anymore, I want you to be able to enjoy everything around you and not feel like you’re constantly dropping the ball.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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