UPDATE: In the video I mention The Raising Resilience Jumpstart Program... that program has evolved into The Resilience Roadmap and you can find out here when registration opens.
It's so easy to slip into a feeling of overwhelm when you're a parent, right? There's just so much.
Overwhelm is a "sticky" place; it paralyzes us and prevents us from moving forward with the beautiful visions we have for our children's health.
Here's the thing... overwhelm happens when we don't know what to do.
Either we don't have enough information to know what to do, or we have too much information and struggle to implement (for whatever reason.... time, money, energy, picky eaters....)
Which is it for you?
I'd say 98% of the parents who come seek my help with nutrition and feeding struggles are feeling overwhelmed by their kids.
So, we need to spend some time realizing and recognizing that we actually can have some degree of control over our own stress and overwhelm.
Once we learn to control our own stress, our kids reflect that back to us in the most remarkable ways.
"But", says the stressed out parent, "there are just too many things!
"There are lunches to pack and laundry to do, and birthday parties, and sports practices, and then there is the IEP to keep up with and the meltdowns and the sibling fighting, oh and did I mention my child only sleeps for 4 hours?!
"They tell me to make time for myself but there IS no time... and I am exhausted!".
Do you want to move away from stress, panic and overwhelm and towards calm, cool, collected and confident? Even in the face of all those things?
Doing that has everything to do with our mindset and our own health. That is what we need to tap into if we want to get unstuck.
Stress is a response in our bodies that is triggered by our perception of a situation.
Two parents can go through the exact same experience, and in one of them a stress response is triggered (heart pounding, face flushing, mind swirling) while the other stays calm and centred.
Why is that?
It's because their perception of the situation is different (their health status is likely different too... certain nutrient deficiencies can lie at the root of a hair trigger stress response, but that's another topic for another time).
Getting out of overwhelm requires some conscious effort and energy.
Believe it or not, that state of overwhelm can actually be addictive. Yup. You might be keeping yourself on that terrible treadmill because you're so used to the feeling of stress hormones! (crazy to think, I know... but I've been there... overwhelm can be a habit that's tough to break).
Ok... I'm all about strategy, so let's talk practical strategies for getting out of overwhelm. I outline them in the video above -
These are the ways I personally dissolve overwhelm and invite more ease into my life.
1. I Know my resources.
I have coaches I can talk to when things get to be too much. They have become critical to me. Some coaches I pay, others I know from Facebook groups, others are friends who I know "get it". Doesn't matter. Just know who your resources are and if you don't have any, join our Facebook Community... that's a good start. Or get on my mailing list by requesting any of my strategy sheets here. I can be one of those people for you if you need that.
2. I detach so I can re-connect.
Detach from social media, email, instagram.... detaching from All The Stuff is the fastest way to re-connect to you.
I know I just said engage with your coaches... but what I mean here is detach from the clutter. Be extremely selective about who you connect with when you're overwhelmed.
Other people influence your energy so make sure the people you allow in are bringing the right kind of energy to you. Detach from the rest.
3. I move my body.
Overwhelm is a sticky, heavy place. Get your body moving to bring your focus and energy back to you.
Walk, stretch, bounce, run up and down the stairs... whatever works. It'll help your brain.
4. I breathe.
This is another way to reconnect you back to you. Deep breaths. Deeper than you've taken all year. Repeat.
If you're into more you can try the balance breathing technique my friend Emily from Ziva Meditation teaches in this video here. It is a technique I use regularly now.
5. I consciously become grateful.
Focus on the things you have and that you love. Remember moments in time, objects, things you've accomplished. Nothing is too trivial. Revel in your accomplishments. These things fade into the background of our consciousness when we're overwhelmed. Bring them forward.
Now I can focus on my to-do list.
It's the last thing I do, once I've done all the other stuff.
The to-do list is usually front and centre as soon as you wake up, right? All Those Things To Do!
I suggest you go through steps 1-5.... even if you only take 5 minutes to do that... and only tackle The List once you have reigned in your energy and reclaimed it from all the corners you've been spreading it to.
==> Your energy is yours to give; it's not for others to take without permission. <==
Reign it back in first using all the techniques above, then pick one or two things that are right in front of you to do. Take action. Action makes us feel better.
Overwhelm is going to come and go in your life as a parent. But once you have strategy in place to recognize it and climb out of it, you will see that the first step to moving your family's health forward starts with controlling your own stress and overwhelm. It takes time, but you can start practicing it today.
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Jess is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ and Family Health Expert, specializing in brain health & resilience for kids. She is the author of Raising Resilience: Take the stress out of feeding your family & love your life, a mother and an advocate for children’s health. Her book and online resources have helped families all over the world improve the lives of their children with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD, autism and mood disorders by fitting the food and feeding piece into their health puzzles. She is the 2019 recipient of the CSNNAA award for Clinical Excellence for her work helping families get healthier, and she continues to work at bringing an understanding of the power of good nutrition to the mainstream conversation about children’s mental health, learning, and overall resilience through her blog, courses and as a contributor to print and online magazines. You can reach Jess at www.jesssherman.com
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