Category Archives: Emotional Wellness

5 Myths Overwhelmed Moms Believe

overwhelmed-moms

Being a mom has its exciting and tender moments. But it can also be stressful and frustrating, especially in today’s busy, fast-paced, indulging culture. We care so much for our children, and want the best for them. But we can lose sleep over them, because we want everything to be just right for them the next day.

When we over-give of ourselves, we can become drained and begin easily yelling at our children for the little things. To cope with feeling overwhelmed and irritable, many moms are turning to prescription stimulants or alcohol to get through the day.

In an age where we are trying to do more for our kids than ever, it can be hard to realize we have choices. It’s no wonder the movie Bad Moms has been such a hit. Moms are tired and want permission to slow down, breathe, and do less.

So I’m here to help lend a hand. I want to invite you to tune into what’s driving you to be overwhelmed when it comes to being a parent. I realize my invitation is being delivered in a crowded sea of Pinterest inspired ideas to be the perfect, creative, organized mom. But in this moment, I want you to reflect instead on what’s best for you.

Identify Mindset that Drives You to Be an Overwhelmed Mom

Let’s first take a look at the myths overwhelmed moms typically believe. Before you can see your choices, you need to be aware of what’s behind your frenzied pace, mom meltdowns, or sleepless nights. Read through these myths and note which ones you relate to the most:

Myth #1: “I can do more if I speed up.” To get more done, I need to schedule more things into my day and on my to do list. I almost always feel hurried to get somewhere or get something done at a certain time. When I hurry myself, I am more forgetful, less present, and more irritated.

Myth #2: “I must protect my loved ones from rejection and unhappiness.” Moms that believe this myth believe their primary role is to raise kids that are happy and well-liked. Its hard to see my kids upset, so I usually let them have what they want even if I said no the first time. I don’t think my kids can handle rejection, so I try to talk to mediate their social problems at school. I give my kids advice often, because I don’t think they know how to solve their own problems.

Myth #3: “No one else will do it (or do it right).” I can’t stand the way my kids or spouse clean up, so I need to do it myself. If I don’t do everything around the house, then no one else will do it. I wish I could do less, but it’s so hard for me to leave things undone.

Myth #4: “If I meet my families needs, they will meet mine.” If I invest in others, they will invest in me. I don’t need to carve out time for myself, because I’m waiting on others to tell me it’s ok to slow down and do less. If I make them happy, they will make me happy. I don’t know how to make myself happy without their actions.

Myth #5: “I must always be prepared for every possible outcome.” Moms that believe this myth are always prepared and a step ahead. As a mom, we need to possess super-human ability to take care of others. We must know what others need even when they don’t know themselves. We must have everything ready for them to be successful. We must protect them from failure, as others can’t handle learning from their own mistakes.

Increase Awareness on What Drives You to Drain Yourself

Awareness can be uncomfortable, but it is the first step toward change. Doing so takes courage, so thank yourself for taking the time to answer these questions. Which myth are you believing that creates more fuel to hurry up, over-give, and drain yourself empty?

I struggle with Myth #5 the most. The idea that I don’t have to be prepared for everything and that my kids can prepare themselves is something I’m still working on. Problems can go unsolved. My kids can experience their own consequences for being unprepared, learn from them, and be ok.

When you stop doing it all, your kids or family may blame you. They don’t want you to change. But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have a choice and an invitation to slow down, reflect and choose differently next time.

Christine Arylo in her podcast on the “Super Power of Slowing Down” invites all women to complete this sentence: “If I slow down, I fear ________________.” How do you complete this sentence?

Share your answers to these reflections in the comment section, so other moms know they aren’t alone. And stay tuned for Part 2 in the “Overwhelmed Mom” series. We will explore how to make “Empowering Choices” as  a mom in a world that doesn’t make it easy to slow down and tune into what you need.


I love working with moms from all seasons of life! If you tired of being overwhelmed and want to feel less stressed out, set aside an hour to devote to self-care and consult with Marci at her office. Or Missouri residents can also consult with her online via Talkspace.

 

5 Focusing Skills for Managing Worry

Humans are the only ones who can turn the stress response on by imagining threatening situations in our minds. When you worry, you are believing the “what if’s” that you tell yourself. Your fear response is activated as if there is real danger. If you were in danger the stress response would help you get out of danger. But without a real threat to deal with, you are left with excess nervous energy and nowhere to put it.

When anxiety is high, you can literally feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. So it’s understandable that most people want to avoid feeling anxious or things that trigger anxiety. In the long run, avoidance reinforces your fear that you can’t handle the situation. Unfortunately, the worry becomes more set in and your self-confidence lowers.

Imagine you are already worried whether or not someone likes you at a dinner party, and you try to get completely calm before going to the party. Or you avoid going to the party so you can calm your worry. Either way feeling allergic to the anxious feelings and sensations can add to the original worry over time.

“We’ve inherited a lifetime of challenges, it’s not about avoiding it, it’s about finding a way to manage it, and going as far as you can with it.” ~Murray Bowen, MD

So how do you carry on in spite of your fear fantasies when all you want to do is run away from your worry? Most people want to try to calm down first, but that can make you feel anxious about being anxious.By focusing more on your thinking and choices, you can turn nervous feelings into useful energy.

How to Manage Worry with 5 Focusing Skills

Are you are tired of letting anxiety and worry direct your life or keep you from enjoying life? Here are 5 skills you can practice to show your worry you can carry on in spite of it.

  1. Focus on thinking more than feelings: People can worry about almost anything and be convinced that their worry is true. It’s important to know the difference between your worry (anxiety = what if) and thinking (fact = what is), so you can choose which one you want to think and act on.
  2. Focus on choices more than outcome: We are all motivated to eliminate discomfort or seek pleasure. But sometimes the more we focus on wanting to overcome anxiety, the more the anxiety takes hold. Instead focus on what you want to put your mental energy into: thinking about the fear or thinking about your choices.
  3. Focus on the big picture more than the narrow view: When you worry, you can only see a narrow viewpoint and it’s usually negative. Take a step back and look at the whole picture. Who was involved in the problem you are worried about and what part did they play? Or would anyone be anxious about this stressful situation you are experiencing?
  4. Focus on tolerating anxiety more than eliminating anxiety: Focus on how long the anxiety lasts before it passes. While it may feel like you can’t handle the anxious feelings, it will pass. Think about how long you have tolerated the anxious feelings. This will help you access a different part of your brain instead of the alarm center that goes off when feeling anxious.
  5. Focus on goals more than avoidance: It may sound counter-intuitive, but you don’t have to be calm in order to pursue goals. In fact, some anxiety is motivating when we turn it into energy. If the goal is more important than how nervous you feel, then focus on your goal and the steps you will keep taking. Over time, you are proving to  yourself that you can harness the energy to pursue your goal even if anxious.

Practicing these 5 focusing skills when worried will boost your confidence over time that you can face challenges. While you may not ever be symptom free, you can rise to the challenges in life and within your mind. And live in spite of the fears by showing your worry you’re in charge.

If you find these cognitive techniques challenging but useful, it can be helpful to consult an objective person, such as a licensed counselor. Someone that won’t add to the anxiety but can coach you toward the personal growth you so desire.

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Marci offers face-to-face counseling services in the Kansas City, MO area and is available for coaching via Skype. If you are stuck and want some coaching on managing your worry better, Schedule an appointment today.

Growing Through Divorce

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Divorce is not a failure, it’s an ending or changing of a relationship with different degrees of cutoff. Some divorces involve complete cutoff (or avoidance), while others are friendly and cooperative.

There will be many changes to adapt to and emotions to work through. And it can take 1-3 years to adapt to the changes that divorce brings in order to return to your pre-divorce state of well-being. Many people want to speed up the divorce process in hopes that this will make them hurt less, but the legal divorce is not the same as the emotional divorce.

In divorce process, you grieve the loss of a relationship and future plans together, but some day you will make new plans and new memories. It is possible to grow through the divorce if you have the courage to take responsibility for your well being outside of this relationship. In my coaching and counseling work, people have shared with me what’s helped them along the way of adapting and growing through their divorce.

4 Ways to Cope When Trying to Grow Through a Divorce:

When emotions are flooding you, it can seem impossible to get on top of the way you feel. But our amazing brain has the ability to override emotions by accessing the thinking part of the brain. By focusing more on goals and functioning, you can’t stop the hurt but you can keep living and connecting.

1. Focus on Daily Functioning – While you can’t stop the hurt from following you around, you can focus more on your functional goals. The more you focus on your goals and functioning, the less you focus on the discomfort of living through the breakup. Then, you begin to realize you aren’t just worried about living without that person, but you are making it without that person.

Set simple goals like: 1) getting out of bed, 2) taking a shower, 3) going to work, 4) eating even when lost appetite, 5) helping kids with homework, etc. List 1-3 small daily goals. The goals must be so important to you that you need to do them even though you feel miserable right now.

2. Get More Connected – When you are losing someone, you lose an emotional and social resource. It’s more important than ever to get more connected. Reconnect with friends and family you’ve lost touch with or join a group to meet new people. In developing relationships, you find reassurance that you are less alone than you thought. You also hear how others navigate living through their ups and downs.

3. Set Emotional & Relational Goals – At some point, most people decide they don’t want to be done in by their divorce. Begin setting long term goals to help guide you through the rough waters that lie ahead of you. Possible goals are endless but may include: a) letting go of resentment, b) not putting kids in the middle, c) take responsibility for own happiness, d) finding cooperative ways to communicate with your ex, and e) not viewing differences as a threat.

4. Make Sense of Marriage Ending Without Blame Assignment –  People feel very strongly about divorce and find it hard to not take sides or pass blame back and forth. Some will blame the other while others will take all the blame themselves. Neither way of thinking is completely accurate. Both people play a part in co-creating the marriage relationship or environment, but neither is solely responsible.

If you take all the blame, you will have a hard time letting go of guilt. And if you blame the other, you will have a hard time letting go of anger. But if you take responsibility for just your part, then you will have something you can work on either for yourself or in future relationships.

Accept the Invitation to Grow:

At some point, you will begin to accept the reality of your loss without feeling hopeless about adapting to the divorce. When you accept the invitation to grow yourself without taking all the blame, you will start to notice that you are making it without your significant other. One day you will let go of the fantasy to reconcile to be happy and you will find you can be happy without that person. It is gradual and you can’t force it to happen, as there are no quick fixes when adapting to loss.

It may be hard to imagine, but some day you will be able to let go and move on. The more you turn this difficult time into an opportunity to learn about yourself, the better off you and your future relationships will be.

Many people find meaning once they go through hard times. They realize they can do hard stuff. Divorce invites you to re-evaluate your life, to reinvent yourself, and to try new things, including how to relate in different ways.

Please share what has helped you cope, adapt, and/or grow through a divorce.

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Schedule a mental health checkup today either face to face or online with Marci. She offers individualized coaching to help you meet your own relational and emotional needs.

Photo Credit: “Sunflower Rain” by H. Koppdelaney