There’s been a lot of talk about “the mental load” lately. Particularly how it affects mums – the “human octopuses” juggling a million-and-one things at once.
The scene usually goes a little like this — you’ve been up since the crack of dawn rushing to get everything done. You’re frantically searching for matching pairs of socks while checking emails and calling your partner to remind him it’s his mum’s birthday. You’re already running late, but you quickly put another load of washing on, meanwhile, your dear little one is saying “Mum, I’m hungry”, “I want more strawberries”, “what are we doing today mummy….”?
It’s not even 9am and your mind’s already in overdrive doing it’s very best to stay on top of ALL. THE. THINGS.
For many of us, it can often seem like we have no other choice than to keep going. Even more relentless than the never ending loads of washing, this ‘mental load’ – is REAL and EXHAUSTING. Deep down we know it’s not sustainable.
So, what can we actually do about it? How can we take control and slow this crazy mental race down a little?
Here are 5 ways to get started:
- Name it to tame it. Start with noticing what your mind is buzzing about right now and simply become aware. You can’t change what you don’t notice, so acknowledge what’s going on for you in this moment. It doesn’t sound like much, but noticing that constant chatter in your mind while it churns through the to-do list is huge.
- Pause & Breathe. Okay, this is obviously near impossible in the middle of the morning rush, so try practicing a few conscious breaths while waiting in traffic, or before you go to bed at night. It’s important to make a regular and deliberate effort to get out of autopilot and reconnect with yourself. With any luck, you’ll also acknowledge what’s absolutely necessary and what’s superfluous when it comes to your mental load.
- Think of one thing you can delegate to ease the burden today. Consider whether or not it really is a disaster if someone else does it less efficiently than you. Try to adjust your expectations and keep an open mind.
- Instead of trying to remember ALL. THE. THINGS. Use technology to your advantage and use an app like Wunderlist or To-Do-List where you can offload everything that pops into your head as it happens. You can even set reminders for others in order to cultivate a more regular habit of delegating. Go on, we dare you
- Add one more thing to your to-do list – YOU!” Being kind to yourself is as practical as it is loving. Realise you’re doing your very best and make it a non-negotiable to do something that lights you up everyday. Put on some of your favourite tunes and dance, call your bestie, do a few yoga stretches, or take a relaxing bath. Prioritising feel good activities in amongst all the ‘doing’ will help reduce stress and prevent you from feeling like life is all work and no play.
Life is full on, but it’s important to notice when you’re getting swept up in the all-consuming nature of it. All it takes is just a few daily practices like these to pull yourself back into the present moment. Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress and help harness our mental energy for the better.
For more guidance, click here to download a free mindful breathing meditation and register your interest for our online sanctuary of classes dedicated to nurturing YOU throughout motherhood.