Let’s talk about overwhelm. I cannot speak to what men experience but I can speak to what so many women experience. We are consistently exhausted and overwhelmed by the many demands life places on us. When grief is added into this mix all of these thoughts swirling around in our heads are suddenly exacerbated one hundredfold. How do I get the laundry folded when I can’t stop crying? How do I show my children peace and love when my mind and my heart don’t feel these things? Do these questions sound familiar?
After I created this graphic I sat back and looked at it. And one thing was glaringly obvious. Where is the call to stop and pray? Where is the thought to take a break and breathe? Where are the reminders that will allow me to anchor myself and begin again? None of these work-related, home-related, mother related, wife related, woman related, thoughts are going away any time soon. So what can I do to survive the constant overwhelm?
Let’s talk about some steps we can each take to help ourselves throughout the day.
1. Pray – and I don’t just mean that quick “Jesus help me” that we all toss-up. I mean, really pray. Really stop. Involve the kids if needed. But pray. So often I don’t do this but I did not realize how often until I stopped to look at this graphic. St. Phillip Neri says, ” There is nothing the devil fears so much, or so much tries to hinder, as prayer.” Enough said. Today, I must pray.
2. Breathe – Where in this graphic have I stopped to breathe? We have to stop in the midst of our busyness and just rest for a moment. Remember that Daniel Tiger episode you watched with your 2-year-old? Yeah, that one. The one where he takes deep breaths to calm himself. Do that. Right now. If my child can do this so can I! And, while we are at it, let’s remember that they are watching us and will learn by example. Want them to be able to calm down during a tantrum? Deep breaths. Lord, help me today to lead by example.
3. Refocus – we have to refocus on what is important. What matters to me today? So often I berate myself because I still struggle with getting angry and frustrated over the things that are just not worth that battle. I KNOW that any of my children could die at any moment yet I still struggle with this. Today, I resolve to ask these questions. What matters most to me today? A clean floor or a joyful heart shining love on my children? Obviously, clean floors matter but never should our joy be stripped away in order to get them clean. I resolve today to worry more about the joy I show my children.
4. Laugh – they say that laughter is the best medicine and I believe that to be true. Have you ever noticed that when you are having a truly difficult day and someone makes you laugh really hard that suddenly your spirits feel lifted? Today, I resolve to laugh when given the opportunity.
5. Dance Party – whaaaaattt? Just trust me on this one! Do it! Today, I resolve to have at least one dance party with my kids. If you don’t have children then dance anyway! And if you have a teenager who is unhappily washing dishes in the kitchen and ignoring the world just take an earbud, stick it in your ear, and dance really crazy all around her. Don’t ask my 16-year-old how we know about this. Again, just trust me! You will see a big smile amid the groans of, “Moooooommm!”
Most of all, try to find the beauty in the small moments today. Right now I cannot fix the chaos in my mind or the suffering in my soul. But I can make small efforts to find joy and pass that joy on to those around me rather than passing on the suffering and exhaustion that I feel so immensely.
The best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last.St. Phillip Neri
Thanks so much to Belle Bear for the blank graphic!