How to Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed as a Parent as 2020 Closes Out

If being a parent didn’t have enough trials and tribulations before, 2020 somehow managed to create even more road bumps as parents everywhere work to keep up with all of the changes and adjustments. Not only are many parents adjusting to new school routines and demands for their children, but they’re also simultaneously juggling their own lives, navigating new work schedules, home offices, distanced relationships, etc.

Needless to say, the state of ‘overwhelmed’ is somewhat of a collective feeling for parents this year.

And while some creative things can be done to actually change the circumstances that are causing this feeling of being overwhelmed, many of the changes are non-negotiable, which means parents are needing to learn how to better deal with overwhelm altogether. Mentally, emotionally, and physically, parents with children of every age are being challenged now more than ever.

So, what exactly could you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed so that you don’t resort to bad habits or negative reactions? Below are four tips that can help you stay calm and in control even when everything around you seems chaotic.

Observe. First and foremost, it’s important to take time to observe what’s happening when you’re feeling overwhelmed. This, of course, is difficult to do because our immediate reaction is to get involved in order to make things better. But, as long as no one’s safety is at risk, it’s important to spend a few moments observing what’s happening. This can help you keep your calm while also giving you time to gather your thoughts so that you don’t overreact. For most people, observing is done best from a slight distance and with no distractions. That means, remove yourself from the situation, take a breather on the sidelines, and try to see and understand what’s really happening so that you get to the root of the problem rather than just addressing what’s immediately happening in front of you.

Take deep breaths. As simple as it sounds, taking long deep breaths really can help you stay calm when you’re feeling overwhelmed. While there are a lot of different methods you can use to slow down your breathing, really all you need to do is turn your attention to your breath and then do your best to make your inhalations and exhalations longer. Proven effective again and again, deep, mindful breathing really can shift your mind and your mood.

Make time for exercise. Easier said than done, right? Exercise is a great way to combat feeling or being overwhelmed, which is why you should work to get in some sort of physical activity every single day. Whether it’s a short online class or a jog outside, moving your body can help you refocus your mind. Not to mention, the endorphins released from exercise really do make you feel happier so when that feeling of being overwhelmed begins to set in, you’re better able to cope with it from a positive place.

Anchor your body. A lot of people start to feel out of control or even out of body when they are overwhelmed. Physically anchoring your body, then, can help you stay grounded. If the idea of anchoring yourself sounds foreign, think about simply taking time to pay attention to your body. It’s often recommended to start with your feet and then work your way up. Notice where you are holding tension and where in your body you can relax and release. Feeling a connection to something solid, like the ground or the earth beneath you, can help you regain control when things start to seem like they’re spinning out of control.

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