When I entered the dining room, the table was full with dirty dishes, the kitchen counter had no free space, at least 3 or 4 pans waited for me to wash them. I look to the left and no ray of hope shone from the living area. The table was full with my daughter’s craft materials, pillows were everywhere, empty plates were also there. And behind the sofa was not better, the playing-corner is basically a tears-inducing zone, the prospect of picking up the thousand playmobils pans and glasses was really out of my dream of a beautiful future. I mean, I have my own pans and plates to clean up, why should I do the miniatures as well??
In 30 seconds, the surge of stress hormones filled my system. It got more difficult to breathe, all I wanted to do is to escape from this mess. Escape from this situation. I wanted to go upstairs and go into my room, closed the door and sleep, but then I remembered that my bed was still messy. The unfolded clothes waiting for me, mocking every millimeters left of my sanity. Where should I run, what should I do?
Who’s childish enough to be overwhelmed by houseworks? I do. And apparently many people feel the same way. I guess. At least the people diagnosed with depression might feel the same way with me. And no, I’m not clinically depressed, but every morning at 9 am whenever I’m home after taking my children to school I happened to be a mom with depression.
Taking pills is no option, eating chocolate and chips could help but not with the dirty pans, so I needed to think of other ways.
Table of Contents
One of my favorite tools is my timer. I loved to limit my time. Actually what I do is limit my expectation of myself. When I feel overwhelmed I can’t process too many things at once and limiting my time can help me focus and stop panicking.
I love the fact that I have a timer in my watch so I can easily go here and there without my phone.
Minimize the distractionIn the time of feeling overwhelmed, there’s no greater temptation other than running away and scrolling my phone pretending I have no problem at hands. It takes the courage of a hero to put away the distraction and start working out the problem. But it is always worth the effort.
Separation of affect
A new insight I got lately from this book made me realize there’s this skill that has to be mastered by every human being, that is the skill of separation of affect: the capacity to separate or detach oneself from the emotions caused by frustration.
While emotions can be useful for mobilizing or energizing people to solve a problem, thinking is how problems get solved. The skill of separation affect permits people to put their emotions “on the shelf” in order to think through solutions to problems more objectively, rationally, and logically.Ross W. Greene PhD (The Explosive Child)
This certainly is not a new thing for me, but not until recently I found this “formula” in sentence, and reading and thinking about it made me realise that many times I let my emotions control me. And the fact that I rarely put a conscious effort to separate my emotions from my thoughts is a good reason I get overwhelmed and panic so easily.
My watch lets me know my stress-level and helps me with the breathing exercise and then makes me all excited to see the pointer goes from yellow (or even red) to green colour. I’m not fizzy enough to check my stress-level every 30 minutes but every time I feel suffocated while washing the dishes I can guess the pointer is now already in the red zone! When I was dealing with my panic attack I was suggested this breathing technique so I believe this would help also at the “small attack” in my daily overwhelming tasks.
So these are some “techniques” I apply whenever I’m overwhelmed. Perhaps this can be a help for someone, or for myself when I forget and get overwhelmed again 😝