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5 simple things you can do if you feel overwhelmed as a new mum

Published Mar 12th, 2021 by

Louise Hurley

New mums will agree that having a baby is HARD and at times overwhelming but that doesn't mean that you should just put up with it and accept it. Louise Hurley shares her five simple and achievable tips for reducing the overwhelm of motherhood.

5 simple things you can do if you feel overwhelmed as a new mum

How many times have you heard a new mum say, “Having a baby has been one of the easiest things I’ve ever done”?

Hopefully your answer is none (and if you do hear someone say that, don’t believe them, don’t become new-mum-besties and back away slowly…)

This is because having a baby is HARD and at times overwhelming, especially when running on such little sleep.

However, this doesn’t mean that we should just put up with it and accept the overwhelm. Whilst I can’t promise you more sleep or reduce the mountain of laundry, I can share with you my five top tips (based on general Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques) for reducing the overwhelm of motherhood:

1. Prioritise a maximum of three tasks per day.

It may sound simple, but putting a limit on what we need to get done is often overlooked and we end up trying to do too much, in too short a time, on too little sleep. Prioritise a maximum of three tasks per day. What needs to be done first? Is it achievable to do these three tasks? If not, cut it back to one or two tasks. If yes, make a plan of how you’ll fit it into your day.

2. It’s OK to say “no” to people.

When we find ourselves saying “yes” to friends or family and later regretting it because we have too much on our plate, it can add to that feeling of overwhelm.  Being a mum means that free time is often minimal, so it’s OK to say “no” or “not this week”. I’m not saying you have to reject all offers of socialising or never help a friend in need ever again, but it’s important to put your own needs first, which occasionally means saying “no”.

3. Try to reduce the physical symptoms of overwhelm or anxiety with controlled breathing.

Feelings of overwhelm are often accompanied with physical symptoms of anxiety: increased rate of breath, sweating or claminess, brain fog, increased heart rate, etc. Try this: Each evening this week set aside time to practice controlled breathing on your own. Sit somewhere comfortably and set a timer for three minutes. Breathe in for three, two, one, and out for three, two one. Repeat for three minutes. Next time you start to feel overwhelmed take one or two controlled breaths to help reduce the physical symptoms of overwhelm and anxiety.

4. Delegate responsibilities, chores or tasks.

Tell your partner, family or friends that you need help rather than doing it all yourself. Sometimes, family and friends see us doing everything and see us not asking for help, and therefore think that we have it all together and are coping well. Tell those around you what you need.

5. It’s OK to not feel OK all of the time.

But it’s not OK to keep it to yourself and struggle on. If you feel that the overwhelm of motherhood is getting too much and that it’s affecting your ability to enjoy being a mum, then reach out for professional support, starting with your GP or one of these online services:

www.PANDA.org.au

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.lifeline.org.au – or call 13 11 14

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Written by

Louise Hurley
MumSafe™ Trainer at 
Strong Mums

About the Author

Louise’s mission is to help mums feel fitter, healthier and stronger through a supportive and motivating community. Whether it’s been 6 weeks or 6 years, no matter how long ago you had children she can help you to safely return to exercise and restrengthen your body so that you can start to take back some control in this crazy roller coaster of motherhood and feel more like you again. Strong Mums isn’t about “bouncing back” after having a baby or getting your pre-baby body back. It’s about feeling fit, healthy and strong enough to keep up with the demands of your little tribe.

Louise’s mission is to help mums feel fitter, healthier and stronger through a supportive and motivating community. Whether it’s been 6 weeks or 6 years, no matter how long ago you had children she can help you to safely return to exercise and restrengthen your body so that you can start to take back some control in this crazy roller coaster of motherhood and feel more like you again. Strong Mums isn’t about “bouncing back” after having a baby or getting your pre-baby body back. It’s about feeling fit, healthy and strong enough to keep up with the demands of your little tribe.?