10 Tips for Overwhelmed Mums (How To Feel More In Control)

It’s happening again. I have that rising feeling of panic trying to fight it’s way up, that feeling that everywhere I look there are things to do, lists upon lists of urgent issues and tasks that I really should have done, the worry about my relationships, my children, my work, my feelings of frustration and failure. Sound familiar? Do you have times when everything feels out of control and you become overwhelmed by how much you have to do? Find out the methods I use as a mum to feel more in control and fight that feeling of overwhelm. 

Waves crashing on a stony beach
If you are a mum feeling overwhelmed these tips will help you feel more in control

Let’s look at it logically. As a mother in a modern world a feeling of overwhelm every so often is entirely natural (it’s normal for everyone, but as a mum of 3 I'll focus on what I know). As a woman with children I feel a huge amount of pressure to be a great mother, to keep my house neat, tidy and organised, to be a good partner and I also have a responsibility to myself to look after my body and my mind. That’s a lot of plates to juggle and some days it is too much.

If I didn’t sleep maybe I could achieve everything, but realistically there is only so much I can do in a day. I prioritise based on need and interest and some plates get dropped. So I pick them up and sweep the floor and sometimes it’s fine, but every so often the whole stack of plates gets knocked on the floor and I stand there looking at all the little pieces of responsibility, obligations and needs scattered all around me. It all feels too much and I feel totally overwhelmed

I’ve been there before and I have tried and tested solutions which make me feel more in control again. 

10 Ways For Mums To Fight That Feeling Of Being Overwhelmed


Take a couple of slow deep breaths. I’m talking about big yoga breathing where you inhale through your nose, hold for a minute before exhaling slowly through your mouth.

Make a plan. 

Feeling overwhelmed is often caused by feeling everything is out of control so making a plan for what you can control should immediately help. Mine normally take the form of a list of the most important things that need doing. Writing them down stops me worrying I will forget about them and you get to have that feeling of satisfaction as you tick them off.

Ask for help. 

Look down that plan. What can you ask someone else to do? What support do you need to be able to complete tasks? You don’t have to do everything alone.

Have a quick tidy up. 

When I am behind on EVERYTHING, that means my house is a mess too. I hate walking from room to room and seeing the state it’s in and it makes me feel even more out of control. So I pick a room that can be sorted out fairly quickly, give it a bit of a tidy and a vacuum. Every time I walk into that room and see it’s tidy I feel a bit calmer. Even having vacuumed stairs works for me.

Complete the quick wins. 

This is a technique borrowed from my project management experience, it's always good to have a few small tasks that you can do quickly so it feels like you are making progress. Normally on my to do list there are a few items that don’t take long to do, but have been hanging around for a while. They are often admin tasks like booking a dentist appointment or the car in for it's MOT. Spending a few minutes to get those done makes me feel like I am achieving progress.

Tackle the big ugly bear.

Is there one particularly task that is really stressing you out? Are you putting it off because just the thought of it makes you panicked? Well that’s the next thing you need to focus on. If you get it done it will make everything else feel easier to manage. If it is too big or can’t be completed yet then break it down into smaller tasks and have a plan for how you will complete it. The plan alone will help, but if you can complete some of the sub-tasks too it again will make you feel more in control.


It can be hard to motivate myself to exercise, but I know the best exercise for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to go for a run. I find when I’m really pushing myself and playing loud music I can’t really think about anything else. If that doesn’t work for you find out what does, going out for a 5 or 10 minute walk in fresh air might work wonders for how you are feeling. 

Get lost in music.

If you can’t get out putting on some music you love and dancing round the room can work well too. Not a dancer? Maybe you prefer to sit with your eyes closed and pretend to play the piano or air guitar. Choose your music and do it your way, but I find playing it loud or wearing headphones to block out everything else works best.

Look in control. 

Take a look at yourself in the mirror. When did you last wash? Is your hair brushed? Are your clothes clean? Are you wearing make up? If not maybe give it a go. You don't need to spend hours getting ready, but how you look affects both how you feel about yourself and how others treat you. 

Take time to heal. 

Start with a 5 minutes break for a cup of tea, but as you start to fight the feeling of overwhelm make sure you take time for a proper break and treat yourself. Feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed puts your body under a lot of pressure as well as your mind so you need to give yourself a chance to repair the damage.


If it continues to be too much you might want to consider professional help, contact your GP or local mental health service. I hope this helps and I would love to hear from you if you have any other tips to share.

10 Ways to... how to fight the feeling of overwhelm
Tips to help you feel more in control

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