What to do when you’re struggling

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

“After all this parenting, I think I’ll become a hostage negotiator. Seems less stressful.” (Unknown Internet genius on Pinterest.)

This. Exactly. The struggle is real. We’re simple yelling on a bullhorn to tiny felons who constantly demand more and more that we are not able to give.

Are you stressed? Are you going through an extra hard time?

I want to start off by saying: There is no shame in that. Parenting is insanely hard, and it is a full-time job that never ends.

My goal in starting this blog was to help people solve problems. I like taking people’s insecurities and issues and struggles and helping them find solutions. I am not necessarily a natural nurturer, but I am an empath, and I don’t like seeing people going through difficult times.  It makes me feel bad.

I have been through more than my fair share of difficult times, and I hope people find inspiration on my blog. I fully believe in the power of paying it forward as a tool to help my own mental health issues.

So, if you are struggling, you are not alone. I’ve been there. Stay tuned for my pro tips for feeling more relaxed and letting go.

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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.

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Let’s be real for a second

Today, I don’t really have any genius, never seen before, solutions to present. It’s one of those days where I have just enough to get by. 

But if I could guess, that’s not why you’re reading this post anyway. I think you’re reading this because you wanted to hear from a mom that is going through the same things you are.

You want to feel heard.

You want to feel seen.

You’re craving validation.

Validation time: I am driving the struggle bus through a circus of fire. Oh crap, the brakes are giving out.

I’m tired, I have a stomach ache, I’m anxious, I’m crabby.

There is shame in the mom struggle at times.  I think as a society we are getting better, but there is still the omnipresent undertone of, “Wow.  She’s a mess.  Get your life together.” Rather than linking arms and Red Rovering the shit out of life together, it is sometimes easier to turn our nose up, and say, “Well, at least it isn’t me.”

feeling overwhelmed

It sounds cliché but we all need to stick together. We need to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. We need to offer help to those who are struggling.

It’s part of being a human to life a life of empathy. What is empathy? It’s just plain old feeling for other people. Celebrating with them. Commiserating. Understanding. Crying with them when they’re sad.

Have you ever been mom shamed? It sucks, doesn’t it? I’ve been the victim, and I’ve been the perpetrator. It’s a common epidemic that I’m sure every parent reading this can relate to. Even dads. We live in a society where we simultaneously need to learn to mind our own business, and need to be more intentional about reaching out.

Kindness. That’s all it is. Simple kindness.

That’s why I’m reaching out to you with this post. I want to break the cycle and create a new one.

Instead of “stressed mom -> vents -> people react negatively”… we need to implement the following:

Stressed mom -> uses coping strategy -> feels better -> shares with fellow stressed people -> people feel understood.

The world is in pretty bad shape, and it will only get worse if we don’t stick together.

What to do when you’re struggling

Here is a list of things you can try when you’re struggling. None of it is revolutionary, but I’m hoping it resonates with you.

Take a hot bath

This is seriously one of my favorite things. It’s a great stress buster, and it gives mom something they crave on a regular basis: Peace and quiet. Just turn on your favorite podcast and soak away your troubles.

ESCAPE the house

Go somewhere without kids. Even if it’s just to the grocery store. That can feel like a tropical vacation when you’ve spent all day changing poopy diapers and watching Blippi. Lots of grocery stores have places to get coffee, so treat yourself and enjoy the personal space.

Snuggle with your kiddos

Sometimes, you just have to sit back and appreciate the little things. Those warm, small fingers around yours. The way their hair smells after a bath. Just take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Remember why you’re doing all this in the first place.

Write it down every time something good happens

Make it a habit to write down the positive things that happen through out the course of your day. Writing things down helps us reinforce them in our mind. When we focus on the good, we have an easier time forgetting the bad.

Journal

Journaling has a lot of amazing benefits. One of them is that it helps get out all those thoughts in your head, and allows you some space to sift through them. Are they valid? Totally illogical? Helpful? Destructive? Take some time to think about these things before you go to bed.

Call in for back up

Yes, mama, ask for help! I know it’s hard. We want to feel like we can do it all, but the truth is, we just can’t. I’ve tried and failed, and you probably have too. So ask your partner for help. Or call up Grandma, Aunt Sue, or your favorite neighbor. I’m sure they would be happy to help!

Break a sweat at the gym

Exercising releases those feel good chemicals that we need to be happy. You can feel happy without exercising, but I’m convinced it’s much harder. Science backs this up, so go for that walk. Even if it’s 15 minutes, done regularly this will make you feel better.

Eat well (don’t load up on junk)

The way we eat has a major effect on our moods. For instance a diet filled with sugary snacks, as well as too much caffeine our alcohol, can make you feel more depressed and anxious than you already are. So try healthy grains and fats, and tons of fresh fruits and veggies.

Read a good book

Reading is an escape like no other. I’ve been a bookworm since preschool. I love when my imagination rides on the feathers of an owl to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Or roams the dark, dusty rooms of Thornfield Hall. Reading for even 20 minutes a day can be the best self care!

Here are some of my favorite “de-stress” products

epsom salt, feeling overwhelmed

Amazon Brand – Solimo Epsom Salt Soak, Magnesium Sulfate USP, 8 Pound

the night circus, feeling overwhelmed

The Night Circus (one of my favorite books!)

kindle, feeling overwhelmed

Fire HD 8 Tablet (8″ HD Display, 16 GB) – Black

journal, feeling overwhelmed

Zen as Fck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sht (Zen as F*ck Journals)

My favorite podcast, a great true crime escape!

Advice from someone who’s been there

Don’t be ashamed of your struggles. Don’t let them be a quilt that you snuggle under on a rainy day. Live them out loud. Share them.  PUBLICLY.  (I know that’s a bit scary, so take it one step at a time.)

I know I’m not yet some Nobel Prize winning blogger whose story will reach millions and change the world. But if admitting that I am struggling can help even one person make their life a little better… Well, I truly and wholeheartedly believe that that is what life’s all about.

Are you struggling a bit? Let me know in the comments, and make sure to share this post with all your mom friends!

If you’re struggling in life, hang in there. After a ton of rain, sometimes there’s a rainbow.


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Related posts about feeling overwhelmed:

Parenting Expectations vs Reality

5 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout

How to Maintain Adult Friendships

The Benefits of Having a Sister

7 Interesting Facts About Anxiety

44 thoughts on “What to do when you’re struggling”

    1. I love going for walks. Especially alone so I can just let my mind wander and not be forced into conversation. Thanks for reading 🙂

  1. I supposed I do have some stress I’m not digging into, but it feels more like anxiety, combined with menopause. There’s not a lot of sleep happening.

    1. I’ve heard menopause is really challenging. Hopefully you’re able to get some good sleep soon. Hang in there!

  2. Enjoyed this post. I’m going to look into the Zen as F*ck book. I started Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness but never made it through it all. :/

    1. Never read anything by them, but I love the quote I see posted on social media by other people! I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for reading!

    1. For sure! Lots of people assume that really truly struggling is healthy and they can somehow just deal with it. Thanks for reading!

  3. Oh yes! I understand what are you talking about! It’s not easy at all to do parenting these days!

  4. These are all wonderful ideas. I’m sure we’ve all been a bit stressed lately. I love to sit down with a good book too. It’s one of my favorites.

    1. My friend who is a social worker even advocates having a physical “self care box.” I think that is a great idea. I’m gonna try to make one soon. Thanks for reading!

  5. Great thoughts on this. It totally makes sense that we want to feel validated. And why it feels so good to vent and be understood. These are such good points!

    1. Thanks! I always tell my husband, “Don’t try to solve my problem. Just listen.” We just want to be heard. Thanks for reading!

  6. Wheewwwww. You talking some stuff that I need.
    My oldest JUST turned 3 and she makes me want to pull my hair out, today was one of those days where i wanted to really scream! Because she was in rare form but this blog right here. Needed, I’m glad someone else can relate, some days I want to ball up in a corner and break down, some days I’m so stressed out, there are good days as well but she pushes alllllll my buttons and she knows it 😀.
    Thank you for this

    1. no problem! I can relate, because my 3 year old is the same way. Even as I type this, I’m reprimanding her. LOL. Hang in there. They’ll be 4 eventually! Thanks for reading 🙂

  7. Parenting can be super stressful at times, especially when the kids are really young and need so much of your time and energy. These are wonderful suggestions to help relieve some of the stress. I wish more people had kindness as their default reaction.

  8. Great advice!! It really is a hard time when you’re struggling with mam stuff, and I agree that too many women just bring eachother down instead of helping eachother out. It’s quite sad really. Having a bath is my fave relaxing time!! X

    1. That’s my favorite too! Throw a bath bomb in there to make it smell nice, and it’s the perfect way to unwind. Thanks for reading 🙂

  9. Thank you for posting this! I’m a college student who is overloaded with class, work, and extra curricular activities. This was the validation I needed to keep pushing on!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad you liked it! Keep up all the hard work. Hopefully the finish line (or easier times) is right around the corner

  10. Snuggle with the kiddos! I know the feeling from snuggling my cousins and little brother. It is a precious feeling and something I have felt more then once through writing about it in my books.

    A soak out in our hot tub under the stars makes all the worries sink away. 🙂

    1. Ooh a hot tub under the night sky sounds heavenly. I soaked up a ton of snuggles today! My 4 year old is particularly lovey lately and it made me feel better

  11. It’s so hard to be a mum (or dad), even without mental illness on top of it. I have so much respect for parents because I honestly feel like I would lose my mind.
    As much as I want kids, I see how I was treated growing up and it scares me. What if I end up becoming my mum? You know?

    Anyway, I hope you take some of your own advice today and once the kiddies see Santa, you take that bath!

    1. I’m drawing the bath now! I was gonna escape around 520 for the rest of the night and have Ken feed the kids and put them to bed… but then he said, “do you want an extra half hour?” ??

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