Home is a funny place. Home is where we’re supposed to go to escape from the stress of friends, work, and the outside world in general. But home can also be a place of stress and feeling overwhelmed if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s important to do what we can to eliminate it as much as possible when you’re inside the 4 walls of your home.
While it’s not possible to control everything that causes anxiety and overwhelmedness (I’m starting to think I need to petition to make this a word), it is possible to take some action:
Have a budget. This goes without saying. One of the biggest causes for being overwhelmed is money. Bills, savings, long term planning, day to day expenses—money is part of our day, every day, whether we like it or not. And there is just so much to do! However, trying to do it all at once is frustrating so I recommend, like almost every other personal finance writer that has ever existed, have a budget. Having a budget will eliminate a good deal of your sense of being overwhelmed. You won’t have to figure out how much to pay the credit card company or decided what you have for groceries or put off that necessary haircut or contribute to savings. You’ll already know because you put it all on paper. If you don’t know where to start, Dave Ramsey’s website has a great free tool to get you started.
Having a budget sounds like a lot of work and it is. But the outcome is worth the effort, and your stress level will thank you.
Create a meal plan. I was not blessed with the ability to look at raw ingredients and whip up a meal at a moment’s notice. I know this because, for a while, I tried. I would go to the supermarket, buy what I wanted, and hope that meals would come out of it. They did not. And I would get overwhelmed because I knew I had to feed my family but I couldn’t figure out what so I would maybe freak out a little, perhaps throw in a bit of yelling, and then declare I was not cooking and we needed to order in (like the dad in A Christmas Story. “Everybody, upstairs. Get dressed. We are going out to eat”). Needless to say, it wrecked our budget.
So I decided that I needed to meal plan. And while meal planning does help keep our grocery budget under control, it mainly gives me a sense of calm regarding what to make for dinner. I don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of having to cobble something together that would probably taste terrible and my freak outs are kept to a minimum. Everyone appreciates that.
Organize. We’ve already discussed why it’s important to get organized and methods to do so I’m not going to rehash that. However, I do want to add a bit. Getting organized at home makes everything run much more smoothly and it prevents those “everything is going crazy all at once and I need a break or I’m going to build a blanket cocoon and stay in there with my wine and only my dog is allowed to visit me” moments (although, admittedly, that does sound like a pretty good day). Having your home organized means you’ll get out the door on time. Having your home organized means you won’t have to buy a birthday present 20 minutes before the birthday party nor will you have to feverishly search for wrapping paper. Having your home organized means you get free time back because keys don’t get lost, backpacks aren’t misplaced, and bills are paid on time (you can also accomplish this by automating your bills, something I highly, highly recommend). Having your home organized means you can do activities as a family in peace instead of chaos (controlled chaos is okay. Actual chaos, not so much).
In fact, being organized is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a Pinterest worthy organizational system. It just has to be something that works for you and your family. (Note: lists are my go-to organizational tool. Actually, I love lists so much I have a whole post planned discussing how lists can keep you from feeling overwhelmed).
Whether you live in a household of 1 or 10, there’s opportunity to become overwhelmed. Stressors come with every circumstance and it’s important to find a way to combat that.
Readers, what do you do in your household to keep from feeling overwhelmed?