Tips to Lighten Your Mental Load

Life can be pretty stressful between kids, work, bills, chores, finances, etc. The list goes on and on. It is easy to get overwhelmed. It is important to not let this get out of hand though because it can really cause you to burn out if you don’t manage it properly. Follow these tips below on how to lighten your mental load:

What is Mental Load?

Do you ever have that physical feeling of the weight bearing down on your shoulders because you are so overwhelmed in stress? Does your mind ever just keep going and going thinking about all the little things that need to get done? That is your mental load. The mental load isn’t just remembering the big things, but all the small things like having the forethought to buy supplies for an upcoming project or remembering that Thursday is pajama day at your kid’s school.

The thing with mental load is that it can sneak up on you pretty quickly. You think you have a hold of everything and then all of a sudden you feel drained mentally and emotionally. Women, moms in particular, tend to bear this mental load more than men. Dealing with this mental load might cause you to take your stress out on others or perhaps find yourself even less motivated and productive. It is a hard feeling to overcome but it is possible.

Take Time for Yourself

The mental load tends to get out of hand for me when I stop taking care of myself. It is too easy to let everyone else’s problems take priority over my own. Whether it is helping my daughter study for an upcoming test, shuttling my son to and from soccer practice, or helping with extra chores around the house because my husband has an upcoming work deadline; it adds up. When you constantly worry about other people, it becomes easy to put your needs aside and can essentially feel like you are drowning at times.

Lighten your mental load by taking a fitness class

Therefore, it is extremely important to remember to take time to yourself. If you can afford a day off from work, take it. If you want to take an extra long bath, do it. Take the time to disconnect from your phone and go for a hike in nature. Join a group fitness class. Whatever it is, take ten minutes just to do whatever makes you happy. When you treat yourself, it allows you to relax, have patience, and the mental strength to take on a lot more.

Set Goals & Priorities

Think of the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. You should not expect to finish everything you need to do in just one day. While it might feel like nothing can wait and everything needs to get done right now, trust me, some things can wait. Set goals for yourself and break the work up into manageable pieces. Figure out what items need to get done as soon as possible versus which ones can be pushed to another day. This is not to be confused with procrastinating, but rather just prioritizing your time where it is needed most.

Check out my post on how to create daily goals for a positive mindset, which will help you stay focused and prioritize your needs. Additionally, read my tips on how to be more productive during your day.

Write Things Down

I personally could not live without my millions of to do lists. If I write my to dos down, then it isn’t quite as overwhelming as everything seems in my head. Take notice of the items that you could get done in 15 minutes or less and the items that might take up a longer amount of time. I try to tackle whatever seems most daunting first when I feel most motivated. It prevents me from procrastinating and putting off the one thing I hate doing most.

But, don’t just write down the things you need to do as sometimes that list can still be overwhelming. Writing in general is a great way to clear your mind and get your thoughts straight. Write out your feelings and emotions in a journal to vent out anything you need to get off your mind. You might find that a lot of your stress is due to an upcoming event. Or, maybe you will realize you are not getting enough sleep. Take the mental portion out of your mental load by putting it on paper where you can see it and analyze patterns. It will then allow you to make necessary changes to help lighten the load.

Ask for Help

Sometimes stress can grow beyond what we can handle on our own. We are all only human and it is okay to ask for help when you need it. Perhaps you are exhausted from staying up with your newborn or maybe you have an important exam coming up that has you studying all day. Call up a friend or family member and see if they can help out. They might be able to watch your infant so you can take a nap, or perhaps a friend could bring you a cup of coffee.

Delegate tasks in your daily life wherever you can so you are not single-handedly trying to get everything done. Use a calendar and communicate upcoming days where you might need some extra help. I always tell my kids that you can’t get mad at someone for not helping if you didn’t communicate that you needed it. No one can read your mind. There is no shame in saying that you are overwhelmed and need a break, so be sure to speak up.

Go to Therapy

If things seem especially difficult to get through, ask for professional help. Therapy used to have a negative stigma attached to it, but now it seems like everyone is in therapy. I personally love going to see my therapist as a way to get a third party’s opinion and insight. I was actually really nervous to start this blog and she was the one that helped push me to take the leap.

Therapy is nothing to be scared of. As I mentioned before, it is important to get all those stressful thoughts out of your head as a way to lighten your mental load. Instead of writing it on paper, think of therapy as a way to voice those concerns and worries. The benefit is you get feedback and ideas on areas you could work on to help with your mental health.

Hot Tip: Look for.a therapist by using sites like Psychology Today. You can also call your insurance company and they can help supply you with a list of professionals that suit your needs.

Reconnect with Others

Sometimes just reaching out to others to talk can be enough to relieve some stress. Call an old friend who you haven’t talked to in a while. It will allow you a mental break and also double as some time for yourself. You can vent it out or just talk about the weather. When you feel swamped, it is easy to feel lost in everything going on. Reaching out to others reminds you that you are not alone.

Lighten your mental load by reading

Go Easy on Yourself

Don’t be too hard on yourself! One of my former bosses told me “these are hands, not magic wands!” and it is so true. You can only do so much so don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. When you are able to accept that you can’t do it all in one day, it will help relieve some of that mental load. Spread out your responsibilities where you can and continue to set priorities.

When you feel particularly overwhelmed, remember that things will calm down eventually and you will get through it. I tell my kids it might feel like the world’s biggest mountain, but you will always get to the other side.

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