An overseas family holiday had long felt like a pipe dream. With young kids,…
Of all the things that can overwhelm us in life, the mental load has to be the heaviest. It’s all the invisible work that goes into running a household, a family, a relationship, a business, a life. And it can very quickly spiral out of control, dragging our mental health down with it.
You guys know how passionate I am about planning and organisation, and it’s for this exact reason: to reduce the mental load. I believe in it so much I made an entire business around it! Helping other women in this aspect of their lives has become my personal mission, and I aim to keep that front-of-mind with everything I do.
I have learned a lot over the past decade about managing the mental load, and especially since becoming a mum. So much trial and error! But the strategies I have in place now work a treat, and as a family we try and stick to it as much as possible.
These are my top 10 tips for easing the mental load:
- Use a planner: No surprises here — my first and most crucial piece of advice is to use a planner. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Get everything — appointments, reminders, important dates, to-do lists, budgets, household tasks, habit trackers, kids’ schedules, meal plans, etc. — out of your head and onto a page, and feel the weight of having to remember it all just float away. It is SO liberating! Plus, a planner puts all this information in one place, reducing the likelihood something will be jotted down elsewhere and forgotten. Leave it open on a bench or desk so it’s easily accessible.
- Declutter: A messy environment = a messy mind. I know personally that when there’s stuff everywhere, my brain feels foggy and cluttered too. Head here for my best decluttering strategies, but my top tip is a little bit every day.
- Automate: Technology has a lot to answer for in many respects, but it can be hugely helpful when it comes to easing our mental load. We’re talking anything from direct debit for bills and phone calendar reminders to grocery/pharmacy deliveries and smart home systems.
- Set boundaries: Be protective of your time and energy and implement some boundaries around other people’s access to you. Say, for instance, your group chats go off after dinner, or your emails are pinging early in the morning. Even if you don’t respond straight away, the seed is planted in your mind that you NEED to, and that just adds to the mental load. Mute/turn off notifications when you are unavailable and set a dedicated time that suits you to respond. This isn’t restricted to messaging either – it can include all kinds of interactions, even for members of your household.
- Brain dump: I loooooove a brain dump! Get all of your thoughts, worries, questions, ideas, memories out of your head and onto a page. Feel immediately lighter and clearer.
- Delegate: You do not have to do it all alone! Ask for help from others when possible, especially with household responsibilities. And to ensure that delegating doesn’t become another task in itself, communicate what needs doing to your partner/kids/family/housemates and put it on the fridge, so no one can say they didn’t know.
- Practice self-care: Spending all your time on others’ needs will drain your mental capacity fast, so ensure you make time for self-care activities that rejuvenate you. Head here for ideas.
- Take breaks: Just like our bodies, our brains need time out to rest and recharge. Take short breaks throughout the day to engage in activities you don’t need to think too much about, such as stretching, reading, listening to music, cooking, colouring, or going for a walk.
- Switch off: It’s actually terrifying how big a hold our phones have over us! Set aside some time every day to put it out of sight and remind yourself that the phone works for you, not the other way around. It might feel weird or even difficult at first, but you get used to it, and it is incredibly freeing.
- Seek support: If the mental load is too much and you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling to manage, reach out for support. This might be talking to a trusted friend, family member or colleague, seeking professional counselling or therapy, or joining an online support group.
I hope this helps you lighten your mental load, beautiful. You’ve got this!