by Sharon Hensley

As we approach a new school year it’s easy to get overwhelmed by getting back into a schedule. Here are five things to do when you feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do each day.

1. Make shorter lists. When I first heard this I thought it sounded silly, but it has become one of my favorite tools when I feel overwhelmed. We all tend to have unrealistic expectations of what we can (or should) be able to do in one day. Writing down just three things that I want to accomplish for the day really helps me stay focused – and a list of only three things really seems doable! Then if you get those done, you can add one more thing…or not!

2. Delegate. Often we are overwhelmed by clutter and housework. Even if it’s not done perfectly kids can still do a lot around the house and relieve some of the stress we feel. Now, I know that this is something you have probably heard MANY times before, and some of you just really have to give up on perfectionism! Sometimes good enough really is!

3. Set a Timer for a Task. Related to number 2, we can often feel paralyzed when a job or task looms large or seems insurmountable. I recommend setting a timer for 15 to 30 minutes and just working on the task for that long. I have been trying to sit down and finish this blog post for a few weeks and keep running out of time to do it. So today I set a timer for 30 minutes and am working on it until the timer rings. Maybe I’ll get it done – maybe not – but knowing that I only have to work for 30 minutes makes the task seem much smaller and more doable.

4. Say NO. Face it, some of the things that overwhelm us we bring on ourselves by saying yes when we should say no. If you have trouble saying “No” to things, I recommend reading Lisa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes.

5. Use Your Community. You cannot do it all yourself. It truly takes a village to raise a child. Tap into other moms in your community to share tasks. I was chatting with two moms last night who have young girls who wanted to have a “baking party,” but all the moms were feeling overwhelmed and none could commit to fully embracing the idea. However, they put their heads together and one mom provided the kitchen, one rounded up the ingredients, and one provided the pans and bowls. This type of thing can happen within your neighborhood, church, or homeschool community. Tap into babysitting within your neighborhood. You are not a bad mom because you have the neighbor teenager take your kid to swim lessons instead of you doing it (true story from my life). If you feel bad about asking for help or to trade some help, remember that it is likely that EVERY mom you know feels exactly as overwhelmed as you feel, but we often don’t want to admit it.

Okay – I know this is only supposed to be five things, but I think this last one is important for lots of things – not just feeling overwhelmed…

6. Give Yourself Grace. We often get so down on ourselves but would totally give grace to a friend who was struggling with the exact same thing! If you are feeling like you are a failure or getting down on yourself for not “doing it all” or “doing it all right,” picture a friend coming to you and telling you the exact thing that you are struggling with. Now, what would you tell your friend? You would probably cheerlead her and tell her she is doing great and that she is a great person and to hang in there. Okay, now, SAY THAT TO YOURSELF!!

This article was originally published at SharonHensley.Consulting on August 1, 2016. Republished with permission of the author.