At any given moment, my brain has about 10 thoughts swirling, 3 little voices asking questions, food needing to be made and emails needing answering.
What’s for dinner?
Where does the cow come from? (our 2 year olds in a phase of asking where everything comes from, yes it’s adorable and exhausting)
But why aren’t we going to tacos?
Can you play Shake it Off by Taylor Swift?
Sticky fingers and sweet, loud voices echo in my head as my full hands make dinner and my mind wanders towards my never ending to-do list.
Like my computer, my mind has a million different tabs open at the same time. Maybe you can relate.
It’s a beautiful chaos, a chaos I’m grateful for, a chaos I want, but still a chaos.
Recognizing something is hard doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Overstimulation is stress.
Anxious, overwhelmed, overstimulated, brain fog, decision fatigue—it all comes back to stress.
Constant noise, stimulations and demands wears down our prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain responsible for logic and rational thinking. YES! Anxiety and overstimulation both have the same root cause. Ever wonder why you are more stressed and anxious during a demanding day? Your brain is protecting your body and conserving energy for life sustaining functions, the ability to “just calm down” flies out the window…
One more question, one more noise sends you into overdrive and is the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”…You just can’t handle it, and that’s actually a normal physiological response.
Your brain, body and emotions shut down with too much sensory overload.
The Overstimulation Reaction Cycle
When we get overstimulated (the noise, touching, mess and needs) our brain says “hey, I’ve had too much, so I’m going to decrease functioning to conserve energy for life sustaining functions.” Rational thought goes out the window. Patience and a slow response is gone. That’s not you doing something wrong, that’s your body prioritizing.
But we snap and respond in a not so great way, then we feel guilty for how we responded and the cycle continues.
Explore the Stress Anxiety Connection >
Tips to Navigate Overstimulation
01 | Decrease your choices to decrease decision fatigue
Choices are exhausting and highly stressful to the body and brain. Do you ever think, I just can’t make another decision or answer another question? That’s your brain protecting you!
I realized this first hand when we lived in Europe for a few years—you go to the grocery store and there’s only one option of cheese or potato chips rather than 10 and the restaurant menu is short and sweet. Options, clutter, choices, decision fatigue, stuff…all leads to stress and overstimulation.
Decreasing choices can look like…
- Having your go to 5 meals you cook on rotation—that are practical for your current season, healthy and ones that everyone loves.
- Creating a capsule wardrobe and your go to “uniform”—mine are jeans, white t-shirt, sweater and loafers or sneakers.
- Finding your favorite brands and sticking with them—you’ll only see me mention a few brands on repeat and that’s because I love and trust them but I also know that searching forever is overwhelming. Don’t give yourself too many choices.
- Paring down your supplement routine—too much of a good thing, is still too much, is still stressful (both mentally and physically). I’ve honed mine to CBD, Vitamin C, Manuka Immune Elixir, Mushroom Magic and Magnesium and to be honest, I feel better now than ever before!
02 | Create a moment of calm amidst the chaos
Small, intentional moments can quickly diffuse the overwhelm and current situation. When you feel that tension start to rise, take a moment to pause and shift rather than snap or fall apart (and if you do, that’s ok, me too sometimes).
- Light a candle.
- Tell the kids, “Yay, I’m so glad you are having fun and being loud but please continue that to a different room or outside.”
- Drink a cool glass of water, splash your face with cool water or wash your hands. Cool water can calm anxiety and overwhelm.
- Change your location—go outside, even if it’s only a few minutes.
- Do something with your hands—make soup, chop vegetables, fluff up your pillows (always makes me feel better!).
- Make a cup of Lemon Lime Collagen—this is so energizing, refreshing and calming.
- Close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths in and out.
03 | Create “bookend” daily flows
Reality is we can’t control everything that happens during the day, but we do have a bit more control over the start and end of our day.
Predictability signals our brain that we are safe. When your brain and body are in a “safe” place most of the time, the overwhelming moments won’t seem as intense. You will be able to navigate the overstimulation with more grace and ease.
- Prayer + Bible reading
- CBD Nano Jelly (24 hours of calming, stress relief benefits)
- Water + hydration
- PJs on early
- Dance party + reading books with the littles
- Clean off counters
- Start one load of laundry
- Go over my calendar and planner—move anything around that didn’t get done, so I have a plan heading into the next day.
04 | Start a consistent CBD routine
My ability to regulate my emotions, anxious thoughts and reactions totally changed once I started taking CBD daily! CBD gives you that buffer—it takes a short fuse and turns it into a long fuse. It gives you that moment of margin to pause and then react, rather than reacting instantly.
The stimulation will all still be there but when your body and endocannabinoid system is in a place of balance, the sensory overload and noise won’t bother you as much. You’ll notice that all the crazy is still going on but you are just continuing on without getting frazzled.
With CBD, I can think through the chaos better, can actually pause and rationalize rather than react and have way more physical and mental capacity to tackle the day.
*I recommend starting with the Balance and Restore Collection—it is a buy one get one free bundle that you can customize. I love the Broad or Full Spectrum Jellies for a 24 hour baseline of balance and the Hemp Flower Extract for those more intense moments when you need instant relief. I also give it to my children daily to help them process big emotions, transitions and focus!
05 | Model how you self regulate as a mom and recognize your limitations
A few weeks ago, I had a powerful, beautiful moment! I was driving with all 3 of my children, they were calm but I was feeling very overwhelmed and scattered. I pulled off to the side of the road for a few moments to collect my thoughts before reaching home.
My daughter asked: “Why are we stopping mama?”
Me: “Because mama just needs a minute of peace baby.”
My daughter: “Oh that’s good for you mama. You need some peace.”
One of the most powerful gifts we can give our children is teaching them to rest, to regulate and to recognize we all have limits.
Boundaries beautifully exist in nature all around us—day and night, blooms in spring and dormancy in winter. In a world that teaches more is best and saying no is controversial, I believe one of the most beautiful gifts we can give our children are boundaries. What we model to our children and the methods we use to self regulate are beautiful teaching tools that they need to learn too.
Our children learn to regulate their emotions and stress from us—if we are overstimulated, most likely they are too. They feed off our emotions so intensely—so sometimes as a mom I need to take a step away, regulate and then come back a bit more calm and refreshed.
Usually if I can just have a few seconds or a minute, I can pause and shift out of overwhelm and handle the situation better. If I don’t have a minute, I usually snap. Can you relate? That small bit of margin is life changing—our brains need margin and our bodies need to re-calibrate, don’t feel guilty for this. CBD has helped me turn a short fuse into a longer fuse, aka margin!
Tools to Help with Overstimulation
- Rescue Stress Pastilles: a homeopathic blend for big moments, emotions or transitions
- Matcha: a slow burning source of caffeine, due to L-theanine (an amino acid) your mind and body will feel calm, energized and focused.
- Loop Earplugs: turn down the noise and stimulation to fit your level
- Green Compass CBD: bring balance to your body and brain so that you can react and process with more patience, focus and calm
- 432 Hz Miracle Sleep (Deep Relaxation): I fall asleep so fast with this, especially if my mind is racing at night.
- 528 Hertz music: There’s quite a few of these to search, these frequencies can be calming during the afternoon and evening crazy with kids.
Each of our brains are beautifully and uniquely designed. We all have a different limit or capacity to process—some of us can handle more sensory input and others, like me, we have a very low limit. Knowing how much we can handle and when we are close to that limit can be life changing and help you navigate the daily stimulation of motherhood with more ease and grace.