Motherhood is a beautiful journey filled with love, joy, and cherished moments. However, it can also be challenging, overwhelming, and exhausting, often pushing you into survival mode.
Balancing the responsibilities of caring for children, managing a household, and maintaining personal well-being can be a daunting task where life always feels like you’re putting out mini-fires and there’s never enough time.
If you find yourself constantly in survival mode, feeling like you’re just getting by, you’re not alone! This is something I’m personally familiar with and have coached thousands of clients on.
Get Out Of Survival Mode As A Mom
There are eight ways you can get started with getting out of survival mode.
These strategies will help you transition from survival mode to a more fulfilling and empowered state as a mom.
1. Meet your basic needs of food, sleep, and water
It may seem obvious, but meeting your basic needs is crucial when it comes to moving out of survival mode. As a mom, it’s easy to put your needs on the back burner. However, neglecting essentials such as proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, and staying hydrated can leave you feeling depleted and less able to cope with daily challenges. Prioritize taking care of yourself by nourishing your body with healthy meals, getting enough restorative sleep, and staying hydrated throughout the day.
2. Move your body
Physical activity is a powerful tool to shift your mindset and boost your energy levels. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase overall well-being. Find activities that you enjoy and make them a part of your routine. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a dance class, or yoga session, carve out time for physical movement. Engaging in regular exercise will not only benefit your physical health but also provide a much-needed mental and emotional boost.
- How To Use Mindfulness To Reduce Stress And Anxiety (blog post)
- Body Neglect (podcast)
3. Manage your mind
Your thoughts and mindset play a significant role in your overall well-being. On default, your mindset is likely to make being in survival mode worse. These thoughts end up creating overwhelm, self-pity, and more, resulting in making a challenging time worse.
This is why it’s essential to cultivate a positive and empowering mental mindset in motherhood (and in life generally speaking!).
Practice mindfulness and self-compassion, and be aware of negative self-talk that can perpetuate survival mode. Incorporate relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or visualization to calm your mind and regain a sense of balance. Embrace affirmations and focus on gratitude to cultivate a more optimistic and resilient mindset.
This is the ongoing work we do inside my coaching program, Grow You. Learn more about Grow You here.
4. Practice allowing your feelings instead of reacting to them
Motherhood can stir up a wide range of emotions, and it’s important to acknowledge and process them rather than suppressing or reacting impulsively. Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions without judgment. This sounds easy but because it’s a skill most of us weren’t taught growing up, it can be challenging until you get the specific steps and practice it. The crux of processing feelings (that I teach in a course inside Grow You) is to allow your feelings in your body through naming, watching, and breathing through them—instead of reacting or avoiding them (e.g.: yelling, scrolling, over eating, etc.).
By embracing your emotions and responding to them consciously, you can navigate the challenges of motherhood with more ease.
5. Drop the mom guilt
Mom guilt is a common and often unnecessary burden that so many moms carry. It’s important to recognize that you’re doing the best you can with the resources and knowledge you have. Release the unrealistic expectations and comparisons that contribute to guilt. Remind yourself that being a good mom doesn’t mean being perfect. Embrace self-compassion and prioritize self-care without guilt. When you take care of yourself, you’ll have more energy, patience, and love to give to your family. You are just as worthy of being cared for as everyone else in your family. Remember this!
6. Get perspective on the brevity of the season
Motherhood can sometimes feel like a never-ending cycle of diaper changes, sleepless nights, and tantrums. However, it’s crucial to remember that this season of intense caregiving is temporary. Your children will grow up faster than you can imagine, and the challenges you face now will evolve into different ones as they age. Embrace the present moment, finding joy and gratitude in the small moments, knowing that this season will pass. Taking a long-term perspective can help you stay grounded and navigate the challenges of motherhood more effectively.
7. Journal daily
Journaling is a powerful tool for self-reflection, emotional release, personal growth, and achieving your dreams. Set aside time each day to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Use your journal as a safe space to explore your emotions, celebrate wins, and identify areas for growth. You can also use journaling prompts to delve deeper into specific aspects of your life or motherhood journey. Regular journaling can provide clarity, help you process your thoughts, and serve as a valuable record of your personal growth.
8. Make local friends who are in the same season of life
Connecting with other moms who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly empowering and comforting. There’s a sense of togetherness where you’ll feel more seen and understood if you have friends who are going through what you’re going through. Just like you might have “work friends” who “get it” when it comes to your career, the same is true with having “mom friends” who are in a similar stage of motherhood as you are.
Seek out local parenting groups, attend mom and baby classes, or join online communities to find like-minded moms. Surrounding yourself with moms who understand the challenges and triumphs of this season will provide you with a supportive network. Sharing experiences, seeking advice, and offering support to one another can make a significant difference in your journey out of survival mode.
A Final Note
Motherhood is a transformative and challenging experience, but you don’t have to remain in survival mode. I promise. By prioritizing your basic needs, cultivating a positive mindset, and finding support from others, you can reclaim your joy, well-being, and sense of empowerment. Remember, self-care is not selfish—it’s a vital part of being the best mom you can be. Embrace these strategies, take it one step at a time, and allow yourself the grace and compassion you deserve. You have the power to thrive as a mom and create a fulfilling and balanced life for yourself and your family.