5 Instant Stress Busters For Overwhelmed Moms

If you find being a mom quite stressful and HATE that feeling of being out of control? Here are some things you can that’ll give you instant relief!

Now… I can see it coming.

I can feel it with about an hour’s warning. 

It’s like I know… if everything keeps going like it is, then in about an hour I’m going to lose it. I’m probably going to yell and get mad and frustrated at dumb things.

I am going to be overwhelmed. And I’m going to take it out on whoever is around me. Now… obvvvvviously I don’t think it’s a good thing to get so overwhelmed I struggle to be a nice person.

That’s why I am glad I can feel the red flags now. 

When I’m about an hour or two away from a brief burnout, I will now try to do one of the following things. Or two, if I’m lucky!

5 Immediate Stress Busters That Help You Feel Back In Control

But before we dig in… one of the main reasons we can feel so overwhelmed is because we look at our circumstances and feel powerless. Just as children act out when they feel powerless, so do we. 

So that’s why the following things help us feel less stressed nearly instantly — they give us back a feeling of personal power. 

#1 – Throw Things Away

When I’m feeling stressed, I’ll grab a trash bag (even if I plan to donate, not throw away) and will go from room to room looking for things we no longer need. I’ll separate things to donate from things to trash, and I’ll get moving.

“Clutter is symptomatic of delayed decision making.” ― Cynthia Kyriazis

I make sure I don’t get rid of things we *actually* need just because I’m stressed, but I use the stress and overwhelm to motivate myself to do a little decluttering. The last time I did this I wound up with an entire trash bag full of clothes that no longer fit my kids that I’m able to donate.

I felt instantly better. Lighter.

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Decluttering might seem like a buzzword these days, but research shows that the benefits of having a more clutterfree environment are simply too beneficial to be ignored.
#2 – Clean Main Surfaces

For me, one stress trigger that is very powerful is seeing MESSES everywhere. It’s why our kids clean up their rooms (the South African way) a few times a day. It’s why we do chores a few times every day.

True story: I can handle dust because you can’t actually see dust unless you’re up very close and it’s very rare that I’m up close with furniture. My husband – on the other hand – notices dust. He will ignore 5,325 things on the counters and see the crumbs. I will clean off all 5,325 things and ignore the crumbs. 🙈🙈

“Tidy people don’t over decorate. They value a cleared off surface more than a highly decorated surface.” The Nester

Having cleared off counters helps you feel visually organized and this gives an immediate sense of peace and power. It’s true. If you don’t believe me… go clean off your counters and tabletops then report back.

#3 – Do A House Sweep

A house sweep is when you quickly go from room to room and put things back to rights. If you have big baskets or toy organizers in each room as I do, then this is a cinch. 75% of the things on our floors are toys. Even your kids can clean up quickly and easily with this method.

Macro-organization = Giving everything a specific basket, drawer, or home

Micro organization = Organizing things within their specific baskets, drawers, or homes

Classifications by yours truly.

If you struggle with having an untidy home, I suggest you focus on macro-organization and do house sweeps. One nightly evening sweep keeps our home company ready within 15 minutes basically any time of the day.

Read: An Evening Sweep: The Easy Way To A Tidy Home

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#4 – Get Take Out And Occupy Kids

Often we are brain fried around 4:00 p.m.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Most evenings are saved because I’ve planned our meals and the kids can go outside to release that energy, but on my emergency days when I’m super stressed… I will get take out and occupy the kids and I will not feel guilty about it.

stress busters for moms

Find healthy take out options in your area. You’ll feel a lot less guilty about getting take out if it’s more like a home cooked meal than fast food.
If you are more low tech like me, audio books are a good option. If you feel the need for this type of activity daily, books are a great way to get in read alouds. (Here’s a list of great Christian books for kids)

Schedule TV time here. If you have daily TV viewing, I’d suggest you put it into your routine during the times of day you’re most stressed. Don’t “waste” that screen time in the morning if you’re mainly stressed in the evenings.

Read: 5 Instant Ways To Get Hyper Kids To Settle Down

#5 – File Away (Or Throw Away) Papers

If you have a placer (kitchen counter anyone?) that collects papers… do something with them. 

Clearing out paperwork is extremely satisfying and helps clear your mind. Even if you don’t think about those papers all that often, the act of dealing with them automatically helps you feel productive, accomplished, and more peaceful.

Separate papers into three categories:

Papers that need action.
Papers that need to be filed.
Papers to be thrown away.

Throw away all junk mail, magazines, or papers you’d *like* to do something with, but know you probably won’t. File papers that need to be filed because – while annoying – this isn’t actually hard.

Then you’re left with papers that require action. If you can do it within 2 minutes, do it. If not, put into a pile and pencil in a time to finish these papers into your planner.

➡The sooner you do it, the better you’ll feel.

(Bonus!) Finish Something That’s Been Left Undone


I’m a doer and I’m driven to start a lot of projects. I’m also driven to finish.

This means that I have lots of projects spinning and always feel a low level of stress until they’re completed.

If you have a big list of projects, cross something off it. 

The other day I was feeling about an hour out from a Mommy Breakdown. 

I looked around at a few unfinished household projects and decided I would tackle one. I sent all the kids outside, got the stain, and worked fast to finish a bunch of wood that was on my project list.

The kids didn’t have any major crises and I finished that job. My mood turned immediately around. 

Find your Thing, Mama!

These are things that instantly help me de-stress, but they may not work for you. I am a DOER, so doing helps me.

If you are a BE-ER… I encourage you to find your equivalent of things that’ll help you to feel less stressed and less overwhelmed, so you can enjoy the family you love so much.

Go forth and conquer, friend!


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