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Help! I’m Overstimulated!

If you've ever felt like you can't handle another noise, touch, cry... Congratulations! You're overstimulated! And you're not alone!


What is overstimulation? Well, overstimulation is basically sensory overload, which means that you're receiving more input from your five senses than your brain can sort through and process. You feel like too much is happening all at once and you either want to scream or run away.


Listen! I never experienced or understood overstimulation before I had Xaryah. Before I became a mother, I could work for hours on end and whenever it's convenient for me. Now? Well... my sweet child is currently in her "I only want mommy" phase so you can only imagine what life is like for me right now! Now, whenever I have work to do (or a blog to write) or even use the washroom, I need to consider and plan for hundreds of potential interruptions by my baby girl... and these interruptions usually make me stressed, overwhelmed and overstimulated.


What do some of these interruptions look like?

Wellllllll....

  1. "I want to go by mommyyyyyyyy"

  2. Loud screaming because she can't get what wants (e.g. #1 above)

  3. Being interrupted by Xary's chaotic little footsteps running to me and throwing herself on me

  4. Loud, annoying toys

  5. Constantly being touched

  6. Impromptu breastfeeding


There are many more but honestly, some of these make me want to hide in a closet on my best days or jump in the car and take off for a couple hours on my worst days. Plus, it also makes me unconsciously ignore my husband or am so irritated that I snap at him for the most trivial shit. Whenever I feel that way, it leads to a lot of self-reflection which often leads to mom guilt or me wondering if something is wrong with me... but then I think about everything happening in that moment and realize "Oh damn! I'm overstimulated!"


Since Xary has entered her toddler years, I've quickly learned that being a working mother to a toddler can be absolutely chaotic and you don't always get the time to recharge or re-center yourself when you need it. After a long, mentally (and sometimes physically) exhausting day at work, the last thing I really need is a clingy toddler who only wants me, my attention, my boobs and my constant love and affection, right up until bedtime... and even sometimes in the middle of the night. Sighhhhh...


The best thing you can do for yourself is to identify your triggers, learn how to manage the sensory overload, build tolerance for the chaos or make changes to your environment.


So how do I manage the overstimulation?

Honestly, I'm still working on it but here are a few things I do to help me re-center myself.

  • Stop multitasking - This was the toughest for me to do. My motto was "if I can do it altogether, I will do it altogether" but this is not helpful to me now as a working mother. My brain works overtime now, as I wake up till I go to sleep, so I need to focus on one thing at a time.

  • Immediate short-term self care - No I'm not talking about the "Putting On a Mask With Cucumber on Your Eyes Self Care". I'm talking about stepping back from the chaos; short meditation practices, deep breaths, impromptu solo times or mini breaks (tagging my husband in, despite the cries) to recharge when possible. It's important to identify your needs in the moment and take care of them proactively before you react negatively.

  • Remind myself that it won't last forever - This is temporary! Xary is only going to be a toddler once. This clingy phase will eventually end... and I will miss it terribly.

  • Remind myself that I'm not perfect (for those times I snap) - However, I am the best mother for my child and it's important for her to know that I am human and that I make mistakes sometimes. Life is about constantly learning how to navigate emotions in a healthy way... and give grace when needed.

  • Hide some of those loud toys! Trust me, they're not going to remember them after a while. Your sanity is worth it!


Remember, learning how to tame your overstimulation can teach your child how to handle their own. These kids are sponges! You can't eliminate the chaos, but you can control how you deal with it.



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