overstimulated mom with two kids
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Overstimulated Mom: Managing Sensory Overload with Self-Care Strategies

In this post, you will learn strategies to help you when you are an overstimulated mom to help you find calm and moments of peace.

The life of a mother is like a beautifully chaotic symphony. Each note, while lovely on its own, can together build an overwhelming crescendo.

Picture this: A regular weekday morning. The sun has just begun to rise, casting its first gentle hues through the window. It's a moment of calm. But only for a short time. Soon, the house fills with the sounds of children waking up. There's the cry of a toddler refusing to wear the blue shirt, the simultaneous noise of a toy truck crashing into LEGO structures, and the baby's rattle adding to the mix. Amidst this, your phone buzzes incessantly, and notifications from social media can amount to too much noise in the day of an Overstimulated Mom.

In the middle of this whirlwind, there's you. The “Overstimulated Mom.” Juggling tasks, navigating through a maze of emotions, and constantly trying to find a balance amidst the cacophony of daily life.

And while it's a role filled with joy and love, it’s also one that can feel overwhelming and draining. This is the journey of an Overstimulated Mom, a journey that so many brave, every day, trying to find moments of calm amidst the storm. If this feels all too familiar, you're not alone.

Let’s embark on this exploration together, finding understanding, empathy, and ways to breathe easier amidst the beautiful chaos.

Welcome to the Overstimulated Mom Sanctuary

As a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom of a vibrant 3-year-old and an energetic 5-year-old, I understand the whirlwind of emotions and sensory overload that comes with motherhood. My previous life as an occupational therapist gave me insights, but living it day-to-day is a whole other story. This space is dedicated to you, the overstimulated mom, seeking a moment of peace and understanding.

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please take a look at the disclosure policy for more details. 

Understanding Overstimulation: A Friendly Guide for Moms

Hey, super mom!

Have you ever felt like your senses are on hyperdrive, and everything just feels a tad too much? Our sensory system is like a finely tuned instrument, and the amount of sensory input we receive can tip the balance from feeling engaged to feeling overwhelmed. Let's break this down into bite-sized, easy-to-understand pieces.

Understanding the Overwhelm

Navigating motherhood can sometimes feel like steering a ship in stormy waters. In “Overstimulated Mom Treatment: Causes and How to Cope,” I dive into the root causes of sensory and emotional overload. We explore strategies that go beyond the surface to address the deep-seated reasons for our feelings of being overwhelmed.

When Emotions Run High

There are days when the noise, the mess, and the endless to-do list might lead to moments we're not proud of, like snapping at our partners. In “When the Wife Yells at Husband: Navigating Expectations as an Overstimulated Mom,” I share personal stories and tips on managing expectations and emotions. It's a gentle reminder that you're not alone in this journey.

In the Heat of the Moment

Sometimes, the overload hits hard and fast. “Overstimulated Mom Symptoms and What you Can Do to Help Yourself in the Moment” is your go-to guide for those times when you need immediate strategies to regain your balance and composure. Quick, practical tips can be lifesavers during those intense moments.

Get the FREE Scripts to Help you Communicate about the Mental Load of Motherhood

CLICK HERE Or click the image below to get free scrips to help you share the mental load of motherhood with your partner and scripts to help you apologize and repair after yelling to your partner or children.

scripts for communicating mental load of motherhood to husband and partner

Self-Care as a Lifeline

Amidst caring for our little ones and managing a household, self-care often takes a backseat. However, it's crucial for our well-being. In 10 Self-Care Strategies for Busy Moms, I emphasize the importance of self-care and offer easy-to-implement strategies that fit into our busy lives.

As moms, we often put ourselves last, but remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it's essential. This space is a tribute to all the overstimulated moms who juggle countless tasks daily. You are doing an incredible job, and it's okay to seek help and take a break. Let's navigate this journey together, finding peace amidst the chaos and rediscovering the joy in motherhood.

What is Sensory Overload? 

Imagine your brain is like a super-smart phone. Now, when too many apps are open, even the best phones can start to lag or freeze, right? Similarly, when there’s too much happening around us – maybe it's the whirlwind of a kiddo's birthday party, or perhaps a day that’s been a mix of cooking, cleaning, managing work emails, and keeping the kids entertained – our brain can feel “overloaded”. This is what we call sensory overload. It’s like our brain’s way of saying, “Woah there, too many apps open!” Learn more about mom sensory overload here.

Overstimulated Mom Toolkit

Balancing Sensory Input: Finding the Middle Ground

Think about a volume knob. Turn it down too low, and you can't hear anything. Crank it up too high, and it's deafening. Our senses work similarly. We all have days when we crave a bit of noise and action (low volume), and then there are days when the tiniest sound seems too loud (high volume). The trick is finding that sweet middle spot where everything feels just right.

Get your Overstimulated Mom Survival Guide for Free

In 5 minutes you will create an action plan to identify your sensory triggers and how to manage your emotions to help you become the calm and regulated mom you want to be. Just enter your email address below.

Overstimulated Mom Survival Guide Freebie

Sensory Processing Disorder: Beyond Overstimulation

Now, some moms might notice that their kiddos (or even they themselves) consistently seem overwhelmed by things that others might find normal. It's like their volume knob is more sensitive. This might be due to a condition called sensory processing disorder (SPD). It’s when the brain has a harder time receiving and responding to information from our senses. It's important to remember that everyone is different, and what's a walk in the park for one might be a rollercoaster for another.

Alright, lovely mamas, that’s our crash course on overstimulation. Remember, every mom's experience is unique, and it's okay to seek out your own volume setting in this noisy world.

Diving Deeper: Sensory Overload and Sensory Processing Disorder – A Mom's Friendly Guide

Hey there, fellow warrior moms! 🌟 Let me put on both my mom's hat and my occupational therapist's hat for this one. Yep, that's right, when I'm not knee-deep in toy trucks and toddler tantrums at home, I’m an occupational therapist with a focus on sensory processing and sensory overload. And oh, did I mention? I'm a mom to two absolutely amazing (and energetic) kiddos. Plus, I'm a highly sensitive mom – yup, sounds, lights, and even certain fabrics can send my senses into overdrive. So, trust me when I say, I truly get what it feels like to be an overstimulated mom. Let's dive in, shall we?

Sensory Overload 101:

 Imagine you're trying to listen to your favorite song, cook dinner, and talk on the phone all at once. Overwhelming, right? That's kind of what sensory overload feels like. It happens when our nervous system gets more sensory information (like sounds, touches, or sights) than it can comfortably handle. For us moms, it can feel like every tiny sound is amplified or like the world around is just too much sometimes.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – The Bigger Picture

Now, there's something a tad more specific called Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD. Think of it as your brain's unique way of interpreting the world around. While sensory overload is like a traffic jam because there are too many cars, SPD is more like the traffic signals aren’t working properly. Not every overstimulated mom has SPD, but understanding it can be like a little lightbulb moment for some. Signs of SPD can be things like feeling super overwhelmed by bright store lights or the sounds of multiple loud toys at once.

Motherhood and Sensory Challenges

Being a mom is like being a superhero (cape optional!). But with our multitasking superpowers comes a vulnerability to sensory overload. Our roles demand juggling noises from children's squabbles, the feel of playdough, or cuddles, and often doing a gazillion things at once. Sometimes, the sensory rush can make even the superhero in us feel like we're on sensory overload, resembling SPD symptoms even if we don't have the disorder.

In this journey of motherhood, remember, you're not alone. We're in this together – whether you're experiencing the regular ups and downs of sensory challenges or navigating the intricacies of SPD. Sending you all a virtual, sensory-friendly hug! 

Common Triggers for the Overstimulated Mom – Decoding the Daily Hustle

Alright, fabulous mamas, let's chat about those moments that make us go from calm mama bear to “I-need-a-moment-in-my-closet-with-chocolate” mama. 😅 As an occupational therapist and a highly sensitive mom of two, I've got a bit of a sixth sense for what can set off our sensory alarms. Let’s decode some of those common triggers together.

Loud Environments: The Sound Symphony

You know those mornings? Your older one's practicing their indoor dinosaur roars, the little one's mastered the art of pot-lid drumming, and let’s not even talk about the blender’s contribution! From our children's big, beautiful emotions to the simple noise of everyday life, loud environments can make our heads spin. It’s like trying to hear a whisper in the middle of a rock concert.

Bright Lights: More than Just a Glare

Ever walked into a store and felt like those overhead lights were just, well, too light? Or felt a teeny bit attacked by the sudden glare when opening your curtains? Bright lights can feel like a surprise pop quiz for our senses, especially if you're already teetering on the edge of sensory overload.

Social Media: The Digital Buzz

Ah, the double-edged sword. While it connects us to other moms, shares that oh-so-relatable meme, and offers a window into the outside world, social media can sometimes feel like an uninvited guest at a party. The constant notifications, the barrage of information, and the subtle comparisons can all play a role in our mental health. It's like our brains are trying to drink from a firehose of data! Check out these tips to help with a social media detox.

The Ever-Growing To-Do List: The Mommy Marathon

Raise your hand if you’ve ever forgotten something from your to-do list and remembered it at the most inconvenient moment (like 3 AM). 🙋‍♀️ That ever-expanding list can feel like a backpack that gets heavier with each task. From school projects, grocery lists, work deadlines, to remembering which stuffed toy needs an “urgent” stitch – it's the mental juggle that keeps us on our toes. The mental load of motherhood is hard.

Recognizing these triggers is the first step in navigating our sensory world with grace. Remember, each day is different, and it’s okay to have moments when you just want to wear noise-canceling headphones and sunglasses indoors. You’re doing an amazing job, mama, and your senses are just part of the beautiful, complex tapestry that makes you, you

The Highly Sensitive Mom: Embracing the Depth of Our Feelings

Dearest moms, let's have a heart-to-heart about something close to my own experience: being a highly sensitive mom. Imagine feeling the world in high definition, with each color a little brighter, each sound a touch sharper, and emotions a tad deeper. That’s the world of a highly sensitive mom and everything can feel with high sensitivity.

What's a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

An HSP, or Highly Sensitive Person, is someone who experiences sensory information more intensely than most. We're not just talking about sounds and sights, but also deep emotional nuances. Think of an artist capturing the subtlest shades in a painting or a musician hearing the faintest notes in a melody. It's a gift, but it can also be a challenge, especially in the rollercoaster world of motherhood.

A Delicate Dance: Challenges of the Highly Sensitive Parent

As highly sensitive parents, our senses are like finely tuned instruments. Our vestibular system (that's the sensory system responsible for balance and spatial orientation) often plays a key role in our heightened sensitivity. A loud crash or sudden movement can feel like an unexpected chord striking our senses. This means we might experience overstimulation more frequently than our peers. Imagine being at a party where everyone’s whispering, but to you, it sounds like they're speaking in regular volume. That's the day-to-day for a highly sensitive mom. You can learn more about HSP Overstimulation here.

From the Heart: Stories of Highly Sensitive Moms

As a fellow HSP mom, I could and can feel my baby's and toddler's emotions as if they were my own. When my son or daughter were upset, I felt a deep surge of sadness. When they were elated, my heart soared in tandem. Another HSP mom described how seeing a beautiful sunset made her eyes well up, feeling a profound connection with nature. While these intense feelings are beautiful, they can also be exhausting, making it crucial for HSP moms to find pockets of peace in their day.

Effects of Constant Overstimulation

Now, the flip side of our deep sensitivity is that the world can sometimes feel too much. Constant overstimulation can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and overwhelm. It's like having too many tabs open in a browser. Even joyful moments, when too intense or prolonged, can drain our energy. 

  • One very human need that often gets sidelined is enough sleep.
  • Overstimulation doesn't just touch our bodies; it dives deep into our emotional world. The big feelings that arise, be it joy, sorrow, or frustration, can be magnified due to the sensory overload.

But here's the thing: being a highly sensitive mom is a superpower. Our ability to connect, empathize, and feel deeply is unparalleled. It brings a richness to our parenting that's unique and beautiful. Remember, it's okay to seek moments of solace, to recharge, and to embrace the profound depth of our feelings. You're not alone on this journey, and your sensitivity is a gift to be cherished. 

Overstimulated mom toolkit 2

Effects of Constant Overstimulation: Navigating the Waves of Intensity

Dear moms, navigating the bustling maze of motherhood while being constantly overstimulated can sometimes feel like trying to read a book in a noisy, crowded subway. The noise, the jostling, the incessant movement – they all add layers of intensity. Let's delve deep into understanding how constant overstimulation impacts us – body, heart, and mind.

The Physical Toll: When Our Bodies Speak

Our nervous system, the command center of our sensations, is a bit like a symphony conductor. Now, imagine if the orchestra players started playing different tunes simultaneously. Chaos, right? Constant overstimulation can make our nervous system feel just like that overwhelmed conductor. One very human need that often gets sidelined is sleep. Sleep isn't just “shutting down”; it's our body's maintenance mode. When overstimulated, our body craves more rest to recover, like a phone needing extra charging after heavy use.

The Emotional Wave: Navigating the Heart's Ocean

Overstimulation doesn't just touch our bodies; it dives deep into our emotional world. We feel everything with a magnified intensity – the joy, the sorrow, the frustration. When our little ones throw a tantrum or are overwhelmed with their big emotions, it can feel like our hearts are on a rollercoaster with them. This is where the yearning for alone time comes in. It's not about escaping, but more about finding a quiet corner in a loud room to gather our thoughts and center our emotions.

The Ripple Effect on Mental Health

Our minds are miraculous, juggling thoughts, memories, and feelings. But with constant overstimulation, it’s like having a room filled with bouncing balls. The continuous sensory onslaught can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, or even burnout. Our mental well-being can become frayed, making it crucial to recognize the signs early. It’s not about weakness; it’s about understanding our unique sensory thresholds.

Understanding the effects of constant overstimulation is akin to knowing when to refuel a car. Being tuned into our physical, emotional, and mental cues is the first step in ensuring we can continue the incredible journey of motherhood with energy, love, and grace. Remember, dear mom, in this bustling symphony of life, it's okay to take a pause and listen to your own rhythm. 

Get the Free Overstimulated Mom Survival Guide

Coping Mechanisms and Solutions: Nurturing the Overstimulated Mom Soul

Oh, the wonderful world of motherhood! As an occupational therapist, I've delved deep into understanding the sensory intricacies of the human body. But, wearing the dual hats of a mom to two vivacious kiddos and someone who often finds herself in the embrace of overstimulation, I've also lived this experience firsthand. As someone who often feels like a sensory sponge, managing the amount of sensory input becomes paramount. This means being aware of how much noise, light, and touch you're comfortable with and taking steps to control your environment accordingly.”So, let's journey together through some tried-and-true coping mechanisms and solutions.

The Oasis of Quiet Time and Alone Moments for Overstimulated Moms

Imagine your senses as a sponge, soaking up every sound, sight, and sensation. Now, even the most absorbent sponge has its limits. Carving out quiet time or a few precious alone moments helps wring out that sponge, allowing it to breathe. It could be as simple as a five-minute balcony break, a solitary walk, or even a long bath after the kiddos are asleep.

The Power of Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

There's a reason why deep breathing is so universally recommended. When we're caught in the whirlwind of overstimulation, our breath often turns shallow. Deep, purposeful breathing acts like a gentle anchor, grounding us back to our center. Try inhaling deeply for a count of four, holding for a count of four, and exhaling for a count of four. Pair this with progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery, and you've got yourself a calming toolkit.

Lightening the Mental Load

Motherhood often comes with an invisible backpack filled with to-dos, worries, and countless responsibilities. Managing this mental load involves prioritizing tasks, delegating when possible, and (this is crucial!) letting go of perfection. Remember, it's okay if the beds aren't made some days or if dinner is a simple sandwich! You can learn more strategies to help with the mental load of motherhood here.

Get the FREE Scripts to Help you Communicate about the Mental Load of Motherhood

CLICK HERE Or click the image below to get free scrips to help you share the mental load of motherhood with your partner and scripts to help you apologize and repair after yelling to your partner or children.

scripts for communicating mental load of motherhood to husband and partner

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Our world is increasingly interconnected, making it all the more vital to set boundaries. This might mean designated ‘no social media' hours, communicating your sensory needs to loved ones, or simply learning to say ‘no' to stressful situations. Protecting our sensory space is as essential as safeguarding our physical space.

Navigating Sensory Input

As someone who often feels like a sensory sponge, I can't stress enough the importance of managing sensory input. This could mean wearing noise-canceling headphones during the loudest parts of the day, dimming lights in the evening to prep for bedtime, or having a designated ‘quiet corner' in your home. Please keep in mind your triggers and work towards creating an environment that respects them.

In our journey as mothers, there will be days of sensory overload and intense emotions. But with these coping tools and a heart full of love, we can dance gracefully through the rainstorms and embrace the rainbows that follow. You're not alone, dear mom. Together, we nurture and thrive. 

overstimulated mom with two crying kids

Embracing the Symphony of Sensations

The world of an overstimulated mom can sometimes feel like a vast, turbulent ocean, each wave bringing a new sensation, emotion, or demand. Yet, each one of these experiences is valid, real, and deserves recognition. As we've journeyed together through the sensory intricacies of motherhood, one thing stands clear: understanding and caring for ourselves isn't a luxury; it's essential.

Every mom's sensory system is as unique as her fingerprint. While the world around us might buzz with constant stimuli, knowing and respecting our sensory boundaries is akin to finding our own personal rhythm amidst the cacophony. It's about dancing to our own beat, even if sometimes that means taking a step back to simply breathe.

To every beautiful mom reading this: your mental well-being is paramount. The love, care, and boundless energy you pour into your family begins with nurturing your own heart and soul. So, prioritize your mental health not as an afterthought but as the foundation of your beautiful journey.

Lastly, let's create a tapestry of shared experiences. Every mom has her unique coping technique, that special ritual or trick that brings her solace. Share yours, and let's build a community that uplifts, supports, and understands. Because together, we are stronger, and our shared stories become lighthouses in the stormy seas of overstimulation.

So here's my call to action: Be gentle with yourself, cherish your sensory uniqueness, and let's share, grow, and thrive together. Your story is a gift.

ultimate overstimulated mom toolkit

Additional Posts you will Want to Check Out

The Invisible load of Motherhood is Exhausting, What you can do to Help

HSP Overstimulation: Understanding and Coping with Sensory Overload

Overstimulated Mom Symptoms and What you Can do to Help Yourself in the Moment

The Surprising Effects of Overstimulation on Your Brain and Body

Understanding Mom Sensory Overload and Strategies to Help You Cope

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