Do you feel exhausted right now? Just drained? Physically and mentally? I completely understand. I’ve been there myself. Christmas time especially has left me overwhelmed over the years. I always have such a long list of things to do from decorating, to the advent calendar, to gifts to find and purchase. I have gotten really resentful over the years in the months leading up to Christmas when my husband would go away for work and get to just relax in his camp room in the evening. Maybe he would go for a run, or drink a beer at the bar occasionally, maybe even send some emails. But the fact remained that he still got to do his own thing and play on his phone in the evenings while I carried around the weight of making everything perfect for everyone.
My husband is the nicest guy, so I figured he just didn’t realise the burden I felt. So last Christmas I sat down and had a chat with my husband. And I was right – he didn’t realise how overwhelmed I was! He was so happy to sit down and make a plan with me to share my mental load. We decided on the Christmas to-do list together, and he took a chunk of tasks to complete himself (without any oversight or checking up from me!).
And let me tell you – it was such a relief! Preparing for Christmas last year felt like a breeze compared with previous years. I feel like I could finally breath! And I felt like I could finally join in the fun and joy of the season.
This type of stress and obligation that we feel as women to remember everything and get all of those little tasks done for our family and businesses is called the mental load. Dr. Robyn Miller from Mental Load Project is all about the mental load and helping women recognise and rebalance their own load.
A heavy mental load shows up in your family life as you keeping track of all the appointments, schedules, to-do lists, chores, and errands. You are the one who performs most of them. And if anyone else helps you out you have to remind them constantly. In your business, your mental load shows up as you doing EVERYTHING (as so many of us are when we first start our businesses). And this can lead to both burnout and being less productive and profitable than you actually could be.
When you carry all of the mental load yourself for your family or your business you will become drained. Exhausted! And burnt out. You will find you never have any true downtime to recharge your own batteries.
So, how can you recognise AND decrease your mental load? It turns out it is actually pretty easy!
You already know you feel overwhelmed. So what exactly is making you feel overwhelmed? Is it trying to stay on top of all of the laundry, and the dishes, and the vacuuming and sweeping? Is it trying to remember to take your children to all of their different activities? Is it trying to stay on top of every aspect of your business including your website, and your social media, as well as your inbox, and all of your clients needs? Is it worrying about finances and stressing that your business is not growing and you’re not able to do as much in it as you would like? Make a list of all the things cluttering up your brain and weighing on your shoulders right now.
There are often many pieces to your mental load puzzle. Once you have identified them and listed them, you can work on lightening them.
Now it’s time to decide what tasks you want to get rid of! What household and business tasks do you actually enjoy, and which would you rather have someone else do? Rank these “undesirable” tasks in order from least desirable all the way down to tolerable. You’ve now begun the step of delegation!
The process of delegation feels really hard when you start it, I know (it will get easier as you go, I promise.) This is why it’s best to just pick the top one to two undesirable tasks to try outsource at first. Maybe this means asking your husband to help you with the laundry. Or, if he really hates doing the laundry too, finding another undesirable task that he doesn’t mind doing for you so that the laundry doesn’t feel overwhelming for you.
In your business, delegating out your mental load takes on the form of outsourcing! The question then becomes: what is a task that is not in your zone of genius? And what do you not mind handing over to someone else to let them do? I know it is really hard to give up control of any part of your business baby! But the renewed joy that you find in your business, and the extra time that you have to spend on other top priorities, will be worth it! Once you decide which tasks you really want off your plate and you don’t mind relinquishing to someone else, you get to start the fun process of finding your perfect business match!
3. Time to find your perfect match!
Now that you know what you don’t mind delegating, it is time to find that perfect person to help you! When it comes to household tasks, you might need to sit down and have a chat with your husband and see just how much he can help you. Maybe your husband is working too much overtime or traveling and can’t help with the day-to-day tasks though. This is when he can help you with the planning and mental tasks. And then maybe ask a friend if they can watch the kids for you while you get some of your chores done (or even see if you can have a friend or a housekeeper help you with the chores themselves).
When it comes to your business, delegating means hiring. But this doesn’t have to be a scary process! You can find lots of excellent people to outsource either VA tasks, graphic creation, or even content creation on either Fiver or Upwork…or even just Instagram! Another great way to find your perfect business associate is simply by asking your business friends if they have any recommendations. This will save you a lot of time! Just remember, not all personalities are a perfect fit. So don’t feel bad if your friend recommends an excellent VA or graphic designer and they just don’t work out for you. You have to find the perfect personality fit for you – someone who understands you. It won’t be the same person for everyone. And that’s okay.
I know that finding someone to help you with your business baby can be a bit merge wracking. It was for me too when I delegated my first business task. (Now, I find it so freeing!) This is why I created a free download for you to help you identify what you need help with in your business and HOW you can get that perfect help. Grab it below!
You shouldn’t have to bear your mental load alone! It’s not fair to you. And it’s not fair to the people who depend on you and love you. Because you can’t give them the best version of yourself unless you take care of yourself. So it’s time to take care of yourself and lighten your mental load! All it takes is that first step. And then the rest flows easily from there.
So make sure you download that free guide that I created for you so you can lighten the mental load you carry for your business. And talk to your family and your friends. There are people around you who want to make things easier for you and help lighten your load. Really, there are. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. And know that I am always here for you too – to take care of all your Pinterest needs, or if you just want to talk. I am always here for you lovely. Now go out there and be the amazing woman you are!