Is Your Mental Load Heavy? Try These Techniques For Shifting Your Mindset

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Articles, Blog, Creative, Mental, Purpose, Self Care, Stress Relief

I grew up as an only child on a farm in Northwest Ohio, lost my mom when I was eleven, and I didn’t really start dating until my late twenties. Then I married my military husband in my early thirties. Suffice it to say, I’ve felt alone for quite a bit of my life. 

A side effect of this loneliness that has been both a blessing and a curse is my ability to create stories, explore hypothetical situations, and whip my actual emotions up into a frenzy over some imaginary conversation or scenario I’ve played out in my head. Have you ever had a dream that someone you know did something bad and you woke up actually mad at them and had a really hard time shaking it? Yeah, then you get the feeling I’m talking about. 

Why am I giving you this in-depth look into my brain? For two reasons: 1) I have a feeling I’m not the only one who does this. And maybe it’ll help you to know that. 2) It’s been really enlightening to realize that sometimes the messiness I’m feeling…it’s all in my mind. The mental load I’m carrying is a messy mix of not checking in with others’ expectations or my own, assumptions, and also the fear of letting it go.

The FEAR of letting it go?!? I can hear you now.

Jessica, I definitely want to let it go. This is too much. I can’t keep it all straight. I’m barely holding it together. I’m actually not holding it together…I’ve just convinced everyone I am and that is even more work!” 

 Ok, deep breaths. Let’s jump into some things to think about as we work on simplifying our thoughts a bit and ultimately change our mindset.


Whether it’s for a few deep breaths, fifteen minutes, an hour, or a day – do what you can. Pause. Stretch. Acknowledge the feelings you’re feeling and then imagine them flowing through and out of you. 

And you may be rolling your eyes at me thinking that you can’t stop. You have a family to help get ready, this to do for this person and that to do for that person, a spouse’s group waiting on something from you, paid or unpaid labor you need to attend to, maybe even get yourself showered and dressed for the day. Stopping means unproductivity and you ain’t got time for that!

Here’s the reality though: if you don’t proactively figure out how to build in stops to your schedule, your body will figure it out for you. And it’s going to be a lot more disruptive than you taking that into your own hands. And the unfortunate reality is that you can’t get out of an overwhelmed state by continuing to do all of the things you’re currently doing at the pace and level you’re currently doing them. That’s how you got overwhelmed.

At the very least, you need to allow yourself to lower your expectations for how some things will be accomplished so that you can focus on what really needs your attention. You have to find a way to step back and give yourself the time and space to assess, process, heal, and move forward intentionally. Having a more simplified and intentional life allows you to be focused on yourself and more attentive to others in the long run. But it requires cutting out busyness and taking some time to pause every once in a while so you can check your priorities and make sure the way you’re living aligns with your values.


This one is quick and simple. You’re a human. You are ONE human. 

The former pastor in me wants to remind you of grace. We all have that offered to us. So take it. But if that’s not your language, that’s ok. The concept still applies.

The quest to be a superhuman who can do everything and be all things actually often points to an ego issue. One of the most helpful phrases I ever learned, and often repeat to myself (especially as an Enneagram 2!) is “If you’re overfunctioning, that means someone else is underfunctioning.” 

Think about it.


Some people love boundary talk, and some hate it. What does it mean? How is that actually practical? 

 And let’s be honest. The military doesn’t seem to care much about my boundaries as a spouse.

 There’s a quote that says “Don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” I don’t know who said it, but I want to hug them. If they’re ok with physical contact. #boundaries

If the idea of setting boundaries is uncomfortable, I’d invite you to try changing your mindset a bit by doing the following: List out (mentally, on paper, or by speaking into the voice notes app on your phone) everything you’d like to welcome into your life and what are the most wonderful things you spend your time doing. Think abundantly! Now, list out everything you’re going to have to say no to, or a “yes, but…,” in order to make room for those things you want to welcome in with abundance. 

That’s boundary setting, my friends. It isn’t negative, it isn’t restricting, and it doesn’t have to feel so uncomfortable as we sometimes build it up to be. And it’s one of the best ways to simplify your life and lighten that mental load.


 Whether you realize it or not, there’s a list of expectations in your head about how things should be done, how you should behave, and how others should behave. Perhaps you’ve given attention to that list, but maybe you haven’t. And that list, especially if we’ve never really noticed it or given it any attention before, can sound pretty judgy and demand nothing less than perfection. It may also, when read to us in our mind, sound a lot like other people. Other people who had good intentions, perhaps, but still…not authentic or aligning with your values. 

The reality is, you get to set your list of expectations. They get to be in alignment with your values and priorities and they also can be rooted in kindness and actually achievable for you. 


There are a ton of systems out there for getting organized, centering and re-centering our focus, and training our brain to perform better in all its functions. Most of them are great, and everyone is going to find different systems that work better for them. 

But nothing will likely click into place until you ask the most important question – “Why?”

Why am I doing this? Why is this important? When everything on your mind is getting really heavy, taking some time to list out all of those things and ask yourself why they matter so much, is going to be one of the best gifts you can give yourself. 

Often you’ll find that when you start listing out why it matters so much, you’ll discover that very few things actually do. At least to you. And when you have that awareness, you can make decisions about what you actually want to take on and what others can do to help or take over in regard to the things that are more important to them than they are to you. 

We can acknowledge that just because something isn’t important to you doesn’t mean it can’t be important to someone else or in the larger scheme of life. You naming something as not your priority doesn’t devalue it, so go ahead. Release it from your priority list and enjoy that extra mental space. 

Be well.


Jessica lives in the Seattle area with her Navy spouse and dachshund, Hershey. She’s an Enneagram 2 and enjoys cooking, baking, crafting, and drinking coffee. Jessica is obsessed with degrees and programs that have the word “transformation” in them because she believes in seeking continual growth and learning how to embrace change. She’s on a mission to help people believe that they can make a big difference in the world once they learn how to reframe their challenges and show up in their life in a way that makes them excited. She truly believes she’s the funniest person she knows (she’s probably not) and can often be found narrating the thoughts going on inside every dog’s mind that she encounters. 


You can connect with her on Instagram at @jwrightlife or on Facebook at Wright Life Coaching. Her website is and there you can join her free 5-day challenge called “The Breakthrough Challenge: Turning your ‘I can’t” into “I CAN!”

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