Q&A | Is The Mental Unload™ right for me?

What if you are too overwhelmed to deal with your overwhelm? I hear this a lot. This week we are launching a new round of The Mental Unload™–my signature 7-day program that focuses on decreasing mental clutter. Even if you think you don’t have the time for this, I’m going to explain all the details today. I’d love to have you join us, it starts on Thursday, February 27th.

Show Notes/Links

Hi there and welcome to episode 199 today I'm answering the question is the mental unload right for me? Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple Families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my Ph.D. In child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us.

Hi and welcome back to the Simple Families podcast. If you're new, every Tuesday, we do a Q and A episode where I start the episode off by sharing something simple that I'm loving. This portion is never sponsored. Just a book that I'm reading a product that I'm using an app that I'm enjoying a parenting strategy. That's really helping whatever it might be. And then in the second half of the episode, I take a question from an audience member. And today I'm answering a question about the mental unload, which is a seven-day program that I run three times a year, which we're getting ready to launch on Thursday, February 27th. So let's dive right into my something simple for today. So, my something simple for today, isn't all that simple. And it's actually a book that I'm reading. It was recommended to me by Jen, my friend, and last week's guest.

The book is called far from the tree by Andrew Solomon. Now I say, it's not all that simple, so maybe I'll call this my something impactful for the week. Well, it's not that simple because it's a thousand pages long and I'm probably going to be reading it for the next 20 years. Not only is it going to take me a really long time to read because it's a really long book, but also because it's a really slow book, I find myself stopping and highlighting and reflecting on pretty much every page. So I'm moving very slowly through it. The author, Andrew Solomon is a gay man with dyslexia and Solomon spent years interviewing and exploring this idea about exceptionality and differences in humanity and how they are such an important core part of the human condition. So he has a chapter on deafness on dwarfism, on down syndrome, on autism, on schizophrenia.

I was taken with this book on page one, literally page one, I think was about 90% highlighted for me in the first chapter, which took me a long time to get through. I'm not going to lie. Solomon explores this concept of vertical versus horizontal identities. And when we have kids who have vertical identities, who we pass down our traits directly to them and live lives, that look pretty much just like our lives. We can relate to them. We can understand them. But when we have children who have horizontal identities, whose identities diverged from our own, for example, Solomon who's gay and has dyslexia, which was different from his family. We can have a harder time connecting and relating to these kids. So at its core, the book is really exploring. To what extent should parents accept their children for who they are or try to turn them into quote unquote their best selves.

It's just so insightful. I'm really, really loving it. I'll put the link for that in the show notes at simplefamilies.com/episode199. And again, the name of the book is "Far from the Tree Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity" by Andrew Solomon. So if you're looking for a book for your list this year, this might be one to include. Now, before we get into the Q and A section for today, I'm going to bring you a quick word from our sponsor. The sponsor for today's episode is better help, which I introduced you all to last week. Better help is an online service that offers counseling and therapy better help will quickly match you with an online licensed professional therapist. And you can start communicating in less than 24 hours. It's not a crisis line. It's not, self-help, it's actually professional counseling done securely online.

You could do individual therapy, you can do couples therapy. There's so much flexibility. My husband and I have been dabbling in the couples therapy and we're loving it as a licensed clinician, myself. I'm a huge supporter and proponent of therapy and being able to do it at home in your pajamas, sitting in bed, it doesn't get much more simple than that. So visit better help.com forward slash simple. That's better help. H E L P you can join over 700,000 people who are taking charge of their mental health with the experience of a professional. And there's a special offer for simple families. Listeners, you can get 10% off your first month go to betterhelp.com/simple. All right, so moving into the Q and A section for today, I got this email from Sasha this week, she was writing in response to an email I had sent to my email list about the mental unload she wrote. Hi, I have no idea how I got onto your email list, but I'm glad I did. This program looks really wonderful. That said I've signed up for internet courses like this before, without fully thinking through the time commitment involved. And then I regretted it because I couldn't keep up with the video meetings. I don't have a lot of free time available to me in any given day, hardly any actually how many hours of video lessons are included in this program? Thanks in advance.

I really appreciate this question, Sasha, because I think a lot of other people are wondering this. I know this because I had gotten this email from a few other people. So,I wanted to share a little more information today for anyone who's trying to decide if the mental unload is the right fit for them. If you want to get all the details on the program, go to simplefamilies.com/unload and everything is right there. So who is this program right for? I hear from members of the simple families audience all the time that they want to improve their self care. They want to do better. They're not sure where to start. If this sounds like you, the mental unload might be a great fit for you. If you're feeling overwhelmed, if you're feeling self doubt, if you're feeling kind of like a nag to your partner, or maybe to your kids, if you're here irritable than this program might be right for you.

I want to just share a few words from Karen about her recent experience in the mental unload. She said the mental unload couldn't have come at a better time. For me. I was struggling under a constant feeling of overwhelm and self doubt in my parenting. I was feeling resentful and irritated with my husband on a daily basis, a feeling I didn't like, but just couldn't shake the mental unload, walked me through a step-by-step process in tackling and resolving these feelings. The online community was warm and supportive and Denise guidance was understanding and pathic practical and clear. During this course, I experienced a number of aha moments where I literally felt the resentment and pressure to be the perfect mother begin to resolve. I'm so glad I signed up. I love that testimonial because I really think Karen captured the program and my goals for the program really well.

So how much time does the program take and what if you're feeling so overwhelmed that you can't possibly take on one more thing? And what if your schedule is so tight that you can't show up live at any certain time of the day? You can still participate. Here's how it works. There are four main components to the program. Four steps. This core content is all prerecorded videos. You'll get these first videos during week one of the program. So this starts on Thursday, February 27th. You'll get step one, which is unpack the mental unload. Now this first step, which comes out on Thursday is the biggest step. It's the most time consuming, but it's also the most fun, the community which doesn't run on Facebook. It runs via a separate app called Slack, which you can delete when the program's over. Well, the Slack community is incredibly supportive and it's really fun to be working through this process with women all over the world, experiencing the same feelings.

So I estimate that you're going to spend about two hours on step one. And that's why I do it on the weekend. Aim to set aside two hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday of this weekend to get started after we move through step one, the following steps are much less time-consuming. So step three and four take between 30 and 40 minutes. And those are also prerecorded videos. You can watch those at your convenience and work through the process. Whenever suits you. Now, is there a live component to the course? Yes. There are two live coaching sessions, which are complimentary they're bonus. They're not completely necessary in those live coaching sessions. You'll meet with me live as a group to talk through the process, to get some extra support. But if you can't show up live, you can always catch the replays for those two.

So for anyone curious about whether or not they can make it to those live sessions, the first one is Sunday, March 1st at 8:00 PM Eastern. And the second one is March 11th at 2:00 PM Eastern. And once you sign up for the program, you're going to get all this information in step one, we are unpacking the mental load. We're doing a giant brain dump to understand what is truly occupying our mind. Many of us have what I call a generalized feeling of overwhelm, which means we constantly feel like our brain is full and busy, but we can't quite pinpoint what exactly it is. And when we get this generalized feeling of overwhelm, we tend to feel unsupported because even if we have a partner or a spouse who wants to help and is willing to help, it's really hard to delegate. It's really hard to pass off pieces of your mental load when it's all jumbled up in this generalized feeling in your brain.

I know my partner has more than once said to me, what can I help with? And I said, Oh, I don't even know. I don't know where to begin. And then I just ended up doing everything myself. That's part of the process in step two, we start to understand the mental load. So we take all those things that we've just dumped out and start to make sense of them, to see where our mind is spending its time in step three, we start to reduce it. We figure out what can we eliminate? And what can we delegate in the step? We start talking a lot about partnership and how to get support and how to give support and increased communication. Step four, the final step is how do you maintain a simplified mental load? Because just like decluttering your house. Once you declutter your brain, it will fill back up again.

We have to be intentional about staying decluttered. We have to start noticing when the stress and overwhelm start to creep back up on us, and then we can reapply this process. I have people that come back to do this program time and time again. And I know that the more I've moved through it, the more I've been able to internalize it and do it in my head. So is decluttering your brain a one and done type thing. No, it's not. But once you have a process to move through, I can tell you it's going to feel lighter and it's going to feel easier. If you have questions, email me directly [email protected]. It starts this Thursday, February 27th. It's about 75% of the way full right now. But if there are still spots available on Thursday and Friday, you can still sign up, then go to simplefamilies.com/unload for all the information. And that's where you sign up to. If you can't make it this round, the next round, we'll tentatively be mid summer, probably June or July. And I always want to emphasize for anyone that is considering this program, that this is not a replacement for mental health

Therapy. And if you have a history or a diagnosis of depression or anxiety or any other mental health challenges, please consult your physician or your mental health professional before proceeding. So who do I think that this program might not be right for? We do talk about partnership, a good amount in this program. I've had a lot of single mothers complete the program and love it. But if you are newly single, newly separated, newly divorced, and still working through the emotional process, contact me first before enrolling. I say this because if it is early in the process for you discussing and processing partnership and improving partnership might not be where your head is at right now, it might be better to wait and work through that piece of your mental load before moving on to a program like this, but get in touch with me and we can talk more. I hope this has been helpful and answers any questions that you might have about the mental unload as always thank you for tuning in and have a good one.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.