Burnt out (adj.): A state in which you are mentally unable to handle any more stress. A state in which your energy and mental resources are depleted.
Over the years after becoming a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, I’ve experienced many different times of burnout. Physical. Mental. All of it.
Once I became a stay-at-home mom I quickly fell into a lazy routine. My kids became the most important part of my day and I didn’t get dressed daily or even leave the house for days at a time.
Of course, everyone has moments where we feel stressed or overworked but most of the time we don’t even realize it and keep trudging through even though we need a break.
Unfortunately, stay-at-home moms are expected to do-it-all and take care of everyone else before themselves. If we don’t then people judge. If we do take care of ourselves, people judge. Even worse is if we decide to ask for help and start outsourcing work and tasks around the house. It’s a terrible double edge sword but we as moms need to take time for ourselves.
I wrote a whole article recently on how to better practice self-care but now I want to touch on how to try and avoid burnout all-together. If you find yourself constantly saying you’re tired or you feel yourself making excuses as to why you can’t do something around the house or with the kids… you’re definitely burnt out.
The list below is just a few of the things that I use to help me try and avoid burnout. Now, you definitely don’t need to be a mom for this, this list can for sure be used at any time in your life if you’re feeling burnt out and in need of a change or a break.
Most stay-at-home moms are locked in their house for most of the day or for days or weeks on end. Hello winter time in Michigan. In this small town that I live, when the winter hits, literally everything shuts down and there is nothing to do during the day anymore. There are only a select handful of things open and available to get out and do with or without the kids.
If you live in the winter and have kids with you, try and take them to a hands-on museum for a couple hours while you sit watching and enjoying a cup of coffee. Or even just head to a mall with one of those kid zones in the middle and people watch while the kids play.
If you’re kid-free for the afternoon, head out to get a mani/pedi or go on a lunch date with your husband or significant other. There’s also a ton of wineries and breweries where we live and I’m all about the #daydrinking so why not hit up a winery for a tasting for a couple hours or head out with a girlfriend for some casual shopping.
Whatever you do, just get out of the house and into a different environment for a while. I promise you’ll feel a little more recharged when you get back.
Stop Saying Yes
Let’s just all say it together…. NO! No. No. No. No.
Feeling burnt out is usually a sing of over-committing yourself to others around you. No, your kids don’t need you every second of everyday. They will be just fine without you for a few minutes or hours.
You don’t always need to RSVP yes to every birthday or party invitation you get in the mailbox, e-mail inbox, or text. Say no, I just need some time to myself for a few days. I promise anyone that’s asking will totally understand.
Join a Gym or Go to the Gym
If you don’t have a gym membership, get one and go. Most gym memberships have childcare at the gym so you can drop the kids at the center and head to get in a 30 minute or hour workout.
Plus, you’ll meet new people, burn off some frustration, maybe get in shape (if you want to), and just escape by yourself for a small part of your day.
Do Yoga at Home
Put the kids down for a nap then head to a quiet place in your house, put on some headphones, and get to work. Do yoga, life some weights, do a cardio circuit… whatever makes you sweat and happy.
Working out reduces your stress level and increases your energy at the same time. I haven’t worked out in a gym in years but I definitely still workout almost every day in my basement while the kids are napping.
Take a Tech Break
Our phones are practically glued to our bodies now-a-days and every little ding and notification sends our anxiety up. We are always waiting for the next notification, the next like or comment from someone on social media.
Instead, set a dedicated day of the week to turn off the tech… phones, laptops, iPods, whatever… and turn off the rat race of social media, emails, and never-ending to-do list for the day.
This is the one where I seriously struggle the most. I am that mom that doesn’t trust many people to watch my kids but I’m trying to get better… or should I say I’m just getting more exhausted and needing more me time away from the kids.
Doesn’t the old saying go “It takes a village to raise a child”? Obviously we were not built to raise a bunch of kids (or even one) all on our own. Don’t be like me and afraid to hire help.
Also, make sure your partner is taking his or her share of the child care responsibilities. My husband have had many fights about this because he has such a crazy work schedule but it’s getting better. Yes, he is exhausted but so am I and it’s not fair that he gets to sleep in all day, every day.
Plus, me being burnt out only negatively affects him and our marriage.
If you both are taking on responsibility equally and still feel burnt out and like you don’t have time for each other, then ask a friend or family member to babysit for a couple hours or find a permanent nanny/babysitter that can come when you need them.
Lower Your Expectations
Last but not least, don’t expect more than 100% of yourself at any given time. I know, I know… it’s hard when everything usually falls on your lap… but keeping up at a rapid pace just causes you more stress than you need to handle.
Now this doesn’t mean that you have to lock yourself in the closet while the kids run amuck around the house (though I have totally done that before… haha). This will actually cause you more stress later with having to clean said mess. It does mean just to go easier on yourself and your kids. Don’t expect the world from them or yourself and give credit where credit is due.
Be kind to yourself. Be more patient. Let the little things roll off your back a little easier. Don’t get mad at every little mistake that you or your kids make. They are just kids after all.
Being burnt out as a mom isn’t fun but it doesn’t have to persist and be an everyday thing. Also, don’t feel bad for getting burnt out, this is what happens in life.
Pull yourself together and reach out for help when you need it and don’t forget to make time for you and your spouse – together and separately.