It occurred to me the other day that I have been away from my family for only one single night in almost 9 years. This week the weight of all of this came crashing down on my and my body felt the effects. For several months I have been pushing away the warning signs figuring I was just tired, sluggish or being lazy. Until my mind went kind of numb and I was just tired of all of the family obligation and constant effort it took to be a mom.
I love being a mom so I knew this was not normal for me. In an effort to find out why I was feeling this way I consulted Dr. Goggle as I had done in the past, I also cam upon a conversion where a co-worker was discussing burn out and realized that might be what is wrong with my. Here are the symptoms if you would like to make a self diagnosis as I did. This information comes from Reachout.com.
- Feeling exhausted and feel unable to perform basic tasks
- Losing motivation in many aspects of your life, including both work and social
- Feeling unable to focus or concentrate on tasks
- Feeling empty or lacking emotion
- Losing your passion and drive
- Experiencing conflict in your relationships with co-workers, friends and family
- Withdrawing emotionally from friends and family
Blog Crew.co states, “Burnout occurs when the demands and stress placed on us exceed our physical and mental abilities to deal with them. We cheat ourselves out of the rest we need because we assume we can push past our breaking points.”
Since we can not take a break from “moming” it is important that we recognize when we are reaching this point and schedule in some downtime. I realized I had not done this well…ever. Not since my children where born. For me I would take a periodic hour or 2 here or there and as they have grown, more responsibilities, events and management has been required to handle their schedules and developing personalities. (aka, more sibling fights.)
Now I recognize by not giving myself the proper mental and physical break I needed, the result was a 9 year built up eventually leading to burn out. If I had taken a few breaks, a little more self care and given myself a bit of grace, then I could have avoided it all together. Here are some of the thing I am going to do going forward to prevent burnout.
This is all the stuff us moms tell other moms but never really do ourselves. We let things go too far. We overdo it. More importantly, it is imperative that we recover. That we take this time. If we don’t, how are we going to properly care for our family when we lose the will to care for ourselves? Remember you matter to them. There is more to you then just housework, laundry, cooking and cleaning. We are our own person and deserve every allowance we would suggest to our dearest friend. We must model the way in self care in order to properly care for our families. I freely admit I am saying this as much for myself as for all of you. Mom’s we overdo it and here is how to fix it…
- Stop. Yes just stop – Take a break from the housework, the chores, the school lunches, the making dinner, even off of your 9-5. Take mental health day to rest, sleep, play a mindless video game, stare off into space, do whatever. Keep no schedule and be totally unproductive for a single day.
- Talk to others that have gone thorough it – Sometimes just hearing a kind word or a sympathetic ear helps you know you are not weird or strange for feeling this way. You are just a parent. I have found this support thought social media surprisingly and it has made all the difference.
- Let go of the shame, doubt and guilt – A day off does nothing if you feel guilty about taking a day off in the first place. Get in your head and fix it (That’s what my husband tells me) and stop feeling guilty for taking care of yourself. There is no shame in taking a day off and don’t doubt that your feelings of burnout are normal and it is ok for you to take the pressure off.
- Unplug – Turn off the news, stop Tweeting and don’t look at Facebook. It will be there tomorrow. Take a day off and go for a walk in nature. Let your mind wonder. Engage in bible study. Meditate. Do something that brings you peace. For at least a day give up your screen time. Don’t worry about your cell phone batteries as you recharge your personal battery.
- Focus of the love you feel -(I know if sounds cheesy!)Stop with the love for guilt sake. Your family loves you not just for all you do for them but for who you are. You might not feel like you are perfect but know that you are enough. If you want to love them right you must show love for yourself. If you were so bad would these people love you so much? And they do… even if they act out, fight or whine sometimes. They love you. You are the glue that holds the family unit together and they love you so you need to love you too.