The definition of burnout is "a condition experienced by workers and other professionals in which they develop depression-like symptoms as a result of aspects of their role. Burnout may manifest as showing signs of physical, mental and/or emotional exhaustion as a result of stress related to their job or workplace.” The good thing about a mother's workplace is it’s her home.
I really wish you could have heard the sarcasm in my voice. Work burnout really does suck, and having Monday scaries really is scary, but when your work is home and home is work it can make you feel a little trapped, especially if you’re just done and need a break right this second, but you're a mom and your kids are forever.
Mom burnout is real, and it can look and feel a lot of different ways for everyone. It happens when we give everything to everyone else and nothing to ourselves. It could be that you are easily triggered by things your children or partner do, feeling numb or low energy, feeling overwhelmed when expectations are not met or things don’t go as planned, and loss of interest in socializing. Now these symptoms could sound familiar to signs of depression, and if you are experiencing these symptoms constantly and consistently for two weeks or more you should seek out a medical professional.
If you are just having an off day or week with those symptoms it is most likely good old fashioned burnout. Granted, I’m always (not just on my off days) easily triggered whenever my husband clips his toe nails and lets them fly without a care in the world, or when my little girl stares directly into my eyes as she purposefully does whatever it was I asked her not to do. Being annoyed by those things is called being human, but when I start noticing that nothing they do seems to be quite right and I’m constantly annoyed by literally everything is usually on a day that I skipped out on my morning routine. It's when I realize I’ve been doing everything for everyone else but haven’t stopped for one second to do something for me.
It’s important to note that the things that will prevent or help burnout aren’t just a one and done sort of deal. Sure you can get a massage and feel good for a couple of days, but if you don’t have routines that keep you balanced and sane— well, you won’t be balanced and sane.
For me, the routine I have to have to keep me going throughout the day is my morning routine. It’s something that I look forward to before I go to bed and energizes me throughout my day. Maybe mornings are the bane of your existence, and in that case you could make your routine it during naps or after bedtime, but the key thing here is to have some quality alone time that is filled with things you look forward to. A time to check in with yourself, breathe, and just be for a moment. Here is a sample of my morning routine.
My morning routine:
- Wake-up before everyone else
- Go for a run/go to the gym and listen to MY music or MY podcasts
- Tidy up a little for a clean slate to make messes (I have little expectations in the realm of my house staying tidy)
- Write in my affirmation/gratitude journal
Around this time is usually when my little girl wakes up and it is full-steam ahead. When I get through my self care routine I feel like I can pay attention and be fully present for my little one because I was already fully present for myself. What are some things that you love to do just for you? Maybe it’s taking a bubble bath after bedtime with your favorite book or tv show playing? Bubble baths can definitely be added to your own personal bedtime routine every night. Maybe it’s drawing, sketching, or writing to release your emotions. It could be yoga or meditation. Maybe it’s a weekly or monthly routine of a girls brunch or date night.
Whatever things you love to do just for you make them non-negotiables. Let your partner know that this time is sacred and they need to help you make this routine happen, whether it’s by being with the kids or cheering you on to wake up just a little bit earlier.
If you’re feeling burned out, take out a piece of paper right now and jot down a few things that you could easily start doing today and every day just for you. Then decide when you are going to do them, and do them. Turn your self care into a routine, and don’t let yourself go to the wayside when everyone else is prioritized. You’re amazing and should be a priority in your life too.
For more mom help go to babycubby.com.