The thing about burnout is that as much as you can plan for it and try to beat it, sometimes it rears its ugly head at you and you can find yourself paralyzed. As much as we focus on self care, on finding balance within our day to ensure we're spending time on ourselves as well as the people and things we love, sometimes burnout can suddenly appear and stop you in your tracks.
In everyone's life burnout is going to happen multiple times a year, but for the life of a parent I think that burnout is constantly waiting for you around the corner. Whether you're a stay at home parent or a working parent both can (and let's be honest they will) encounter burnout as almost a normal part of day to day life. Add additional stressors like side businesses, entrepreneurship, extended care for family, pets and so forth and burnout can be a very real thing to you.
So how do we help stop it?
Well, in a perfect world i'm going to tell you that you need to stop burnout before it begins. To focus on self care and yourself throughout your day (you can read my post about weaving self care into your normal routine here!). But what happens when, despite your greatest efforts, you find yourself feeling that overwhelmed, exhausted, throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air-in-surrender feeling? Today I wanted to share 3 ways that you can help make this time period shorter and get you through this (sometimes) dark place.
Stop what you're doing and reassess.
Seriously, stop right now if you're starting a phase of burnout. Stop what your doing, stop the cleaning, stop working, stop fighting with your kids, stop cooking, stop whatever and just sit still for a second. The reason we got to this burnout state is because we took too much on. Take a moment and look at your daily schedule. What added stressors have been introduced into it in the last couple of weeks to lead you to this point?
For me, I enter a burnout phase when I give too much ambition towards 'An Organized Life'. When my priorities mistakenly become mixed up and I end up putting my work as first priority. I become overwhelmed by the amount that I want to accomplish on top of my family and home. The thing I have to remind myself of is that my ambition for my site doesn't have to happen all at once (even though i want to do everything right now!). The time of life I'm in gives me the gift of spending time with my beautiful baby and helping her grow into a good human. It gives me the time we need to get our household in order. It gives me the time I need to be present with my Husband.
Whatever stressor is happening in your life that pushed you into this stage of burnout, I urge you to reassess it. Can you take a step back from it? Can you put whatever that is on pause for a second while you become present in the most important areas of your life?
Find a couple of moments and just be still
My belief with self care is that it should be woven throughout your day instead of trying to pile it on at one specific point during your day to day life. So, I'm not going t sit here and tell you that you need to escape to a spa for the afternoon and that will fix your burnout. Instead I'm going to ask you to just do one thing for me and just sit and breathe for 5 minutes every hour. Do this without electronics, without the TV or any distractions.
You may be saying "okay Lauren, I have kids I can't just stop for 5 minutes every hour and stare" and I totally get that since I run into this problem with my own babe, but when I'm going through burnout I find that 5 minutes of soft breathing when I'm watching Amelia play. When she's just engrossed in whatever activity she's doing. I treat it like a meditation and zone into it, purposely shutting off my mind to any stressors and just focusing on my breath.
Find a couple of minutes and just sit with yourself. Find that calm that you and I both know is inside you, its just surrounded by a cloud of exhaustion and stress. Just sit. Just breathe.
Babysitter, cleaner, grocery services, whatever it looks like to you find the help you need to get you through this difficult time.
My friend there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. For finding that little bit of valve release on your brain and heart. When you're feeling overwhelmed and burnt out one of the best things that you can do is find some help. My go to when I'm feeling overwhelmed is to lean on my babysitter, Christine. I found her through care.com and she has become a valuable member of my tribe. (Ha! First time I used the term "Tribe". Look at me I'm a blogger lol). But joking aside it's completely true, finding people to help you be the best version of yourself is incredibly important, especially during a phase of burnout.
So what does that look like for you? Maybe you hire a babysitter like I do and just take some time to sit and read or write at a local coffee shop (or scroll endlessly on Instagram. Just being honest.). Maybe you try out a business like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron or that will deliver and plan your dinner menu for the week so you don't have to for a while. Maybe you sign up to Instacart and outsource your grocery shopping completely while you take some time away and recover from this burnout period. Whatever you need to do and your budget allows, do that and do it unabashedly and without apology.
Friends burnout is going to happen even though you may have built a solid self care routine into your day. Knowing what to do when you're in it will save you time and energy and allow you to tackle this feeling head on.