It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on moms everywhere. Between navigating working from home, taking on the role of homeschool teachers, and keeping up with regular chores and responsibilities, more and more mothers are feeling stressed out and reaching that point of burnout. Burnout is a feeling of being totally overwhelmed like you have nothing left to give.
In this article, we will learn how to recognize burnout in yourself and also what to do about it because we all want to feel better about ourselves, right?
So let’s dive in!
How to Recognize Burnout
It is important to remember that every mom is unique and will experience burnout in different ways. That said, know that you are not alone and that there are many moms out there with similar struggles, you don’t have to suffer in silence!
These are common signs that you can look out for to determine whether you’re experiencing burnout. They are;
- A lingering feeling of sadness.
- Feeling avoidant toward activities you used to enjoy.
- Feeling numb.
- Feeling desperate just to be alone.
- Chronic exhaustion even when you’ve had enough sleep.
- Overeating or undereating.
- Headaches or migraines.
- Drinking way too much caffeine to “get going”.
- Digestive distress, which can include bloating and constipation.
- Avoiding going out in public, especially with your kids.
- Hiding out away from your family.
- Always grumpy and snapping at family members.
REMEMBER: You Are Not Alone
It is very important to acknowledge that you might have feelings of guilt and shame when you go through phases of burnout. This is because you know how you want to be as a mom, but when you burnt out it’s really difficult to show up and it’s hard to do the things you really want to do when you are so overwhelmed. Please don’t let that stop you or hold you back from seeking the help that you may need, you do not have to go through this alone!
Now let’s look at how you can manage burnout.
20 Best Tips & Advice To Manage Burnout
1. Eat Properly
What we eat can either help or hinder our health, especially when we’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. However, try to focus on eating foods that nourish your body, such as;
- Omega-3’s: These foods give the brain the type of fats that it needs to function properly.
- Leafy greens: The different B vitamins found in greens may boost your mood, fight fatigue and improve your sleep.
- Lean proteins: These foods can help maintain the balance of serotonin in our body, which is important for our mood and brain health.
- Whole grains: The fibre found in whole grains can slow down and balance blood sugar spikes and crashes.
2. Learn to say “No”
As mothers, we feel the need to do it all, all the time. We fall into the trap of being that “Yes Mom” in our circles. But it is so important to set and hold boundaries because it’s impossible to keep everyone happy all the time. Your wellness is vital and you are allowed to say no!
3. Get Enough Sleep
While getting enough sleep can be difficult, especially with small children, sleep is extremely important to our overall mental health and general well being. If necessary, set an earlier bedtime or aim to take naps when your kids do. Even if you think you won’t be able to get as much done if you sleep, you’ll probably find that you’re much more productive (and happy) when you are well-rested.
4. Talk about your Challenges
Take time to talk to someone to help understand the root of your stress and overwhelm. A mental health professional can help you address and work through issues like sleep, self-care, and family support- factors that may impact your mental health.
5. Ask for Help
Your kids and partner will benefit from a happier mom. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need or even want it. It may be a little bit embarrassing to admit you’re struggling, but you don’t have to do it all alone.
6. Make time for You
Being a Mom during a pandemic is a full-time job, with forced overtime! You need to take breaks. You need downtime and alone time. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to take breaks because of your duties as a parent. Try using a contingency statement, like “Mommy needs 15 minutes. I need you to (read, play, watch). After 15 minutes, we can do something fun.” Remember to take care of yourself. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a journey, so refuel when you can.
7. Make time for your Partner
Spending time with your partner is a great way to manage your burnout. It’s so important that you disconnect and unwind occasionally together. Quality time is more important than quantity, so if you’re only able to carve out small moments, make them count!
8. Make time for Friends
Venting or letting off steam with your friends does not make you a burden— that’s part of their job description! Additionally, having a strong support system will help you through times when things just get too much.
Exercising is good for our bodies and our minds. And, the endorphins that are released when you exercise will leave you feeling happier and more at peace.
10. Connect with Nature
A simple change in environment can do wonders for your mood and energy levels. Make a point to get outside every day. You only need about 10 minutes of sunlight to benefit from the effects of Vitamin D. Spend some time in nature, maybe at the beach or take a walk in a park, anywhere, just so that you can connect with yourself again.
11. Honour your Needs
Being a good mother doesn’t have to mean running yourself ragged and giving up any part of yourself. In fact, honouring your needs and continuing to do the things that you love and that bring you joy, will teach your kids to do the same.
12. Listen to your Body
By now you will know that being a mother isn’t easy, there are a lot of sacrifices, stress, and sleepless nights. Which makes it that much more important that you learn to be mindful of what your body says and how it reacts. Take time out to refuel and re-energize and give yourself some grace.
13. Do things Smarter – Not Harder
Think about operating your home like a small business. Try to outsource everything you don’t like or don’t have time to do. Your time is valuable, so consider where it’s best spent. For example shopping; the act of shopping is simple, but it can take up so much time, especially if you have little ones that you have to cart along. Shopping online for essentials such as toiletries, clothing, groceries and sometimes even big-ticket items can save you a lot of time.
Did you know that you can now add some kids snacks to your cart when shopping for nappies and baby care products on Drypers.co.za? We know how busy so we are trying to make it a little bit easier for you.
14. Let Your Child Do It
Sometimes it’s easier to do things for our kids than to get them to do it themselves. But raising an independent child who understands responsibility begins with letting them do things for themselves. The more they take on, the less you have to do and every little bit helps you.
15. Find a Community
No one should face the challenges of motherhood alone, and certainly not during a pandemic. There are many peer support groups, both formal and informal, online and in person. Asking for help and sharing with others will lighten the load and you will soon realise that you are not alone in this.
16. Make a “To-Do List”
Sometimes the biggest source of overwhelm in a mother’s life is knowing that there are 10 000 things to do but not having a clue where to start. Make a list every evening of what you know has to be done the next day. Keep it with you and add to it as your day progresses. You’ll find a sense of relief and accomplishment as you are able to cross each item off that list. If it helps, categorise your list into different sections for the various responsibilities of your life. From work to home to kids, etc. But be careful this doesn’t become another form of pressure.
17. Make your Mental Health a Priority
While your family may be your first concern, you can’t take care of them the way you want to if you’re struggling with your own mental health. Prioritizing your mental health can take many different forms. Maybe take 30 minutes each morning to practice deep breathing exercises. Doing this will allow you to clear your thoughts and prepare you for the day ahead.
18. Focus on what you DO Accomplish
There is usually no end to our to-do lists, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things we haven’t gotten done. But take a few minutes each evening to reflect on what you have done. Take your wins as simple as they are, changing 10 diapers or successfully preparing supper, hanging out washing or ticking things off your to-do list.
19. Give yourself Grace
You do not have to lower your expectations for yourself or your kids. However, you can shift those expectations and figure out what works best for you and your family. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.
20. Take a break from Social Media
It is so easy to compare your life to the unrealistic expectations of what we see on social media. This is only a recipe for disaster and it can make you feel like you are never doing enough. Take a week off from social media and focus on you, your family and your home. Spend this time on things that will serve you better such as exercising or tackling a project around the house.
The responsibilities and expectations that come with being a mother are daunting and endless. Yet, it does not have to be stressful. You need to regain your calm, your confidence, and your joy in being a mother. And hopefully, the tips above can be easily implemented to reduce the overwhelm of motherhood in your life and prevent burnout.
How do you cope with it all?
How do you deal with the overload of being a mom? Do you have any tips to add? Share your secrets to sanity in the comments below or contact us here.