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5 Things To Do When You’re Experiencing Burnout

To me, burnout feels a little bit like being stuck inside a hamster cage postered with to-do lists and no visible door. Dramatic, maybe, but oh so true. Add in motherhood and you’ve also got a toddler hitting the cage with lego.

Burnout is defined as a state of exhaustion, overwhelm, and feeling unable to keep up with constant demands.

Motherhood, confinement, and working from home has got to be the world’s BEST recipe for burnout. But you don’t have to live with it.

I’m writing this article after a really terrible week where, after experiencing severe burnout, I started to question whether or not I even wanted to be a mom. Thinking that feels bad, voicing it feels even worse – I’ll share more about that some other time. For now, here are my best tips and 5 things that really help me when I’m experiencing burnout.

1. Talk about it and cry

I have a lot of reluctance when it comes to crying. It makes me feel weak, attention-seeking, and like I’ve failed. But I’m aware that none of this is true! And in fact, crying offers some of the best relief when it comes to burnout.

The easiest way for me to cry is to open up and feel heard. Whether that’s with my partner, mom, best friend, or sister. Having someone listen to how you’re feeling and give you the space to sort through the influx of emotions that you’re feeling can be such a huge help.

Choose someone you trust to hold space for your most authentic burnt-out self and let it a-a-a-a-all out.

2. Have a shower

Get in the shower and you’ll feel 10x better. Last week I left the dinner table to have a shower – something that goes against all of my adult dinner etiquette rules. (There are different rules when it comes to my daughter, she’s more likely to start speaking Spanish than sit down to eat an entire meal…).

But I digress.

What happened is this. Thalia asked me to read ‘Dear Zoo’ to her and I literally felt like someone had asked me to perform heart surgery. The third time she asked me to read it I cried. So I quickly excused myself and had a long ass shower. And it felt great. Even if my daughter stood in the bathroom watching me the entire time – the shower door made me feel a bit more alone.

Feeling burnt out can make us feel sluggish, lazy, and stuck. So getting clean, brushing our hair, and changing into some fresh clothes can do our emotional exhaustion the world of good.

3. Get outside

It can be really hard to leave the house when we’re feeling overwhelmed. We look around the house at all of the things we “should” be doing and need to keep on top of – whether it’s being present with our children, doing the washing up, preparing a meal, or working from home – and feel totally smothered under what feels like the heaviest burden in the world.

When you’re burnt out but feel like you need to be productive or that you should be doing something, forget about all.of.it and go outside.

In fact, as soon as I’ve finished writing this blog post, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Wrap up the kids, tell work you need an extension, leave the washing up until later, forget about unloading the washing machine – whatever it is, put it on the back burner and go outside to breathe some fresh air.

In winter it can feel particularly wonderful to do this – the rain and cold air is a really quick way to feel connected with the world around you, embrace it.

4. Read something inspiring

Turn your phone on flight mode an hour or two before you go to bed and read something inspiring. Something that reminds you of your inner power and the fact that you can do ANYTHING. Learn about the science behind meditation, techniques for practising mindfulness, or a book written by someone who you love and admire.

Here are just a few of my favourite books for feeling connected to your power and learning about your potential outside of everything that’s weighing you down:

The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
You Are The Placebo – Dr. Joe Dispenza
You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero

5. Take some time out

It’s ok to take time out. And I’m telling myself this as much as I’m telling you.

Thalia spent all Friday with her Granny, most of Saturday, Saturday night, and all Sunday. I’m writing this whilst she’s still there and feeling guilty as hell about it (but also knowing that I desperately needed some time to nourish my existence outside of being Thalia’s mom).
Though it was a lot trickier during lockdown, here are some strategies that came from that time which teach us that it is possible to take some time out without having to send the little ones away:

- Go for a walk by yourself whilst your partner stays home
- Set up a Netflix and popcorn hour (or 3…).
- Have a long bath with books, candles, and your fave podcast.
- Whip out some yummy snacks to keep their attention.
- Wake up an hour earlier than your children and enjoy a tea all alone (imagine that!). You can always nap later…
- Stay up a little later than usual and enjoy your own or your partner’s company – no phones!

When it comes to burnout you are your own best friend and worst enemy. You can take a small and simple action to move past it or spend days feeling really shitty about it and becoming totally consumed by it. Most of all, see if you can get away with doing a little bit less. And if not, take one day to power through everything – followed by a week’s holiday (if only!).

Is there a pattern to your burnout? What’s your favorite way to overcome it?

By Keira Leane Shepherd
Reproduced with kind permission

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