5 steps to avoid burnout as a mum - you can thrive as a result
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion as a result of excessive and prolonged stress.
“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long” - Michael Gungor.
What happens to you? Too much stress can cause your body to display a range of physical and psychological symptoms. It could be irritability, lack of energy, tummy upsets, headaches, sleep problems, lack of motivation or focus.
To manage stress, you may reach for unhelpful strategies such as alcohol, smoking or eating sugary foods. Focusing on more healthy ways to manage stress will prevent burnout and be more effective in the long term. Exercise, drinking water, getting outdoors, spending time with friends and practising mindfulness can be effective and possible alternatives.
5 steps to avoid burnout
Know your stress triggers. Everyone handles stress differently. Knowing what causes you stress is the first step to managing it. If you find mealtimes stressful or getting out the door in time in the mornings, take some time to look at how you could make things go more smoothly. Look at your own expectations of yourself and your children at these times. Are they appropriate or unrealistic?
When you put together your daily to-do list, where do you feature on it? Be intentional about making time for you during the day. It could be just taking a break, ringing a friend or having a short walk. Knowing what you need to recharge is essential to being able to give well to those around you.
Maintain healthy boundaries
To set healthy boundaries you need to know your limits both physically, emotionally and mentally. You need to know what you can tolerate and accept and what makes you uncomfortable or stressed. Boundaries are a sign of a healthy relationship and they demonstrate self-respect. Next time you hear yourself saying ‘I have to do this, or I need to do this’ replace those words with ‘I choose to do this.’
It is well documented that exercise combats stress. Prioritising time for regular exercise can impact your ability to handle the stresses of being a mum. It can be hard to find the time but it is essential.
You have a limited amount of energy to spend, and if you’re not careful you can end up pushing yourself beyond a healthy threshold. In order to keep generating more energy, you need to let your body rest. We are designed to repair from the daily wear and tear and this happens when we rest. Sometimes if you want to go a bit faster, you need to slow down!
It can feel like we need to be wonder woman all the time. That’s just not possible or practical! Taking time to focus on these five steps will enable you to re-fill your tank so that you can give out of the overflow to others.