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One of the most challenging and fulfilling endeavors in life is embarking on the journey of motherhood.
Being a mother can bring immense joy but can also lead to significant stress. The challenges of parenting can swiftly lead to exhaustion, also known as mom burnout, a condition characterized by mental, physical, and emotional fatigue.
Mom burnout can negatively impact your relationships, health, and overall quality of life. Thankfully, numerous strategies exist to maintain your well-being as a parent and avoid common parenting mistakes that may contribute to mommy burnout.
Signs You’re Burned Out
Before discussing ways to avoid mom burnout, it’s essential to recognize the signs of parental burnout. Although the symptoms of burnout might differ from person to person, some typical symptoms include:
- Feeling constantly worn out despite getting enough sleep
- Mental and physical exhaustion when dealing with normal daily activities
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Being easily irritated or frustrated
- Feeling unable to handle daily tasks due to being overburdened and feeling chronic stress
- Experiencing physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach aches
How to Deal with Burnout
There are numerous helpful tips and coping mechanisms that you can employ if you’re burnt out. Here are some practical ways to deal with mom burnout:
1. Prioritize Self-Care
Setting aside time for self-care is among the best methods to prevent burnout. Self-care is any practice you engage in to look after your physical, emotional, and mental wellness, and it can take many forms, including:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Taking breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge
- Practicing mindfulness or meditation
- Pursuing hobbies or interests that bring you joy
1a. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for overall wellness. It helps our bodies and thoughts prepare for the day ahead and recuperate from the events of the day before. Unfortunately, many moms don’t get enough sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and decreased productivity.
If you want to prioritize self-care, getting enough sleep is essential. Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night if possible. For moms, this might require asking for more help, letting some things go, and prioritizing getting to bed earlier.
1b. Eat Healthily
Our physical and emotional well-being is significantly influenced by the food we eat. A nutritious, well-balanced diet can give us the nutrients we need to perform at our peak. On the other side, inflammation, weariness, and mood swings can result from a diet high in processed foods and sweets- initiating or exacerbating mom burnout.
You should eat full, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. As moms juggle numerous responsibilities throughout the day, it is crucial to recognize the importance of nourishing ourselves with proper food choices.
A well-rounded and healthy diet provides the necessary fuel for our bodies and contributes to mental clarity and sustained energy levels. In this way, we can better support our well-being and optimize our ability to fulfill our maternal duties.
1c. Exercise Regularly
Another essential element of self-care is exercise. It has several advantages for both physical and mental health, such as lowering stress levels, elevating mood, and boosting energy. Incorporate moderate-intensity exercise into your daily regimen for at least 30 minutes. This could include exercises like yoga, swimming, jogging, or walking.
Short on time? No problem. There are plenty of evidence-based options to try, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT)- a popular and effective option. A newer way some moms are trying is EMS training (Electrical Muscle Stimulation), which can take your intensity level to the next level.
Talk with your partner about what would be the best time to leave home and hit the gym (or workout room in your home), and then organize around that. My exercise time is usually early in the morning while the kids are still asleep. For you, it can be the evening. Even if taking time out means you have to force yourself to do that, do it because it will reflect on your mental health for the better – trust me.
1d. Take Breaks Throughout the Day to Relax and Recharge
To prevent burnout, you must take breaks frequently throughout the day from your work and refuel. Every hour or so, try to take a brief rest. You may take a walk, stretch, or just sit quietly and breathe during this period (easier said than done with kids, but they will benefit from quiet time regularly too).
1e. Practice Mindfulness or Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are practices that can help us manage stress and improve our overall well-being. These practices involve focusing our attention on the present moment and letting go of distractions. Try incorporating mindfulness or meditation into your daily routine, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
1f. Take up Hobbies or Interests That Bring You Joy
Most moms throw aside their interests for their kids and other family members. Yet, engaging in hobbies or interests that bring us joy is essential to self-care. It allows us to take a break from our daily responsibilities and focus on something we enjoy. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or gardening, make sure you are spending time on activities (personal time) that make you happy and prevent mommy burnout.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
As a mom, it’s easy to feel like you need to do everything perfectly. However, setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can quickly lead to mommy burnout. Instead, try to set realistic expectations for yourself and your family.
Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and that you don’t have to do everything on your own. The truth is, you can’t do everything on your own. So, you should spend quality time with your family rather than juggling work and home 24/7.
Setting realistic expectations can also help you prioritize what’s most important and let go of unnecessary stress and pressure. Focusing on what you can realistically achieve and celebrating small victories along the way is essential. Have some self-compassion, and don’t try to do it all!
Note: When you realize what you need to let go of, you can then decide what you need to delegate, skip, or get help with. You can brainstorm with your partner, kids, mother-in-law, friends, etc.
3. Practice Time Management
Mom burnout can be prevented by managing your time effectively. It can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and allow for more time to focus on self-care. It can be accomplished by:
- Creating a daily schedule or to-do list
- Prioritizing tasks based on their importance
- Breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks
- Minimizing distractions, such as social media or email
- Saying no to activities or commitments that aren’t essential
3a. Creating a Daily Schedule or To-Do List
Creating a daily schedule or to-do list is an effective way to manage your time. It allows you to prioritize tasks and stay on track throughout the day. Make a list of all the tasks you must complete and assign them to specific times throughout the day.
Digital diaries and similar tools can be incredibly helpful. You can access and update your schedule on the go through various devices. They have reminders, notifications, and syncing capabilities, which enable you to stay organized and efficient.
The satisfaction of crossing off completed tasks and witnessing the list gradually diminish can be enhanced when using digital platforms, allowing for easier management and the freedom to discard the list once it has served its purpose. That is the best feeling of all!
3b. Prioritizing Tasks Based on Their Importance
Prioritizing tasks based on their importance is another key aspect of effective time management. Focus on completing the most important tasks first, as they will significantly impact your goals. This will help prevent you from getting bogged down by less important tasks. Even if it means taking your time in order to decide what is the most important or constantly reminding yourself to do so.
3c. Breaking Large Tasks into Smaller, More Manageable Tasks
Breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks is a proven method to increase productivity and help avoid parental burnout. When you tackle smaller tasks, you gain a sense of accomplishment, which can help boost your motivation and prevent feelings of overwhelm.
For example, if there are piles of laundry to be sorted out and ironed, do some now and then when you have time or want to take a break from other tasks during the day.
3d. Minimizing Distractions, Such as Social Media or Email
Minimizing distractions is essential for effective time management. Distractions such as social media or email can quickly derail your focus and waste valuable time. Try turning off notifications for non-essential apps or designating specific times to check email or social media.
Minimizing distractions is not only important for effective time management but also for avoiding burnout. Distractions such as social media or email can increase stress levels and decrease productivity, leading to burnout and poor mental health. If you manage to do so, it can create a more focused and productive environment for you that helps you enjoy being a mother more.
3e. Saying No to Activities or Commitments That Aren’t Essential
Effective time management requires learning to say no to obligations and commitments that are not absolutely necessary. Establishing limits and organizing your time according to what matters to you the most is crucial. Saying no to obligations or activities that don’t support your objectives or ideals is perfectly acceptable- don’t let anyone make you guilty about it, either!
4. Get Professional Help
If you’re experiencing burnout, it’s essential to seek professional help. Burnout can significantly impact your physical and mental health, and it’s important to address it as soon as possible. A licensed therapist or counselor can help you manage your stress, reduce anxiety, cope with difficult emotions, and develop strategies for avoiding burnout in the future.
Don’t be reluctant to ask for assistance if you need it. Ask your doctor for a referral, ask your friends for recommendations, or even find a licensed therapist online.
5. Connect with Other Moms
Connecting with other moms can be a great way to avoid burnout and build a support system. It feels good to connect with others and make friends that understand exactly what you’re going through. Some great ways to connect with other moms include:
- Joining a mom’s group or playgroup
- Participating in online mom communities
- Attending mom-focused events or classes
- Reaching out to other moms in your community
5a. Joining a Mom’s Group or Playgroup
Joining a mom’s group or playgroup is a great way to connect with other moms in your area. These groups often meet regularly to allow moms and their children to socialize and connect. Joining a mom’s group can provide you with a sense of community and support. Plus, it gives you a chance to talk with adults and troubleshoot any struggles.
5b. Participating in Online Mom Communities
Participating in online mom communities is another great way to connect with other moms. These communities can provide a sense of connection and support, even if you can’t attend in-person events.
Joining online mom groups or forums can allow you to ask questions, share advice, and connect with other moms who understand what you’re going through.
5c. Attending Mom-Focused Events or Classes
Attending mom-focused events or classes is a great way to connect with other moms who share your interests. Look for events or classes focused on topics that interest you, such as parenting, fitness, or hobbies.
These events can allow you to connect with other moms who share your interests and build a support system. Or just hang out with other moms who have children of the same age you do, and you’ll see you all have the same problems. This will help you feel you’re not alone and instantly feel relieved.
5d. Reaching Out to Other Moms in Your Community
If you don’t feel comfortable joining a mom’s group or attending events, try reaching out to other moms in your community. Initiate a conversation at the playground or the library, or ask a neighbor if they know any other moms in the area. You might be surprised how many other moms seek connections and support.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for mom burnout. Each individual should discover what works best for them, which may involve incorporating some of the following advice. Balancing the responsibilities and joys of being a mom can be both challenging and fulfilling. Make one small change at a time, have grace, and see where it goes.
The most important of all is to acknowledge that burnout can occur. It is important to prioritize self-care, establish realistic expectations, manage time effectively, consider seeking professional help, and connect with other moms. These strategies can help prevent burnout and promote your overall well-being as a mom. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish – it is essential in order to be the best mom you can be.