Mum Burnout is real and it is surprisingly common. If you want to know some common signs and quick tips to deal with it then read on.
Pretty much every mum I have ever spoken to has experienced burnout, sometimes quite often. The reasons differ but the result is the same. Exhaustion. For me, I know I place too much pressure on myself until something quite literally snaps. I have been working on my self-love and self-care this past year and journalling has lead me to realise there are some surprising signs that can signify burnout.
5 signs of Mum Burnout
1…You feel constantly overwhelmed
We all know that having children is a never-ending job from dawn until dusk (and in between if you have bad sleeping children like me). The sheer effort of the constant feeding, cleaning up, laundry, laundry and more laundry is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. If however, you feel like you have no energy to tackle any of your usual tasks then this might be a sign.
2…You are finding yourself angry very often
We all lose our cool at times with our children, patience is the hardest thing to muster on the most challenging days. If you are finding that you are shouting a lot more frequently then this could be a sign. For me, this is the most noticeable sign. When my patience is growing less resilient I know I am in a burnout state. This year we have all had to spend a lot more time together and deal with lots of emotions around the situation of Covid-19. I imagine mum and parent burnout is more prominent than ever, self-care is therefore super important at the moment.
3…You take offence easily at comments from others
This is a surprising sign. When we are in a more content state then the comments or observations about our children, house, lifestyle, choices are easier to wash over. When we are in a burnout state then the slightest remark can send us into a very negative thought space. The root of this could be underlying feelings of failure or worry about what others think of us, a problem to tackle in its own right.
4…You are not prioritising your own physical and mental health
You might have been committed to your morning yoga and meditation or an evening walk or run. You were eating a mostly healthy diet and limiting the things you know are not good for you. All that is now out of the window. When we are in a burnout state we feel exhausted and drained so going for a run becomes unappealing but reaching for another coffee and chocolate bar will keep you going (for a while). Unfortunately, this only compounds the problem as exercise and a good diet are needed for energy and motivation.
5… You are sleeping badly
This one really makes no sense. If you are completely exhausted then you should fall asleep the moment your head hits the pillow, right? Sadly that’s not always the case. For some people (myself included) the more exhausted I become, the worse I seem to sleep. I don’t know if it is because my body is running on too much stress hormone in the day or simply if I become “overtired”, the same way as children do. Whatever is the cause it is completely frustrating and can become a bit of a difficult cycle to break out of it.
Ok, i have those signs. What can i do about it?
Luckily there are many, many ways we can help get ourselves out of a burnout state and avoid going back into one again. You have probably seen the post going around social media… “self-care is not all salt baths and chocolate”. Well, I think it is a little of that and some other things as well. Let’s have a look and see what we can do.
Write it out
I know journaling is not everyone’s cup of tea but free writing can really clear the head and help make some plans to change. Just pose a question such as “what is annoying/stressing/exhausting me the most at the moment?”. You might be surprised how quickly you can resolve a few things. Once you know what is causing you the most stress then try and just pick one or two small steps to work on that day. If it is housework, I really advise just ignoring it for a full day (it really won’t matter) then when you have allowed yourself a small break from it try and think up some ways to make it a little easier. I love boxes, colourful laundry baskets and drawers to quickly put away/hide the chaos.
Run it out
Do some exercise. Even when you feel too exhausted to get off the couch I promise exercise is worth it. You get some time to yourself, you get to feel healthier and stronger plus you get a hit of happy hormones. Exercise also will help with the sleep troubles and start you on a better track to proper rest. Running is my love but any exercise that gets you working up a sweat will do. There is a whole host of amazing online fitness programmes around now. Why not try Peloton or Pilates Anytime?
Take up mindfulness
Learning mindfulness can give you an escape when the day becomes too much. Being a mum is beautiful, exhausting, relentless work. Giving yourself 10-20 minutes a day to nurture a mindfulness practice will give you the strength to find that quiet space when you need it throughout the day.
Read a book
The kids are in bed but instead of gifting yourself a couple of precious peaceful hours you start on your list of chores or check-in with a work task. Of course, it is not always possible to ignore the chaos or leave work but if they don’t need to be done that night then give yourself the gift of peace and a book. Reading allows you a small escape and is a way to switch your thinking brain off for a while. A great present for a tired out mum.
Rein in the need to be perfect
Us mums like to punish ourselves, don’t we? We need to be perfect, we compare ourselves to others and we criticise ourselves. This helps nobody, causes undue stress and makes us more likely to react badly. Nobody does parenting perfectly, no matter what those social media photos might say.
Just accept life as it is THAT DAY and then move onto the next. Every day is a new beginning and realise that we are all just trying to do our best. Our children don’t need perfect. They don’t care about laundry loads or untidy kitchens. They just want us to be happy and present.
Allow yourself time to work on your own passion project or business idea
Sometimes guilt stops us from taking some time to work on our own passion project or business idea. Allowing yourself this time to use your passion and creativity can actually revitalise a tired brain and give you more energy. It might be as simple as working a few hours on your blog or business or taking a course online to up your skills and confidence for the future.
And finally… yes take a bath and eat some chocolate
Chocolate releases endorphins (more happy hormones) and a bath is just bliss with some beautiful oils and a few candles. Sometimes it just needs to be that simple.
There are so many more ways you can give yourself a reset and help cope with mum burnout, these are just a few of my go-to techniques. I hope they help you and I would LOVE to hear any others that you have tried and tested. Let’s help each other out, Mums together.
Want some more tips from another mum in the know? I loved this post from Kim (aka Recounts of Kim) a fellow mum blogger, doing the great balancing act of raising children and trying to find a few moments for herself.
Let’s share the love? Any thoughts to add? Just drop me a message below.
Here with you.