Working mom exhaustion is a state that many moms find themselves in and all of us wish we knew exactly how to overcome it. It is the feeling that washes over you as you pull into the driveway mustering up energy to give to your excited little ones.
It’s that sinking feeling in your gut as you once again wonder what’s for dinner on your drive home.
Its staring aimlessly at the growing mess around your house with both a rising anxiety and an overwhelming frustration. It’s a tired you just can not shake.
The good news is working mom exhaustion isn’t the end of the road! In fact, the fact that you are looking at this post means you are likely looking for that something else. Perhaps some tips or hacks that can help you get beyond the mountain of laundry or dishes or mental stress and see some light at the end of the tunnel. Keep reading for daily habits that can help you beat the exhaustion and find some order and peace in your day!
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What causes mom burnout?
Mom burnout is caused by a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it’s the mental load of motherhood and having to keep tabs on the schedules and happenings of everyone in your household. Other times it is the demands of a career you are in because of love or need added to the fact that motherhood is also a full time job.
Whatever the situation that leads to working mom burnout, the culprit can really be boiled down to one single feeling… Stress! In the course of a day, we all experience quite a few different emotions and temperaments. All of the situations you encounter adds a little more stress on you. When these tiny inconveniences add up, they can lead to a general feeling of ickiness.
That ickiness built up over days/weeks/months leads to a lack of motivation and overall mood of “ehh.” (Insert the shoulder shrug emoji!)
Being overworked and stressed added to less than adequate nutrition and sleep can lead you straight to the doorstep of mom exhaustion!
What are the signs and symptoms of exhaustion?
So while we may not be able to change every stressful situation in our life, we can recognize the signs and symptoms of mom exhaustion and burnout so that we can make the necessary adjustments to take a step back and avoid burnout.
The first thing I want to point out is there are two different types of burnout spoken about both through blog posts like this and in medical literal. The first is moreso the daily frustration after a hard day. This type of burnout is easily overcome with a good night sleep. The second, is more nefarious. It is a medically recognized, self-imposed syndrome that is caused by sustained levels of stress over a time period.
Now that we have discussed the difference, here are a few symptoms to look for to know if you are experiencing burnout.
- Exhaustion – This is usually the first and most long-lasting symptom. Its that feeling that makes you feel as if you would rather lay down and/or get lost in mindless activity instead of focusing in on the things you have to do. It also decreases your ability to process information and make informed decisions
- Cynicism – With this symptom you may find that you just can not seem to find the positive in anything, or worse you are easily angered or frustrated by those around you. This symptom has the worst affect on how others respond to you
- Inefficiency – This symptom will have you believe that essentially life will always be like this. You will have noticed that your follow-through, work productivity and home management is declining. You may find it hard to kickstart your motivation back into gear to get back on track.
If you notice any of these symptoms definitely, stop, take stock of where you are, and then try out the following DO’s and DON’T’s to overcome mom exhaustion.
Do’s and Don’ts to overcome mom exhaustion
You’ve acknowledged that you are on the verge of burnout and you are dedicated to avoiding it at all costs! So what should you do next? Having a few daily tools in your emotional health toolkit can help you climb your way out of the hole that can be mom burnout. Create a personal care checklist using these tips and watch the veil of mom exhaustion lift!
Do’s of overcoming mom exhaustion and beating stress
The first thing you should absolutely do if you are dealing with exhaustion as a mom is to learn some techniques and tactics that can help you manage your stress. Here are some excellent daily habits to start doing now that can help with your stress levels:
Remember the days of the locked journal hiding under your bed? Well, while journaling has become a bit more sophisticated, it seems the younger version of ourselves were on to something!! It turns out writing down your ideas, thoughts, feelings and questions isn’t just something for our baby sitter club younger self. In fact, writing down those things that stress you out is a great way to get the stress out of your head in order to start processing it.
Never journaled before? Not to worry, you can start so simply with just a notebook and 10-15 minutes. Just take a moment to answer one or all of the following questions:
- Today I am grateful for…
- Today I felt , because…
- I am struggling with…
- I am excited for….
Your journal is a completely private place where you can detail whatever is happening right now. For those dealing with intense stress, it may help to write out your fears and concerns in chronological order. You may start to see a pattern or even develop an idea of how to handle those stresses just by writing them down.
Do Pray or Meditate
Prayer changes things. I have seen it time and time again. When exhaustion seems to be the only emotion I can manage, a simple prayer gives me the strength I need to press on and push through. OR gives me the courage to say, “I need a break!!”
Not sure where to start? Well the good news is there are several resources to help you start with meditation. You can look at Youtube for guided meditations. There are also apps such as Abide, Calm, and Soultime that are dedicated to helping you breathe better, focus your mind, and relax.
Exercise is one of the ways that the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends handling stress. For one, it helps you improve your physical condition, and you can also fight obesity, heart issues, diabetes, back problems, and other diseases. Humans need exercise, but there are a lot of conveniences in today’s world that make it seem unnecessary.
Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can help you alleviate stress. There are even a few exercise routines developed specifically for reducing anxiety and getting through fatigue. Here are a few we like best:
- Try the 5 x 30 approach: Walk, jog, dance, or bike three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Burn calories indoors with this routine: 40 jumping jacks, 30 squats, 20 crunches, 10 push-ups. Track your progress.
- Try a 30-minute “fun” exercise routine on YouTube like this one.
- Commit to your exercise goals by setting small daily dedications, such as “I will walk for 20 minutes today” or “I will do 40 jumping jacks before dinner.”
- Create habit chains for exercise, such as this one: “Wake up. Go for a walk. Do squats and crunches. Shower. Eat breakfast. Drink green tea. Put on your favorite outfit.” Wouldn’t that be a better way to start your day?
Starting a healthy lifestyle with better habits takes time. Part of managing your stress with exercise is hanging on to those feelings of relief and happiness after the workout that make it all worth it. By focusing your mind when you work out, you’ll start to forget why you were stressed in the first place.
Do Create healthy Boundaries
If you are the first person people think of when they have a problem, it can be a blessing and a curse. You of course want to help as many people as possible, but if you are facing stress and burnout, it might be a good time to learn how to say no and set some limitations.
There are three main ways to create the healthy boundaries:
- Get help when Needed
- Learn to say ‘No’
- Be clear about your limitations
- Be less accessible
Do engage in activities that you enjoy
Sometimes you just need a break. Whether it’s going for a walk or putting your headphones on to listen to your favorite band, you just need to pull yourself out of the funk. Everyone is different, so not every hobby is going to sync up with your personality. Perhaps one of these will work:
- Start up a new book.
- Pick a trail and hike it.
- Try a coloring book and get creative.
- Try a new recipe.
- Play video games.
- Try a new art form, such as painting, macrame, or crochet
Do Unplug every night
The American Psychological Association recently released a report that shows constantly checking electronic devices is a significant reason for stress in Americans. That makes sense considering that emails, texts, social media, and other notifications are all messages to our brains about something. Could it be that you’re waiting on bad news?
The best way to deal with this is to just unplug. Spend time turning off your phone every night before bed and reading a book instead. There’s nothing that can’t wait, and while it may seem like everything is an emergency, this is one of the biggest reasons that you could be suffering from anxiety.
Don’t do these things to manage stress
There is no shortage of reasons to feel stressed out. From family obligations to work deadlines, stress is something you experience daily. The purpose of stress is to serve as a natural response to how you interact with your surroundings. However, if not managed properly, it can be the cause of unwanted but expected health issues.
So, how can one stay away from it? You can’t. But what can be done to handle it is to change certain habits that increase stress in your life. You would be surprised how simple things we do every day contribute to the pressure you experience. With a little will power, you can stop these unhealthy ways and start reducing stress from day to day.
Here are a few things you can avoid.
Don’t use Caffeine and Stimulants in excess
There is nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning to get the day started. But too much of anything can be detrimental. Coffee gives you a surge of adrenaline and can often instantly boost your mood, but once it crashes, it will leave you wanting for more to recreate that rush. Excessive use can disrupt your sleep and leave you more stressed
Don’t Skip your Daily Routine
You cannot entirely have control over your day no matter how much you plan. There is always something bound to come up, we moms know this all too well. On the flip side, not having a set routine can leave you unprepared and vulnerable to whatever . Having to figure things out on the spot can be stressful especially if time is not on your side.
Try to make a plan and create a routine to get a better idea of what you expect to happen throughout your day.
Procrastination is definitely the biggest culprit for stress. As we mentioned earlier, time may not be a luxury if you are undertaking a huge project at work, for example. But waiting last minute, like working on a week project the day of the deadline or the night before will definitely leave you feeling the pressure.
Procrastinating is a form of self-sabotage. The best course of action is to schedule your plans as close to completion as possible.
Don’t Overbook Your Schedule
On the other end of the spectrum, being too busy is the other reason why stress is so prevalent in modern society. From the moment you wake up, you are met with a slew of to-do lists. Whether you go to work or school, it seems like there is a never ending lineup of chores and activities piling one of top of the other.
Avoid mom exhaustion by assessing your schedule and scale back on the things that can be done by prioritizing them and spreading them out over the course of a few days, week or month.
Don’t Neglect Rest
You’ve heard the expression “the city that never sleeps”, in reference to cities like New York. We live in a society that glorifies weariness and measures your success by the level to which you are willing to sacrifice rest.
Slay all day mentality is slowly killing us!
Making time to get a decent amount of sleep does wonders against stress. In fact, not resting is also responsible for not allowing you to release tension. Scheduling some rest and relaxation time to recuperate from too much activity in your day is an excellent way to cope better with stress.
Don’t Avoid Caring for Yourself
There is a rise in the ideology of self-care due to an outcry for not having time to properly care for basic physical needs. This is expressed from people mainly with busy lifestyles. As discussed earlier in this article, having down time is not considered a reasonable option because there never seems to be enough time to do that. But it is becoming a must, given that not taking care of yourself leads to lack of self-confidence and self-neglect.
It is important to do things to help you restore your own well-being. Whether it is a long soak in the tub or reading a good book, schedule time to care for yourself will allow you to shed stress.
You can overcome mom exhaustion
I know it can be difficult when it feels like the whole world is resting on you being able to maintain the hustle and juggle everything, but the truth is.. It will not fall apart if you decide to take a break! Mom exhaustion is beaten when we decide that our health and wellness is as important as that of those we feel are counting on us.
Additionally taking care of our health is showing our family that personal health and personal accountability is important. This allows them to also walk in personal care and wellness!