I have written about what to do to prevent burnout with self-care strategies, but what happens if you are in the throes of burnout. How do you get back on track? This is exactly what we’re going to talk about today because let’s face it, as women you hear about self-care all day every day, especially as moms. Burnout can be a natural part of life when a crisis happens or when we try to do it all without taking care of ourselves because we struggle to slow down and take things off our plates. So, if you find yourself in burnout here are 6 steps to take to help combat it:
1) Recognize the triggers
Once you realize you are in burnout mode, it’s time to pause and reassess what got you there in the first place. Was it a significant life event that put you over the edge, or was it that you and others put too much on your plate?
- Is it people asking too much of you?
- Is it you getting frustrated with yourself?
- What is currently adding to your burnout?
- What are the things that you are adding to your list?
Reflect on these questions so you know what needs to be addressed first. If it is something you or someone else is doing, you can work on that immediately. If it is life events, like a crisis, then you know you have to simplify as much as you can to not add to the issues you are facing.
Many times we create expectations within ourselves that are hard to accomplish and because of this we strive for something that we may be able to attain but not sustain. First, take a moment to see how you can remove the items that you added to your calendar and To Do list. You can even talk with your spouse and ask for help while doing this. After all, teamwork makes the dream work!
Then, look at your calendar and see where you can free up more time– canceling play dates or visitors coming. Once you do this, you’ll begin to see more white space on your calendar. It’s important to be ok with this because you have to remember that when you hit burnout, you’re no good for anyone, including yourself. You need that empty space.
3) Eat Healthily
When we hit burnout, one of two things happens: we crave all the things and eat unhealthily, or we don’t eat at all. It’s so important during this stage to be intentional about eating healthy foods. Our bodies and brains need the resources when stress takes over, so give them nutrients to keep them going…not crash 30 minutes later! This takes some self-control and mindfulness, but as we clear up our schedules, we’ll have the mental space to challenge ourselves to be smart about what we eat.
4) Go Outside
When experiencing burnout, we tend to act like a hermit and seclude ourselves indoors. Recognize this natural tendency and understand why you are feeling it but still take time to go outside. 15-20 minutes of good sunshine can do wonders. You can sit and enjoy the sun right outside your door or go for a walk. Sometimes if we are walking to a specific place (neighbor’s house), it helps instead of just walking without purpose. If it’s a rainy day, grab an umbrella and still go walk around your neighborhood. The exercise will help clear your mind.
5) Monitor Your Sleep
Checking our sleep patterns is imperative to do. Be sure that you are getting enough sleep. Also, it’s important to remember that burnout is like depression, and we can feel exhausted all the time even when we have not done much. There is a point where we can sleep too much, and it can make us groggy. If we sleep too much during the day, it can mess up our sleep in the evening. Make healthy sleep a priority for your mental and physical health.
6) Connect With Others
Many times we can find ourselves in burnout because we are a “yes” person and over-commit ourselves. Once we hit burnout, we tend to shut everyone out, thus isolating ourselves even further (remember number 4). So, as we try to gain our footing back and, as mentioned before, create white space on our calendars, it’s crucial to connect with key people around us. Be intentional about who you are connecting with and saying yes to. They don’t need to add to your feeling of being drained.
Find one person who you can be honest with when you’re in a bad place. Make sure it is someone who will not add to your plate or make you feel bad. They will just be there for you in whatever way you need them to be. Sometimes you need that one person that sees you and hears you in the darkness and helps you step out of being burnout.
When you struggle with burnout, go back to the basics and focus on simplifying. It’s important to acknowledge that the burnout is there and not try to fight it by ignoring it. This will only deepen the effects. Once you take the steps in the right direction, you’ll be able to better manage the burnout and learn how to keep it from coming back again.