Last month we explored the assumptions that contribute to moms becoming overwhelmed, stressed out, and drained. As a mom you respond to pressures and expectations by trying to meet everyone else’s needs. Meeting your own needs as a mom is often an after thought.
Most don’t recognize they are overwhelmed until they develop emotional, physical, and/or behavioral symptoms. When you become short fused, your stomach is in knots, or you are drinking more glasses of wine, these cues invite you to tune into yourself. And with greater awareness of what keeps you doing whats not working, new choices start to emerge.
In this way, overwhelmed feelings are a gift to invite you to slow down and tune in. But what if you could also stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed before the signals cue you to slow down? What would it take to retain some energy for yourself before you notice you are completely drained and need to let go of something?
An Invitation to Tune Into Yourself
Before I share how to get out of mom burnout, I want to first invite you to tune into your own wisdom. Each of you have personal wisdom, but it often gets clouded by assumptions and expectations. When you are busy and overwhelmed, you don’t realize you have more choices than you can currently see.
Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and get ready to tune into yourself. Write down 1-3 things that would help you prevent becoming overwhelmed. Identify something you could do (or not do) instead of something you have to get someone else to do.
5 Empowering Choices to Prevent Becoming Overwhelmed
Now let’s explore 5 more choices we have forgotten we have as moms. These choices can be challenging when life is coming at you, but can help you navigate by considering yourself too.
Choice #1: Do Less Even if Others Don’t Do More – If your happiness is tied to getting others to do more so you can slow down, then you will be very frustrated. If you are over-doing it, then invite yourself to do less even though others don’t do more. Your happiness can be freed from what others do or don’t do. If you pick up one more dirty clothing item and become frustrated that you are doing it all, then don’t do it all. Learn to tolerate the undone in order to save your sanity. In doing so, you become more regulated by your own rhythms than your environment.
Choice #2: Decrease Digital Overload – We have so much coming at us in these digitally distracted times. Update the notifications feature on your phone, so you are only notified in the way that doesn’t overload and distract you during the day. Then identify when you will check and respond to messages and notifications, otherwise you will be at the mercy of others timetable.
Choice #3: Define What’s Best for You – Instead of only focusing on what others need, also ask yourself what you need. Many moms don’t consider their own needs until they are resentful and burned out. Stop, tune in, and reflect before you get to that point by considering what’s best for you along the way. Be careful not to compare yourself to your social circle or Facebook network, since that isn’t truly knowing yourself. Trust that you know what’s best for you.
Choice #4: Reserve Open Time in Your Calendar Instead of Filling Up- Set realistic daily goals by keeping open space on your calendar. Just because there’s an open spot on your calendar, doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Stop before saying yes and reflect on the cost and benefit to you in adding one more thing to your calendar. Ultimately, how much energy do you want to give to others and how much do you want to reserve for yourself? If you don’t stop and reflect, you may easily give away any free time in order to get others approval or acceptance.
Choice #5: Let Others Experience Discomfort – It’s hard to sit next to others we care about who are struggling and not be tempted to make it all better. But growth doesn’t come without some pain and discomfort. You will be able to be more present emotionally for your loved ones when they are struggling, if you aren’t adding to your workload of being responsible for one more thing. Let your loved one solve their problem while also caring for them as a person.
I know we want the best for ourselves, our children, and our friends and family. And I also know that you want to be less stressed, resentful and irritable when you are with your family. So it’s time to make some empowering choices that can be both better for you and your loved ones.
Lastly, stop criticizing yourself for being irritable, resentful, or withdrawn. Instead of beating yourself up for having these symptoms, listen to the message they are delivering. Tune into yourself and develop a respect for yourself and your own needs, just as much as you care about others.
Please share in the comments what you wrote down that will help you prevent burnout. Or share which of the 5 choices you want to work on over the next week.
I love working with moms from all seasons of life! If you tired of being overwhelmed and want to feel less stressed out, set aside an hour to devote to self-care and consult with Marci at her office. Or Missouri residents can also consult with her online via Talkspace.