Momming is hard! You may be wondering if you’re just tired or it’s something more serious. Here are 8 signs you have mom burnout.
If you read this blog often, you’ll know I write often about how hard motherhood is and dedicate a lot of my posts to motherhood support. I think it’s really important to understand what moms go through, but most of all to know there is help. Mom burnout is a real thing and you may not even realize that it’s happening. Today, I’m sharing 8 signs that you have mom burnout.
8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout
You’re Exhausted All the Time
You’re exhausted as soon as your feet hit the floor and you drag all throughout the day. Girl, I’ve been there. All-day tiredness is a big sign that you are running on fumes. If even a good night sleep can’t quench your exhaustion, there is a bigger problem afoot. Even a deep sleep can’t solve the mental and emotional exhaustion you might be feeling. Or perhaps you aren’t sleeping at all despite being totally exhausted! I’ve found there are two things to help with that. Relaxation (decompressing) and joyful activities.
Relaxation requires you to be awake. It can sometimes mean stillness, quietness, or engaging in an activities that makes you feel relaxed, centered, and calm. For some ideas, look at my post 30 Day Wellness Challenge.
When it comes to joyful activities, this means doing things that bring you joy. Maybe it’s playing sports or doing crafts. Exhaustion can happen when the rigors of life are out of balance with the joy in our lives. Don’t forget that having fun is a great way to replenish yourself.
You Can’t Focus
A lack of focus can show up in all kinds of ways. You may notice you are struggling to remember things. You may notice it’s more than just fogginess. Perhaps, you’re making serious mistakes and oversights – things that are completely out of character for you to overlook. I have a great attention to detail, so when I start making sloppy mistakes I know it’s time to slow down and regroup. When you’re exhausted and burnt out, you’ll struggle to keep it all together.
Everything Sets You Off
For me, the main sign I am burnt out is very obvious. I get irritable! I’m being generous here. I become nothing short of a fire-breathing, snarling, little she-demon when I’ve hit my limit. Everything upsets me. Patience is short. Mercy is little. I hate admitting that, but chances are if you’re around me for any length of time, I can’t keep that a secret. Maybe other people aren’t as extreme as I am, but I bet most people are fairly irritable when they are burnt out. I’ve seen it before in co-workers and family. When we’ve had enough, we get pretty fed up with everything. If you find yourself irritable and frustrated all the time or over small matters, you may need to ask yourself if it’s time for a break.
You Become Negative
Okay y’all. I’m no Tony Robbins or Rachel Hollis. I’m not naturally happy-go-lucky or super positive. I try to be, but it certainly does not come naturally. Becoming negative though is actually one of the first signs I have mom burnout. Being negative doesn’t just mean being a “Debby Downer.” It also means you start feeling jaded, maybe even a little cynical about your life, people and circumstances.
The problem is that when we feed a negative attitude, we being to feel even worse. This is why we are instructed by the Bible, motivational speakers, and life coaches to remain purposely positive during hard times. Actions follow our thoughts. Negative thoughts snowball and we can start lashing out in all kinds of destructive ways. A consistent pattern of negativity might reveal you are burnt out.
When you’re burnt out, your body is physically depleted. Stress can leave you more susceptible to illnesses. Anxiety can create tightness in your chest and even arrhythmia. Depression can actually make your body ache. Mental health affects physical health.
In 2009, I had a nervous breakdown from being overloaded at work. That year, I used six months of sick time! I had precancerous cells, a tumor, a sinus infection that would never heal. Honestly, I felt like my body was breaking down (at the age of 29). I just couldn’t get well until I finally took a few months off work to rebound.
I’m not suggesting that being perpetually sick is solely due to stress. There can be lots of underlying health problems that can cause that. But if you find you are systematically unwell while also experiencing burn out, you may need to take a serious look at what stress is doing to your body. Remember, take care of yourself, friend.
You’re Not Motivated
You know this one well. Demotivation. When we are burnt out, the last thing we want to do…is…well…anything! We are tired of giving. Tired of sacrificing. You’re so done with picking up toys and wiping up crumbs! I know I’m burnt out when I let the house go, live in sweat pants, and have the TV babysit my kids. I know you’ve been there, mama. We all have! We all have days where we don’t feel like adulting, but if you have a long stretch of feeling like this it may be more than just feeling a little lazy. It may be the sign that it’s time for a change. Try switching up your routine or get outdoors. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’ve also found that inviting a friend over for the day can help battle the monotony and loneliness.
You Feel Overwhelmed
After I had my second son, I knew I was burnt out because I felt overwhelmed. For example, before my second son, I was a lively mom who loved hosting playdates and going to toddler “mommy and me” activities. But with my new addition, the thought of straying even down the street from my house overwhelmed me. I suddenly became a homebody because even a trip to the grocery store gave me anxiety. A big sign you are burnt out is the inability to handle small tasks without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a big cue you may have too much on your plate.
In moments like this, you need to ask for help. A neighbor, a spouse, parent, friend – someone you trust. Swallow some pride and ask someone to lend a hand or give you a break. Maybe you need to shirk some unnecessary things in your life to lighten your load. You may even need to get professional help, like a therapist to help process feelings of anxiety.
I’m being candid here. I cry when I’m burnt out. Whether it is out of frustration or being completely overwhelmed, I find I fight back tears. First, there is no shame in crying. In fact, I recommend it. Crying is an emotional release. It is a biological mechanism designed to help us release pent up feelings that might otherwise burden us. Sometimes, having a good, hard, ugly cry is therapeutic. It is cleansing. Do yourself a favor. If you feel your eyes welling up, go to a private place. Scream into a pillow. Sob into your hands. Go ahead and open up to the heavens and have that deep, wailing, body-shuddering cry until you can’t cry anymore. Then get up and wash your face.
Hang In There, Mama
Listen, friend. Things might be rough right now, but they get better. We all get into slumps and have to struggle to find our way out. Get support. That includes seeking out professional help like a therapist if you need to. They can add tremendous value.
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