What is Burnout?
Burnout is defined as physical and emotional exhaustion caused by chronic stress. There are 3 components of burnout:
- Exhaustion – physical, emotional, and mental fatigue such that you believe you have nothing more to give
- Depersonalization – feeling detached and disconnected from others
- Lack of a sense of accomplishment – absence of personal achievement, feeling ineffective and unproductive
Signs of Burnout
Signs of burnout are both physical and psychological. These signs include: chronic fatigue; poor sleep; forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating; mood changes (irritability, sadness, or anxiety); physical symptoms (headaches, body aches); negative attitude towards colleagues or job; decreased productivity; and poor performance.
Motherhood and Burnout: Is there a connection?
We often think about burnout in relation to job stress, but what about burnout and motherhood? Motherhood is the act of raising a child, and it is A LOT of work. Mothers juggle so many roles and responsbilities. Moms are chefs, chauffeurs, personal styles, tutors, referees, and more. The work seems never-ending. The “motherhood shift” runs from early morning to late at night. There are no breaks, no paid vacations. Burnout is an occupational hazard when it comes to mothering, and mothers may experience some of these same signs.
Preventing Mommy Burnout
So how do we guard against the dreaded mommy burnout? Here are 5 helpful tips:
- Acknowledge the truth – Parenting is hard. Children do not come with instruction manuals, so we learn “on the job.” Some days are good, and others downright suck. Somehow, our children survive and even thrive despite our mistakes. There are no perfect kids, and no perfect parents. We should strive to do our best; but when we don’t, we need to get up, forgive ourselves, dust ourselves off, and aim to do better the next day.
- Adopt a healthy mommy mindset – Mindset, a term coined by Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol S. Dweck, refers to a person’s set of beliefs and attitudes that determines his or her interpretation and response to life’s hardships. With a fixed mindset, one believes that you either have the talent or your don’t, emphasizes perfection, and avoids challenges. With a growth mindset, one emphasizes mastery, acquiring new skills, and embracing failures as opportunities to try a different strategy.
- Practice real self-care – Self-care is a popular buzzword these days, but it’s so much more than spa days and girls’ night outs. It’s choosing to create healthy boundaries. It mean’s saying, “NO” to overextending yourself or your children. It requires that you make your health and well-being a priority. You can’t pour from an empty cup!
- Breathe – With all the tings moms have to do, it is so easy to get lost in the busyness of the day. Sometimes we literally need to press PAUSE. STOP. SIT for a moment. REFOCUS your thoughts. Then BREATHE. Breathe slowly and intentionally and enjoy the ensuing calmness.
- Connect – We are meant to live in relationship with others. Healthy relationships fulfill, inspire, and nurture our souls. Build your mommy tribe. Surround yourself with women who love and support you. Accept your authentic self – not the one you wish you were or the woman you show to the world. Nix the criticism of your self and others. All mommas are out here grinding, so let’s make meaningful connections with each other as we experience the journey of motherhood.