Inside: Working mom burnout is real and a bubble bath isn’t going to fix it. Use these strategies from Cora Gold, Editor in Chief of Revivalist.
Let’s face it. Sometimes the weight of all life’s responsibilities can get too heavy.
As a working mom, your job doesn’t stop once you step away from your desk. Instead, you head home and step into the shoes of your biggest job: being a parent. You are go, go, going all the time and the juggle is real.
When juggling all your jobs starts to feel overwhelming, your stress can lead to exhaustion and your exhaustion can lead to burnout.
You’ve probably read every article suggesting you take a bath or have a glass of wine when the busyness feels overwhelming. However, those tips often don’t create long-lasting change in your life or combat the prolonged exhaustion and feelings of stress that accompany burnout. So if you feel like you’re on the edge of burnout and tried everything, use these strategies instead.
1. Find the Source of the Stress
To solve the problem, we need to know what the problem truly is and then tackle it with small steps.
Grab a notebook and pen and start writing without judgment about what has been going on lately. Specifically, when you’ve been stressed to your breaking point, what has been happening around you? Who are you with and what are you doing? Are there certain triggers that are elevating your stress levels?
For example, are you stressed about finances? Knowing that is a good start. Now here’s one small action you can take. Research your salary on Glassdoor to see if you are being undercompensated at your job and should consider negotiating a raise. Or, if you find that the problem is actually around spending habits, whenever you start a free trial, take note of the date you’ll be forced to make a payment so you can opt-out of paying for something you don’t enjoy.
These small steps aren’t going to combat burnout on their own, but by identifying your stressors and then taking small steps you are taking some control back.
2. Support System Analysis
We don’t usually talk about analyzing your friends and family, but being objective about your current support system can help you understand where you need more or different help.
For example, you may have a wonderful partner, but maybe you’ve found that you are missing the deep relationships you had with friends before kids. Or you have great friends, but they live far away and you don’t have people in your local community.
A support system is just that, a system. It’s not all you and it’s not all just one other person. A great support system helps you meet the multiple needs of a multi-dimension person – that’s you! What parts of your unpaid support system are you missing and what can you do about that to build new relationships or strengthen existing ones?
3. Outsource the Work
If there are gaps in your unpaid support system, it’s okay to outsource work to paid members of your support system as well!
If you don’t have a family member or friend close by to babysit the kids or help you run an errand when you’re in a pinch, check your finances to see what you can hire out. Whether that’s through grocery delivery, childcare, or cleaning support, there are lots of ways to think about outsourcing. Tens of thousands of housekeepers are employed in every state and delivery services are available for almost everything!
Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
4. Block Out Time
When you’re feeling burned out, it’s because you have completely poured out your own cup and you’re emotiationally, mentally, and physically drained. So finding ways to refill your own cup isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s a necessity.
First, consider what activities help you feel like you. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, physical challenge, or creative outlet, finding a hobby you love can be a game changer.
It’s not just about finding a hobby though, you need to block out time for them. Even if it’s 15 minutes on your calendar to read a book, 20 minutes to take a walk, one hour a week to go to the pottery studio – block that time out!
The meetings you schedule with everyone else are locked in, so this meeting should be locked in too. Commit to the time and know that when you do you are giving back to yourself and your family by working to overcome burnout.
5. Spend Time Alone
When you have little kids and co-workers keeping you company throughout the workweek, you may just want to hear nothing but silence once in a while. There’s no shame in that!
Once you feel the pressure to isolate yourself, listen to your instincts. Let your partner know you need time alone, lean on your support system, or call the babysitter, even if you’re not going anywhere.
Then when you have your alone time, use it for yourself! Do something you love or take care of yourself. If you crave a shower alone or time to watch your favorite show, do it. Need some sleep, get it. The laundry can wait, the groceries can wait. This alone time needs to be blocked out for you.
The most important thing here is that you are honoring your own needs and letting the people in your life know that you need help.
6. Join the Fight
Working mom burnout is not a challenge you need to face alone, and it’s also not something we can completely solve on our own. We need employer and government support so that our systems are better aligned with what working moms are facing every day.
That’s why women across the country are joining forces to advocate for paid leave, pay transparency, affordable childcare, and mental health supports in the workplace.
Check out the Overcoming Working Mom Burnout podcast for more solutions and leaders you can follow to join the fight to fix these broken systems so we’re not left with bubble baths as the only solution.
Take Care of Yourself To Take Care of Everyone Else
As a mother, you’re used to working overtime. We see you, and you’re killing it out there!
But remember taking care of yourself, advocating for yourself, and investing in yourself IS taking care of your family. Your energy, happiness, and health matters so let’s work together to combat burnout and give your family the gift of YOU.
Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist magazine and a passionate writer. She loves exploring life, family, and inspiration through writing and collaborating with others who share her interests. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.