Override mum burnout: 6 simple ways to start with

How can you say goodbye to the overwhelm, anxiety and anger spikes that seem to be ruling your life? Read on for essential tips on overriding mum burnout.

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Do you feel like no matter how hard you try, you can barely stay on top of things? And, do you also feel that guilt that you’ve not managed to tick off all the things you planned for the day or week? This constant back and forth between not having the energy to finish all the tasks and beating yourself up because of it makes you even more wiped-out. What we need to recognize is that feeling drained, emotionally and physically, is one of the key signs of mum burnout.

Visible symptoms of mum burnout

There are many signs that signal burnout has set in. Some of them are:

  • mental fatigue,
  • physical exhaustion,
  • being short-tempered,
  • feeling completely emotionally depleted,
  • feeling disconnected or isolated from others, including your kids,
  • experiencing mum guilt about behaviors and reactions, thoughts or feelings,
  • having parental guilt,
  • feeling anxious or overly focused on what comes next,
  • having quite extreme emotional highs and lows, or
  • having social fatigue, which prevents you from tapping into support networks.
signs of mum burnout

So, if you ticked some of the bulleted points above, you must be interested to find out whether there is a way out of this. Because you know that your energy levels are quite low and you’re sure that a major shift (which you obviously need) is not likely to happen. You can find out more in my podcast episode Stop mum burnout now! or carry on reading.

Before you think “Oh my goodness, if one more person talks to me about self-care, I’m actually going to punch them in the face.”

But let’s put it this way: if it was a priority, you’d make time.

Stop burnout by making time for what matters.

This blog aims to give you the tools and tried and tested methods of my own to manage mum burnout. And I’m not saying I get it right. I still have those moments when I also feel burnt out – in fact, it only happened recently, which is actually the inspiration for this post.

I had to stop to think: Why am I feeling this way? Why am I feeling so discombobulated? And it dawned on me that I’ve not been getting around to so many of the things that I do (let’s call them self-care practices) to help me manage my well-being and my stress levels.

In order to make time for self-care which will help us eliminate burnout, we have to manage our time a bit better. It’s about being efficient with your time and making the best use of your time.

But the key is where you create gaps in your diary by being efficient with your time, not to then fill them with other stuff. It’s one thing I always have to check myself on and say, “That’d be enough”. Protect your time so that you can make time for self-care.

Time management tips that ease mum burnout

Be realistic about what you can achieve.

I have to be really conscious of setting myself my most important actions every day. So I set myself three things on my to-do list every day and that can be a mix of personal and business. Those are the three things that absolutely must happen. And I do speak more about this in my morning routine episode.

But the problem usually comes when we try to do all the easy things first and leave the most important stuff to the end of the day when we’re stressed out and we’re tired and this is when we have the meltdowns so it’s just really about being realistic.

That’s why I like to do my weekly CEO date where I look across the week and see what I need to achieve. Then, I chunk it up into three most important actions for each day. But it’s not always that simple because of female hormones and that time of the month or in the lead up to that time of the month. Women aren’t flat line like men. We do have this up and down. So, it is also being mindful of what is achievable at a given time.

Because it is imperative that you allow yourself time to rest, especially physically. You shouldn’t be running around all the time. Take breaks. Use your breaks to pamper your body with the nutrients it needs by allowing time for mindful food prep and eating. Or use your breaks to ease in an evening routine that will ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

You need an evening routine, too

Assess your time.

Take a bit more critical look at how you spend your time. Are you wasting time in the shops for example, when you could be doing it online? Are you spending all hours on your phone and not the one hour that you tell yourself? Is that time productive? Is it mindless? Does it lead you to burnout or is it contributing to your life and wellbeing?

Something that I do is give myself a digital detox day on a Sunday. Because that to me is the break I need. And I’m looking to extend that to a Saturday and Sunday digital detox.

Another example is grocery shopping. For me, it is something that has to give in order to create more time. Top it up with meal planning which is such a key thing, and you’ve got yourself covered. Get my free meal planner with 40 amazing recipes here.

Make your life revolve around your priorities. And I know that that seems so obvious. But I had this amazing analogy given to me the other day about glass balls and rubber balls. The glass balls are the things we cannot afford to drop – our families, our children’s wellbeing, etc. But a rubber ball will be one that when dropped, will bounce back. It will not shatter. We can pick it up again. These would be things like going to the gym. For example, if you can’t get to the gym three times a week, you can maybe reduce that to once a week. And you can pick it up again next month.

Stop burnout analogy

Trying to hold all the balls in your hands is impossible. You’ll eventually drop them, and lose your marbles (yes, pun intended).

Another thing to bear in mind is responding to messages and calls. Unless urgent, they are only a request for your time. Replying can be so distracting and mentally exhausting because it will take double the effort to come back to what you were originally doing. That’s why, you should get back to everyone as soon as you’re able to, and don’t apologise for it. Life is busy and everyone knows that. Think about the glass and rubber balls principle again.

Manage who’s responsible for tasks.

Don’t take on everyone’s responsibilities and just be that “Oh, it’s okay. Never mind, I’ll do it myself” person. Take charge and make the person responsible to do it. What I’ve done is delegated the weekly grocery shop to my husband. We have a app on our phone, Microsoft To Do app, which is free. You can download it and you can share your list.

Learn to say no. Mum burnout off you go.

Are you always trying to be that people pleaser? That person who’s always saying yes? Don’t be a martyr – say no. You’ll immediately see mum burnout ease.

Switch off your phone notifications.

I’ve had notifications off my phone for years now. I also have downtime on my phone. So, at half past nine at night, it goes into dark night time mode and doesn’t come back until it’s half past six in the morning.

Be done with perfection.

Stop burnout by being done with perfection.

It doesn’t exist. So why are we striving for the impossible?

Why does no one fold the blankets and puff the cushions? What if I just went to bed without doing it? What if it didn’t have to be perfect the next morning when none of us actually sit in the lounge again until the evening? Done is better than perfect. And that is a mantra that has served me so well.

If you can start small, and build your way up to do all of the things I have tried and work for me, you will start to get some much-needed rest. And that will allow you to create more time for the things that you love doing and that support you in creating a life in which you will thrive. Mum burnout, although inevitable at some moments in life, will hopefully be a thing that doesn’t live with you.

Grab my Habits of Health Guide to help you to holistically create 2-3 achievable habits with simple and tangible ways to implement them in to your busy lifestyle.