Our motto is to save you money and make life more enjoyable and more affordable; so you’re going to thank me when I save you years of therapy costs with this one. We are six weeks and one day into summer vacation at my house. That means we have four weeks and six days until the first day of school begins (but who’s counting?) and we have a third grade daughter and a kindergarten daughter. I’m more than halfway through summer, but I’m also at that point where I’m beginning to feel the burn. Not the burn that means you’ve been having too many fun beach days, or that you’re kicking butt at the gym. The kind that means you’re about one more “don’t cut my apple that way!” away from a total breakdown and an appearance on the 5 o’clock news.
Four kids under 7 is no joke. I work from home, so I’m busy. I have four kids, so I’m busier. I have two-year-old twins, so I’m busiest. My husband is the most amazing dad ever and never fails to come home at 5:30 and take over everything so I can relax, but I’m just too Type A to actually do that. There’s always a trip to the store to take, something to clean, something to organize, something to write, something to do, someone to care for.
June was exhausting. It was four weeks of nonstop cheer camp drop off and pick-up five days a week, basketball camp drop off and pick-up five days a week, competitive cheer tryouts, swim lessons twice a week and entertaining guests, going to events and parties and a long weekend vacation where we left the kids behind but went with two other couples and never relaxed for a second (there were too many adorable places to get a cocktail on the water, so we were doing a lot of that).
I am tired. Mentally. Physically. All the tired; that’s me. I know when I’m at the point of burning out, and I recognize the signs and symptoms because I know that it means it’s time for mommy to take a break and recuperate enough to come home and love my life again. With four kids, I’ve become quite good at recognizing the signs of my mental and physical exhaustion, and I also have learned how to deal in a way that makes me a much happier mom, wife and person. Since therapy is expensive, I thought I might share with you what you can do, too.
Recognize the Signs
- Lack of motivation
- Inability to concentrate
These are really just a few of the signs of mental and physical exhaustion that are easy to recognize. You might gain weight, lose weight or experience pain in your body. You might feel tired all the time or awake all the time but you have no motivation. Basically, if you are feeling off and not really yourself, it might be exhaustion of the physical or mental kind. I know when I become excessively cranky or frustrated over things that typically do not bother me that I’m on the brink. I know that when I want to sit down and cry for no reason other than I’m just overwhelmed that I’m on the brink. You know yourself, so you know what to look for.
What To Do
Now that you know whether or not you’re suffering from some serious burnout, you have to find something to make it stop. You have to make some life changes or you’re going to snap, and we all know that’s never pretty. I have a few things that I like to employ in my life that make me feel much better every time.
- Take a time out – There are times when my husband gets home and I kiss him on the cheek on his way in as I’m on my way out. He knows when that happens that it’s a good idea to give me those few hours of shopping or a massage or pedicure or dinner with a girlfriend. He knows that when I’m volunteering to spend time away from him – because he is my favorite person to spend time with – that I’m on the brink. That time out helps.
- Get away – We plan a vacation that does not include the kids at least twice a year for 3 or 4 nights and a night away from them at home or a hotel once a month. We need it. It helps.
- Do something for yourself – I need to put myself first sometimes since I so rarely do. Everything I do is for my job, my husband, my kids, our house, our lives; I never do anything for me. Sometimes I just have to do what I want to do. Sometimes that means sending my husband and the kids out of the house so I can sit down on my back deck and read a book without any interruptions. Sometimes it’s a spa day. It’s whatever I can do for me.
- Work out – This summer I have been at the gym every single day, six days a week. I’d go on Sundays, too, if they were open. I spent at least an hour, but usually more like an hour and 15 minutes, working out. I might take a class such as yoga or body pump or spin, or I jog for a half hour on the treadmill and then do a brisk pace on the elliptical before hitting some weights. It helps so much.
- Take care of yourself – I cannot stress to you how important this is. I always feel so much better mentally when I take care of myself. It’s why I get up at 5 am every morning to shower, work for a bit and then blow dry my hair and put on makeup and an outfit that makes me feel good. Is it necessary? Yes, it is; I feel like I’m taking care of me, and that makes me feel less exhausted and overwhelmed.
When you feel this way, it’s important to take care of it as quickly as possible. Believe it, we all get to that point and it’s all right. We are only human and we are not meant to live in a constant state of on all the time, yet we try. It’s all right to feel overwhelmed and like you can’t do it; you can, you just need a break.
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