What does burnout look like for us parents? How do we know that we’re burned out? How do we know what the signs are? What do we do to get out of burnout? Many of us get stuck in the rhythm of life. We get up each day, have a morning routine, do things with our kids, get them to school, take care of ourselves, and then we have things to do. The next thing, the day’s over, and now you’ve got to think about dinner; maybe there are extracurricular activities, and it’s like we’re just in robot format. We just know what to do and how to do it, and then that’s it. So what happens when we get to burnout? What does that look like? We start to see things in ourselves change as parents; maybe we start yelling more, maybe we’re more irritated. Have you noticed things are bothering you a little bit more than they used to? There’s a sense of lack of control, where you feel like you’ve got to control everything because you feel like everything’s out of your control. These are the signs of burnout.
When some people say we’re burning the candle at both ends of the stick, what are you doing to avoid burnout? What’s creating this? It’s the overwhelming stacking effect; we’re stacking everything that we need to do, and then when one thing goes wrong, we start to blame and shame. Then when another thing goes wrong and then another thing goes wrong, it just stacks up to the point where you feel like everything’s just going wrong and nothing that you do is right now. You want to just make it right and have control back. So we think yelling at our kids is going to get them in control, or maybe we’re fighting more with our spouse because we’re just trying to get control of something rather than not having control of anything.
I know this because I’ve been there. I’ve been burned out, trying to get everything right and done for my children, my business, my clients, and what we need to do in our lives. And I’m not doing anything right for myself, so instead of giving the best of me to everybody, I’m giving the rest of me because the best of me is not in existence. So what are some of the things that I have done to get out of burnout? Number one, I had to be aware. I had to be aware of my own personal behavior and how I was allowing it to project through me onto others. It was not great, but I had to own that; I had to get aware of that. Then once I did, I had to ask myself, “What is it that I really want? What do I want?”
I want love, I want peace, I want joy, I want harmony in my home, and I want to give my kids an opportunity to learn and grow without feeling mad or sad or not seen or heard. That’s really what I want; what was I doing before that work that is not working now? So for me, I would block time. I started to block time, so I knew that not only did I have to block time for what I had to do during the day, with my kids, with my work, and whatnot, but I also had to block time for myself. I realized that I wasn’t taking time for myself, for my health, or for me to breathe. Everything became a “have to” instead of a “get to”.
To get out of burnout, I would invite you to look at what specifically you are doing for yourself. When do you have “you time”? Start with the things that are overwhelming and start to prioritize them. What really needs to happen right now? What can be done later? Everything doesn’t have to be done at this moment. One of the most valuable resources we have is time. Time doesn’t discriminate; we don’t have less time if we have more money or less time if we don’t have money. It’s all the same; it’s all the same; we all get 24 hours in a day. What do you want to do with those 24 hours? Where do you want to spend your time? Make sure some of that time is for you, so you can breathe. You need to give the best of yourself to yourself first, so everyone else can get the best of you.
One of my dear friends, Chuck Hogan, always said, “Stop giving the rest of you to everybody else, or the best of you to everybody, and the rest of you to yourself.” You are the foundation. You are the energy that projects onto your family, your kids, and your business. Make sure you’re right with yourself, and this will get you out of burnout.
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