Do you think you are suffering from motherhood burnout? Do you know what are the signs of burnout and how to bounce back ? We are going to talk about that in this article.
To tell you honestly, I am writing this post because I have been assessing myself for the last weeks and I am noticing some signs of stress, not yet burnout. But you and I have to remember that increasing stress without interventions can lead to caregiver/motherhood burnout.
What is Caregiver (Motherhood) burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. It may be accompanied by a change in attitude, from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able, physically or financially.
As mothers, we are the primary caregiver of our family. Especially during this pandemic, we have increased stress when it comes to caring for our family.
If you will not address burnout immediately, it can lead you to a depressive and or anxiety disorders.
As mommies, we care too much and we want all things to be done in the right way, at the right time. And that maybe one of the reasons that mommies tend to reach a motherhood burnout mode. Other Factors could be role confusion, unrealistic expectations, lack of control, and unreasonable demands.
To tell you honestly, I am at a high risk of switching to burnout mode because of the many responsibilities that I have. I am a full-time working mom even during this pandemic, and the primary caregiver and a homeschooling teacher of my children.
I am at high risk and maybe you are too.
What are the signs that you have reached a motherhood burnout mode?
Working mommies like you and I have different priorities and responsibilities. At some point, because of juggling everyday activities and struggles, we are not noticing that we are already in switching to burnout mode.
Motherhood burnout sign #1: You easily shout at your children, or your husband
You may notice that you get easily irritated. And you yourself know that this is not a usual shouting. You have a shorter temper that is displaced to your children or husband. Because you have less control of what is happening in your environment you use your power over these little angels. You don’t want it, but it happens, and it could be a sign of burnout.
Motherhood burnout sign #2 There is a strong need to be touched or needing to be alone
There is a point that you feel lonely, but you are trying to overcome this loneliness by wanting to be touched and to be cared for by others. Some would feel the need to be alone. Yes, I felt that too. I just want to lock the door and do not want to hear anything or anyone.
You will feel that you want to cry. You feel really teary especially when talking about yourself. You are emotional that you cannot stop your tears from falling. And sometimes, you cannot understand or explain why.
Motherhood burnout sign #3 You feel so tired
You usually want to get all things done. You have high amount of energy to put all things at the right place. However, at this point, you will feel exhausted and or have low energy.
I felt like I just did the dishes but still more clothes to hang, but I already feel tired and cannot find energy to finish all task. And I know, that when I feel that, I am near approaching burnout mode.
Motherhood burnout sign #4: Waking up but you just don’t want to do anything
Yeah, I know that. You just feel like lying on the bed, just do nothing. You wish that you can just lay down the whole day. But that’s not healthy, and you must reassess yourself more.
Motherhood burnout sign #5: Losing interest in things you once loved
There was a point that I just wanted to stay home. I always decline friend’s invitation because I feel like I still have a lot of things to do at home. I stopped watching koreanovelas and I had less interest in shopping. What was wrong? You must ask yourself that because this is an important sign of burnout.
Motherhood burnout sign #6: You are experiencing physical symptoms
You may notice that you have more frequent headaches or migraines. Some would experience upper back, neck, or shoulder pain. This is because of muscle tension due to anxiety. You may feel anxious and worried about a lot of things leading to stress. Having symptoms is a significant warning sign of burnout that you need to address.
Personally, I have experienced feeling of suffocation especially when trying to sleep.
Motherhood burnout sign #7: You Feel guilty.
You will feel guilty that you are not doing good for your family. You feel guilty that you can give more but you just give less. You feel guilty to go out and you feel guilty to do something for yourself.
How to overcome and bounce back
Yes, you can really become an overwhelmed full-time working mom because of the load of responsibilities that you have.
Remember, you are making sure that these little angels are going to be alive at the end of the day. LOL!
But you, and I need to find a way on how to overcome and be ourselves again for our family.
1. Stop. Just stop.
This is the first thing that you need to do when you start to feel overwhelmed. Stop and have a few breaks from everything. Even in social media.
Tell you partner about how you feel and ask for few minutes or even hours that you think you need, to just get out of the situation.
Take a break from cleaning the house, order food, ask your partner to bathe the children. Chill and relax. I always say this, and I will say it again, “Listen to your body”
For 1 week, I stopped being in the social media, I also stopped a lot of work, the cooking. I needed to refocus on myself. And so here I am writing this article.
2. Express your self- Say what you really feel, what you really need
Do not hide your feeling and It really works. I will tell my husband that I am feeling sad, lonely or tired. I would say that to my friends to. I would get support and advise that will help me cope.
You know what to do, but if you reach to a point of burnout mode, you just want other people to support you and feel you.
Team up with your husband
Real talk and a lot of mommies would agree that our husband contributes greatly to our stress. LOL! Kidding aside, you would also agree with me that we need huge amount of help from our husband. We need to have a clear agreement on what he can contribute to child’s care, and to household chores.
I remember talking to a friend who requested me to add in my blog how do we divide task. Frankly, it will never be divided equally, LOL! But any amount of help makes a difference.
In the house, I know what my tasks are, I do the dishes, cooking and clothes. My husband bathes the children, clean the living room, get rid of the garbage and repair anything that needs repair. These are not all but these are just some of the defined work that we both agreed in the house.
Say your prayers
There are things that you cannot control and there are things that you cannot change. Submit them all to our Lord who can do everything and anything. This for sure cab lighten up your load.
3. Be who you are and embrace it-Accept yourself
No one is perfect, and you must give permission to yourself to be imperfect. You must embrace the sweet and the bitter part of being a mother, well in our case, a working mother.
Do not ever think that you are not enough for your children. You are so precious for your family and you must think the same for yourself.
By accepting yourself you will be setting acceptable expectations for yourself. By setting limits and goals that are achievable, you can avoid stress.
Stop comparing your self and your situation to others. Everyone has unique and different struggles.
Avoid over thinking
Toxic thinking leads to toxic life and ways. It’s not healthy and can also affect your children. You should avoid thinking negatively about yourself.
4. Call for a family hug
You must lean towards your support system, which is your kids and your husband. Let them hug you and let you feel how they love and care for you. Whenever I feel almost getting overwhelmed, I call for a family hug and get kisses. This 10-minute family hug can energize and boost your day reminding how important you are in the family.
5. Do something that you are passionate about
There are different ways that you can care for yourself. And you must prioritize your health too. Finding a hobby or an activity that you like can help you feel good about yourself. It could be a weekly work out, weekly movie nights with friends, a date in a hotel. Do something that makes you happy.
For me I started blogging because I find happiness writing what are my thoughts. Sharing my experiences and hoping that it could help other moms out there give me a positive feeling.
Yes, I get tired too. But with writing I feel I have something to give and that it gives me some time to be myself. This is something I like doing and an outlet to divert all my negative thoughts.
6. Act now-get professional support
If your symptoms are worsening, lasting for two weeks and other strategies are not helping, its time to get professional help.
It’s okay not to be okay. Don’t hesitate to have an appointment to psychologist for proper assessment because you might be having depression which has to be dealt with immediately.
Your doctor or therapist will give you proper treatment plan that will help you bounce back the soonest.
If you are living in Qatar, the government has a mental health hotline where you can call and conveniently seek mental health consults.
Remember “Its okay not to be okay”
Caregiver or motherhood burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. There are different symptoms that you must watch for inorder to do something to avoid being a more serious mental problem.
Motherhod burnout Symptoms could be:
- Motherhood burnout sign #1: You easily shout at your children, or to your husband
- Motherhood burnout sign #2 There is a strong need to be touched or need to be alone
- Motherhood burnout sign #3 You feel so tired.
- Motherhood burnout sign #4: Waking up but you just don’t want to do anything
- Motherhood burnout sign #5: Losing interest in things you once loved
- Motherhood burnout sign #6: You are experiencing physical symptoms
- Motherhood burnout sign #7: You Feel guilty.
Knowing these signs can help you prevent switching to burnout mode. And if you feel like you are having one or more of the signs already, I recommend that you do the following:
- Stop. Just stop.
- Express your self- Say what you really feel.
- Be who you are and embrace it-Accept yourself.
- Call for a family hug.
- Do something that you are passionate about.
- Act now-get professional support.