Ladies, yesterday was rough. Really rough. I struggled so bad. Total mom burnout.
A little backstory. It has been over 3 months since we started our quarantine / social isolation. I went into it very optimistic. I set up our routines, we focused on being positive and I invested in personal growth. I made the decision that we weren’t going to focus on the negative, and we were going to come out of this setback stronger.
I am so proud of how we handled it. Our family came together, and turned the lemons into lemonade. We truly flourished for quite some time.
And then things started to get harder. The kids started to get restless. I was struggling more. It was like we hit a quarantine wall. Social isolation burnout.
I started to do some research, and learned about the real struggles you can face during an extended period of social isolation. It can affect your behavior and your mood. I definitely noticed that I started to struggle with these things.
I have a two year old and five year old. And to say it has been chaotic in the house in an understatement. I started this quarantine trying to be calm and understanding. And now over 3 months later, I can see that my patience is running thin, and I have days where I feel like every ounce of energy is drained from me by the end of the day.
I was a stay at home mom in my pre-quarantine days, so I understand long days with your kids. But in “normal times” I also got little breaks every now and then. As parents practicing social distancing, most of us are now at home with our kids 24/7. I’m a big supporter of downtime and self care. And that is really hard in an environment like this. So it’s no surprise when we are struggling with this “new normal”.
So back to my day yesterday. I’ve definitely been feeling more stressed. All the hate and tension in the world right now is hurting my heart. I’m also sleep deprived. My kids aren’t the best sleepers, and I’m usually up with them at least 2x a night. I woke up that morning tired as ever, because I only got a few interrupted hours of sleep. And like clockwork, the kids wake up too early. There goes my hour of “me time” before the day starts. I was too tired to do my workout, and just cranky. Not the way I like to start my day.
I don’t know about you, but on days like this, the kids seem to know how to push my buttons more than ever. Lately, they seem to fight more than play. And it seems like they made a pact not to listen to anything I say. My two year old is living up to her age (terrible twos), and is acting out and being rebellious. I know kids learn by pushing limits, but it’s exhausting.
The day ended in a meltdown, and mommy in tears. Then I felt mom guilt for crying, and getting upset in front of them. I felt like whatever I did, I just couldn’t get it right.
We all made our amends, and did our normal bedtime routine. But I was so mentally and emotionally drained, and I cringed at the thought of having to do it all over again the next day. So I knew I had to hit the reset button, and take ACTION to make tomorrow different.
This situation is hard on all of us, and we all have our stories. And believe me, I know I am blessed. In the big picture, these are pretty trivial issues to have. But I also think it’s important to share our struggles. I share mine, because I want to let you know that you are not alone. I see you, and I know you may be struggling too.
I’m not an expert, and I don’t have all the answers. But I did want to share with you what I’m doing today to help me bounce back after a really rough day. Next time you have one, maybe they can help you too.
Here are 5 tips for mom burnout and bouncing back after a rough day.
1) Set your intention for the day
I lost my cool yesterday. I felt pulled, and pushed and like I had no control over my day.
So today I woke up and set my intention of being calm and peaceful. For me, that means I breathe and think before I respond, I pick and choose my battles and remind myself that my kids are struggling too, and that I need to be compassionate for what they are experiencing too. Does it mean I'm perfect during the day - no. But I show up much better than when I let my day control me.
Being mindful of how you want to show up, on focusing on that really helps. If you need a reminder throughout the day, set a reminder on your phone every few hours. It’s a technique I learned in one of my classes. It’s called “in this moment I’m feeling”, and when the alarm goes off, you just pause and answer that question. And if you aren’t in the state of mind you set for the day, you do your best to shift yourself there.
This takes some practice, but just by being aware of where you are, and where you want to be, it will help you get in touch with your emotional state.
If you need some help with intention setting, check out this blog post.
2) Wake up and workout
Whenever I’m in a mood, a workout really helps me. And when you do it first thing in the morning, it really sets the tone for your day. And it doesn’t have to be some kind of crazy hard workout. Anything that gets your body moving, and those feel good endorphins pumping, will help.
The ability to workout from home makes it a bit easier to squeeze in a sweat sesh. I try to wake up before my kids (try being the operative word). But as I mentioned above, that hasn’t been working out for me lately. So instead, I still do the workout in the morning, but I will let them watch their tablets to keep them occupied. Some people give tablets a bad rap, but hey, if it gives me some time to myself, and they are watching something somewhat educational, I’m totally fine with it.
There are a ton of free workouts on YouTube. One of my favorite channels is Yoga with Adriene.
If you want to have a variety of workouts at your fingertips, then Beachbody on Demand is great. The workouts that are only 30 minutes are my jam! And depending on what package you get, it only costs like $8-13 a month. And it even includes the nutrition plans. I’ve been doing the workouts for years, lost 35-40 pounds of baby weight 2x and highly recommend them!
3) Fuel Your Body With Healthy Foods
Start your day right! When you are in a bad mood, it can be easy to grab the unhealthy stuff. I can be an emotional eater, so I totally get it. But resist the urge to eat junk. It will make you feel good for a minute, but then you crash. Clean, healthy foods are going to fuel your body, and make you feel much better.
When I talk about clean eating, it's about focusing on lean proteins, fruits & veggies, unrefined carbs (meaning, not processed) and healthy fats. Opt for real, unpackaged food as much as you can, and if it does have a label, go for the smallest ingredient list with things you can recognize and pronounce. Sugar is also something to keep an eye on, so limit your processed sugars. I also recommend cutting back or eliminating caffeine. If you are already on edge, it’s not going to help you.
Whenever I eat this way, it makes me feel my best. Unhealthy food causes inflammation in your body, and if you are feeling off, you want to limit that as much as you can. And drink lots of water! It's recommended you drink half your body weight in ounces.
4) Take a break for yourself
Sometimes the best remedy for a bad day is getting a little quiet time to yourself. I know we are in a weird time, and not all of us are comfortable using a babysitter for our kids because of the social distancing measures. So if you have a significant other at home, or a nearby family member, have them watch the kids for a couple of hours. And don’t feel bad for asking. When you care for yourself, you are going to show up better in your life.
One idea is to take a walk outside. Whenever I’m in a funk, getting outside in nature helps. It’s a great way to clear your head. Or you can go through the local coffee drive through, grab yourself a decaf drink and sit in the car and read a book or listen to some music. Whatever is going to let yourself chill, and recharge your energy, do it!
5) Remind yourself that you're only human, and being a mom is hard. Really hard.
So many people on social media make their lives look picture perfect. Don’t fall for this. Perfection is an illusion. We all struggle and have hard days. Life and motherhood is all about ups and downs. If you have a rough day, give yourself some grace, and do what you need to bounce back. Stay strong, you got this mama!
I’m curious if you have experienced social isolation or mom burnout as a result of the quarantine, and how you are handling it? Share in the comments!