Though you’ve probably figured that out already.
According to this article:
“Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”
The tell-tale symptoms, found here, include:
- things you usually enjoy feel like obligations; you’ve lost your passion
- you feel overwhelmed on a regular basis
- you are physically tired and sleep doesn’t seem to restore you
- you no longer have the ability to empathize with your children, co-workers or spouse
- you have difficulty working at the level you are used to
Yup. That about sums up my current state.
Well, actually, I have no trouble empathizing, but doing so tends to make me feel even more exhausted, which only fuels the fire, which makes me more tired and less able to sleep…
Raise your hand if you’ve been there.
The ways to deal with burnout are what really get to me, though. I mean, they make perfect sense, but how exactly is a person in the midst of such “excessive stress” supposed to do any of them?
Here, I’ll pick them apart for you a little, using the suggestions in the first article I referenced.
#1 Slow Down
Come on. Really?
First of all, DUH!
Secondly, will someone please explain to my 3-year-old boy that Mommy needs to take a break from cleaning up spills for a while? While you’re at it, please explain to my 10 month old nursling that he really doesn’t need to eat all night long. And let the 4, 6, 7, and 9 year olds know that sibling rivalry doesn’t require a mother’s undivided attention.
#2 Get Support
As in, spend time searching for someone who might take a minute to listen to me complain? But what if it’s those people who have gotten me so stressed out?
Plus, I seriously doubt that any mom of many whose youngest is under 10 has the time or resources to seek out a new confidant.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Okay, so maybe whining on Facebook and a blog can count as getting support. If you leave me comments, that is.
Comments make me happy =D
#3 Reevaluate Your Goals and Priorities
I like this one.
In fact, I think I may be the queen of reevaluating. If reflection were a sport, I’d be a star athlete! However, regardless of how much reevaluating I do, there are certain priorities that I simply cannot change.
For example, life would be easier for everyone in my house is I just never needed to take a shower (or go to the bathroom alone). But at some point, I am going to have to enter the realm of the public. And if I haven’t bathed or brushed my teeth for more than a few days, people will suffer. Small children may die.
For example, my main goal as a mother has changed a bit since I first become pregnant almost 10 years ago…
My parenting goal in 2002:
Raise a perfectly well-rounded, intelligent, healthy, socially adaptable, attractive, fun, happy child.
My parenting goal in 2012:
Make sure they all survive to adulthood, preferably without any criminal records on file.
I mean, how much lower can I set my standards here, before Children Services becomes involved in a not-so-helpful way?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against these articles or their authors. In fact, I find them very helpful at times like these (if only to add a little levity to a weighty subject). But it would be really nice if, to go along with all of these great thoughts on how to avoid/spot/handle burnout, someone would offer a babysitter or maid. Or legalize marijuana.
In the mean time, I guess I’ll just have to settle on trying to remind myself that, rather than being rendered completely useless, I am actually in the process of becoming a little bit more deliciously refined. Like this:
(Don’t worry, Mom. I was joking about the pot.)