6 Practical Ways to Recover From Mom Burnout
Struggling with mom burnout? Here are a few tips for dealing with feeling burnt out as a mom.
Ahhh… the level of stress that only a multitasking, sleep-deprived mom can understand. Feeling in a constant state of anxiousness and stress — always on the verge of breaking down or blowing up.
Ya know… the type of morning where nothing major is going wrong, but all the little things have made you a tense, coiled mess.
Your baby wakes up screaming 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, waking your toddler. They both wake up crabby and needy. You’re trying to diffuse tantrums, get breakfast for “starving” bellies, prepare a bottle, and give hugs or snuggles, all while trying to wake up yourself.
You had plans of preparing a hot breakfast for once, but the demanding state of your little ones calls for a bowl of dry cereal — again. Your toddler gets angry about the color bowl you give them, and the dog won’t stop following you around, begging for its own breakfast. Or maybe it needs to go out. You don’t even know — you simply feel the pressure of one more demand.
As you finally get everyone settled and wearily step in the shower to prepare for another long day, you realize how exhausted you already are. And this isn’t abnormal. This scenario is pretty much your everyday life.
I mean, I felt exhausted writing this. And if you can relate to it even a little, I know you feel exhausted too.
What is mom burnout? Signs and symptoms.
Mom burnout is a struggle that is becoming more common in recent years. Quite a few moms suffer from constant mom burnout — as many as 14%, to be exact. From the 2021 State of Motherhood Survey, up to 93% of moms feel burnt out at least some of the time, and 16% feel burnt out most of the time.
The question here is why? Why do moms deal with burnout?
There are so many reasons for mom burnout. Almost half of the moms from this survey admit to shouldering the majority of housework and childcare. And many of these moms work, as well. Additionally, moms aren’t getting enough sleep, whether that’s due to work, desperate attempts for alone time, family obligations, or being up with children all hours of the night.
That sounds like enough to cause mom burnout, right? But wait, it doesn’t end there. Most moms report having little to no time to themselves. So moms are exhausted from constantly giving to everyone and everything around them without ever properly refueling themselves.
No wonder mom burnout, anxiety, and depression are so common.
Mom burnout can present itself in many different scenarios, too — whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a single mom. All these mom roles take a toll on your mental health in individual ways.
While it may sound depressing to read all these stats, that’s not my intention at all. I want to draw attention to the gravity of what moms face on a regular basis, and remind all moms struggling with mom burnout that they’re not alone.
Do you feel on the verge of rage every time something small goes wrong?
Do you feel completely devoid of energy — mentally or physically — and like you have nothing else to give?
Do you feel completely worn out, the kind of tiredness that you feel deep in your bones?
These are all signs of mom burnout. It’s true that moms deal with a lot, emotionally, mentally, and physically. However, there are tips, tricks, and practical habits that can make life a little bit easier for the average burnt-out mom. Recovering from mom burnout and managing it takes intentional time and effort, but you can do it. And it’s worth it, both for you and your family.
So, with that said, here are a few practical tips for dealing with mom burnout.
The food we put in our bodies directly correlates with our mental health. As a mom, I know how easy it is to eat the scraps of food off your kid’s plate, or rummage around in the fridge for a few random leftovers and call it a meal.
But mama, please listen to me! You need a balanced diet to combat all the busyness and stress of motherhood. You’ll feel much more prepared to deal with meltdowns, messes, and tantrums. Taking that time for yourself will feel good too.
Sleep is imperative for our mental health. Think about all the times you’ve become extremely irrational, emotional, or angry about every little thing — I’m going to guess that a lack of sleep often had something to do with it.
Moms have so much to do, and it’s so tempting to try to be a night owl and a morning bird. But, do you want to know a secret? That really doesn’t work.
All the late nights binge-watching your show, middle of the night wakings with your baby, and early mornings for work catch up to you eventually.
Seriously, determine to go to bed at a good time tonight. It may be hard to do once you’re comfy on the couch, but I promise you’ll thank yourself later!.
Connect with yourself
Do you know what triggers your mom burnout? Are you able to recognize when it’s coming? If so, that’s a valuable skill and one that you can use to help deal with your mom burnout.
For instance, maybe it makes you want to snap right then and there when your baby pulls your hair. Or you know if you get less than X amount of sleep at night, you’ll be battling symptoms of mom burnout all day.
Being aware of your triggers can help as you try to overcome and recover from mom burnout. The first step is avoiding the things that trigger it. So, continuing with the examples above: keep something in your baby’s hand or keep your hair in a bun to avoid it being pulled. Create a consistent routine that puts you in bed at a decent time each night.
Then, once you’re aware of triggers, you can work on your response to them, since you won’t always be able to avoid them. This may mean learning coping skills or getting in touch with yourself — emotionally and physically.
Learn to meditate or do yoga, walk, jog, or something that relaxes you and puts a smile on your face.
Spend time in nature
There is so much research on the benefits of being outdoors. Nature has a positive impact on our physical and mental health, for so many reasons. The sun, the fresh air, the calming sound of nature… it’s a restoring balm to a worn-out mind and body.
Many studies show that the act of grounding yourself (standing barefoot, sitting, or lying in the grass or dirt and connecting yourself with the electric charge of the earth) offers a wealth of benefits for your whole being.
Even if you can get outside long enough to take a few deep breaths, I guarantee it’ll give you a fresh perspective.
Connect with others
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you feel you need it. Give yourself permission to hand some of the responsibility to your partner, family members, or friends when you need a break.
Call up a close friend, your sister, or your mom and chat for a while. Plan a park date with your mom friend. Socializing with others can be refreshing, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Studies show that isolation and loneliness have a negative influence on moms’ mental health. It’s important that we try to connect with others when we can.
Manage your time and expectations
High expectations are a significant reason for mom burnout. Between social media standards, other people’s opinions, and our own ideas, we have a lot that we’re trying to live up to. This creates stress because we are incapable of doing everything.
Try bringing your expectations down to a manageable level. Instead of making a list of all the things that have to get done today, try making a list of the things you got done as you do them. It will make you feel more accomplished, and you’ll be surprised at how much you actually got done by the end of the day.
And if, at the end of the day, you didn’t do more than keep your little humans alive — well, that’s a pretty big job all on its own.
Motherhood was never meant to be done all by yourself.
You need a supportive community around you. But beyond that, you need to be supportive of yourself. Treat yourself as you would a close friend. Give yourself grace and take a deep breath. You’ve got this, mama!
Want some more ideas for dealing with mom burnout, depression, or anxiety? Check out our 5 tips for moms’ mental health.