Updated: Oct 14, 2021
(Or 3 steps to get rid of burnout if you're already there!)
Burnout is real.
Burnout is real and I probably didn’t need to tell you that.
You know it is.
You probably feel it. Right now.
Parent burnout happens when we put so much energy into our kids that we neglect ourselves.
If you’re thinking that this is where I tell you to practice “self-care,” then you don’t know me very well yet.
The words “self-care” still make me roll my eyes. Most “self-care” articles in relation to parent burnout are filled with suggestions to start meditating or doing yoga, taking a nap or getting your nails done, or even taking baths and showers.
All of these things are ADDING to your already OVERFLOWING plate.
Cool. I’m burned out...and you’re telling me that I should be doing more. Not only am I taking care of everyone else, but now I have to add myself to that list? Thank you article--I’m going to keep living my life now.
So, what should you do?
Step one: Do Less.
That’s my secret. Do LESS.
If you take nothing else out of reading this, please (PLEASE) do less.
Look at what your life (and your kid’s lives) are right now and cut out what doesn’t need to be there.
Cut out the things that don’t need to be there RIGHT NOW but that might be included later.
Only do the things that must be done.
This won’t be easy. You’ll have to look at each thing and really evaluate if it needs to be done.
Why does it need to be done?
Does it benefit you and your family?
Do you feel like you SHOULD do it?
(If you’re only doing something because you feel like you SHOULD, then reevaluate it. Does it actually need to be done? If the answer is still yes, then we should work on reevaluating your mindset around this particular task. That’s another article for another day.)
Now, what’s left?
Probably still too much.
So, what should you do?
Step Two: With the remaining things, decide what needs to be done WELL and what just needs to be done.
Not everything in life needs to be done perfectly (as much as we might WANT it to be done perfectly, it really doesn’t have to be). Holding ourselves to this standard is going to bring on even more burnout.
Get serious about this--what just needs to be done.
One more thing? (Seriously? I thought you WEREN’T adding to my to-do list!)
Last thing. And this one is probably the most important.
Step Three: Get Comfortable. Become aware.
This is going to feel weird at first. Super weird.
As in, you will probably do some of the things you decided you don’t need to do. You’ll probably try for good, great, perfect in some things you decided just need to be done.
This is a process. It’s a new way of thinking and of going through life.
Start noticing when you’re adding in those extra tasks.
Start noticing when you’re doing more instead of just getting it done.
Become aware of the decisions you’re making (probably subconsciously) about what to continue to include in your life even though you made the (at one time conscious) decision to exclude it.
When you start noticing, you can get curious. You can ask why. You can challenge yourself to drop it and walk away or finish it quick and dirty.
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