Attaining work-life balance is a common goal for most working mums. The quest to meet the increasing demands of being a wife, a mother and a professional if not properly managed can lead to accumulated stress, fatigue, and exhaustion. Consequently, burnout can result.
Getting up on a Monday morning following an activity filled weekend can be tough. You practically drag yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze button too many times. The mere thought of your never-ending to-do list starts to give you anxiety, and you feel mentally stressed before your day has started. These could be the early signs that you are going beyond stress towards ‘burnout.’
Burnout was a term common to healthcare professionals, however, today, professionals and working mums especially are susceptible to the risk of burnout at different times in their lifetime. Research shows that with technology, there is a greater chance of experiencing burnout. Burnout can lead to depression, and once depression sets in, your creativity and drive begin to diminish. This, in turn, affects your effectiveness at work, at home and all round productivity.
However, the good news is that burnout is preventable. You can avoid it.
Tips to Help Working Mums Avoid Burnout
#1. Love what you do
A very easy way to prevent yourself from burnout is to do what you enjoy doing. The chances of getting burnout become slimmer when you enjoy what you are doing. Irrespective of whether your day was full of hectic or mentally draining tasks, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with the realization that you are making a difference in your field of work. Similarly, create time to engage in your desired activity or hobbies and do things that help you feel relaxed. These simple activities can help you unwind and revitalize.
#2. Get adequate rest
When you begin to stay up late at night consecutively for days, you’re asking for trouble. As a working mum, amidst all odds, try all you can to get adequate and sound sleep at night. To get the best quality of sleep, disconnect from all electronics at least one hour before bedtime. As an adult, it is recommended that you get up to seven or eight hours of sleep every night to allow your body to recuperate from the day’s stress. Some mums defy this rule just to meet up with their daily targets – most times; they end up crashing. You can’t always cheat nature. If you don’t want to burn out, get adequate rest each day.
#3. Get support
Getting a physical help or emotional support does not reduce your virtue as a woman. It is sensible for you as a working mum to get support from family members, friends or even get paid help. Before the chores become unbearable before you start to dread the Mondays’ ask for help. Perhaps hiring a cleaner one a week or even fortnight may save your sanity. The help you need may not necessarily be physical, connecting and leveraging off the positive and negative experiences of other mums who are going through the same situation you are faced with could be valuable. This would help boost your morale – knowing if someone else could do this successfully, then you can as well.
The more activities or work you are able to delegate, the better for you. You do not necessarily have to do everything by yourself. As you climb up the professional ladder, you’d have to master the art and act of delegating duties. Several things could demand your attention at any point in time; you need to prioritize and carefully channel your energy to the ones that are necessary and avoid others. Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to plan the next day. Make a list of everything you need to do, schedule the priority items straight into your calendar, decide what can be delegated and decide on what can be just ignored as it is not important. This planning will not only help you sleep better but will also help you gain more time for yourself and your family.
#5. Stay healthy
A common saying is, ‘you are what you eat.’ Juggling a career or business with home and other passions or projects will end in disaster if you’re not eating well. You need to maintain a healthy diet in order cope with the hustle and bustle of life. Food is the fuel of the body, without it, the body can’t function well. Consume a healthy diet; eat less sugary snacks, eat more fresh vegetables and fruits and drink plenty of water. Never be too busy to eat. Skipping or missing meals saps your body of energy and upsurges the effects of stressful circumstances. More importantly, always eat breakfast and protein. The strength needed for each day’s work comes from the food you eat.
#6. Keep fit
Exercise has been shown to improve people’s moods, increase energy levels and promote better performance. In fact, it enhances good sleep. Create a routine for yourself in this regard. Most mums get carried away by where and when they are needed, and what they are needed for, while caring so little about themselves. You need to learn to pay attention to yourself. Make out time to work out in a gym or engage in other relaxing activities. To make it more interesting and to incorporate a social activity; you could do it with friends and family.
Practicing stress relief techniques such as journaling could go a long way in preventing accumulation of daily tension. Start or end your day by writing what’s on your mind. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
#8. Manage your time
Effective time management is an essential skill for every working mums striving to avoid burn out and attain a healthy work-life balance. Be the master of your own day, take charge of your day. Don’t let circumstances hijack your time and space. Make your lists of tasks daily, and have a daily plan of how you’d meet your set goals. Let the plan guide you and take time out when you deem fit. Time is the currency of life. If you can effectively manage your time, it’s a positive step to preventing you from experiencing burnout
#9. Laugh more
Laughter has been known to be a healthy antidote for accumulated stress. Spend quality time with people who would make you laugh and feel relaxed. Working in isolation stresses you out more. Have a positive outlook towards life, do things that would build more positive than negative emotions within you and stay around enthusiastic people.
In conclusion, the role of a mum and wife mixed with full time work is one that comes with the risk of getting stressed. Whatever roles you have at home or out there at work, it is possible to lead a balanced life free of stress or burnout.
I hope the above tips help you avoid burnout and improve your efficiency as a working mum.
Own Your Goal!
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