It’s no secret that stress and burnout are affecting American adults more today than ever before. Odds are, you’re probably stressed out right now! And while the problem is very real for everyone; women, and mothers especially, are feeling the burn out on a whole other level.
Studies have shown that women are fizzling faster than their male counterparts, with women reporting higher levels of feeling overloaded both in the workplace and at home. When you look at the top three major players causing the most stress among American adults — money, career, and family responsibilities — it’s easy to see why women are feeling the heat to a greater extent.
As women, we’ve been encouraged to live our lives according to the ‘lean in’ mentality, embracing our roles as breadwinners and family matriarchs without sacrificing one for the other. But the pressure to ‘have it all’ — performing well in the workplace, being the perfect mom, and juggling various relationships, activities, and social niceties — can be overwhelming and frankly, impossible at times.
Like many women, I too have struggled with feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and less productive while hustling to live up to what I think is expected of me. Instead of feeling accomplished and thriving, this mentality has caused me to compromise my own health and happiness in the past. Fortunately, through the years I have learned to navigate the ins and outs of life as a mom and a business owner, and today, I know I need to make myself a priority and exercise my self-love muscle on a regular basis.
The pressure to ‘have it all’ — performing well in the workplace, being the perfect mom, and juggling various relationships, activities, and social niceties — can be overwhelming and frankly, impossible at times.
So, how do I do it?
Through my own trials and errors, I’ve harnessed a variety of tools and techniques that have helped myself and many of my coaching clients escape from high volumes of stress, burnout, and likeminded struggles.
1. Abandon Your Illusion Of The Perfect Life
The best way to begin your path to recovery and to prevent burnout is by letting go of any ideas you have about ‘the perfect life.’ Quit striving for perfection, as no such thing exists! You are perfectly imperfect — and you should love yourself for that. Real life isn’t glossed over by an Instagram filter, so stop comparing yourself to others, and start believing that you are enough. The grass is never greener on the other side; it is greener where you water it.
2. Learn To Say ‘No’
Stop feeling obligated to say ‘yes’ all the time. If something doesn’t feel good to you, or for you, just say no — it will feel good, trust me! If saying no just isn’t possible, then limit the time you agree to spend on whatever is being asked of you. By saying ‘no’ to things you don’t like, you can create more time for doing the things you love.
3. Go Outside
Spend time in Mother Nature every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Not only will getting your butt outside boost your Vitamin D levels, but you’ll also get more exercise and improve your mood.
4. Check In With Yourself
It may seem silly, but have you asked yourself ‘How are you?’ lately? While the nicety is usually reserved for others, it’s something we rarely take the time to think about. Ask yourself a series of questions, like, Am I ok today? How am I feeling? What do I need in this moment? Actually think about your responses. Meditation is a great tool for self-reflection, and while many people are intimidated by the practice it can really be as simple as giving yourself a few moments in the morning to see where your thoughts go. Still unsure about it, or think you’re too busy? Try Insight Timer — an amazing app that can help even the most inexperienced or time-crunched women find their zen.
5. Don’t Forget to Breathe
Focusing on breathing for just five minutes a day has the potential to quiet your stress reactions, and increase your body’s ability to rest, digest and rejuvenate. Inhale through your nose for three seconds, hold that breath for three, and then exhale through your mouth for three seconds.
6. Stay Positive
No one is going to love you better than you love yourself. Resolve to abolish negative self-talk, and if you do find yourself feeling negative, quickly change your perception by thinking of things you can show gratitude for. Write them down, and return to that list whenever you feel yourself regressing back into negative territory.
7. Prioritize Sleep
You’ll never feel refreshed, or even be able to fully experience your day if you’re constantly in need of a nap. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Your body needs the rest, and the time to rejuvenate.
The most important advice I can give you is to use your voice and ask for help.
8. Practice Self Care
It may seem counterproductive to halt your mission of world domination (or at least getting your kids to bed on time!) to take a salt bath, but I promise you it will feel so good if you do. Treat yourself to a glass of wine as you soak and soothe your muscles while winding down at night, or try infusing essential oils like rosemary and peppermint into your routine to combat fatigue during the day. Your body and your mind will thank you! And if you find yourself needing a more concrete escape, start planning and budgeting for your next vacation, where you’ll be able to break out of the everyday humdrum of life.
9. Move Your Body
Don’t force yourself to exercise on a daily basis if you detest it, but make an effort to move. Put on your favorite playlist, and shake that booty! I love scooping up my son and just having an impromptu dance party! The best part? He loves it too!
10. Embrace the ‘Lean Out’ Method
“Hello Regis Philbin, I’d like to phone a friend!” Remember that catchphrase from the early 2000s?! Take a lesson from the legendary Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game show and ask for help or support from a good friend if you find yourself struggling, confused, or lost. Having a friend or two that is just really good at listening and holding a space for you when you need it — especially when you need to release unwanted energy, either through words or tears — is an important lifeline to have.
11. Schedule A Girls Night Out (Or In!)
Sharpie in some time to your schedule to spend with your best, most fun, closest girlfriends and just let your hair down. It doesn’t matter whether you go out, or stay in, but just be present in the moment and enjoy a break from reality. Trust me, the stress will be there when you get home!
12. Take Time To Disconnect
We all probably spend too much time on our phones, typing on our laptops, or looking at screens in general, so make a conscious effort to limit your time with electronics. Set a time restriction, or implement a specific ‘hard stop’ and shut down each day. You may find yourself becoming more productive as a result!
13. Put Your Health First
You’ve been lectured to eat well and to stay hydrated for years, but are you actually making your health a priority? Promise yourself to eat well, refuse to skip meals, and get the proper and healthy nutrition for your body. After all, food is your fuel!
14. Find Time For What Makes You Happy
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Hiking? Volunteering? Calling your mom? Figure out what invigorates your brain, and carve out a time for it.
15. Use Your Voice
Last, but certainly the most important advice I can give you is to use your voice and ask for help. Make a list of all of the chores, activities and errands that need to be done, and have a family pow-wow each week to assign each able family member with their tasks. You can even create a ‘chores board’ with the names of your family members to make sure everyone knows they have an important responsibility. Maybe your partner can take the kids to school, your kids can help out with simple tasks around the house, and you can be in charge of the online grocery order (to save time schlepping back and forth to the store). The point is: Don’t feel like you have to do everything, because you don’t.
While it may seem like everyone you know is struggling with burnout, or that feeling overwhelmed and scattered is just part of everyday life, the truth is that you shouldn’t have to suffer through overpowering feelings of distress and anxiety all the time.
The best thing you can do for your littles ones is to set an example for them that your wellbeing is a priority, so they know to take their own wellbeing seriously, too. Break the cycle of burnout by taking just one or two of these actionable steps each day. When you stop suffering in solitude, your whole family can thrive.
To put these tips to prevent burnout into practice, Jasmine is hosting Burn Up The Burn Out, a week-long retreat where you’ll get the chance to disconnect from all things ,and reconnect with yourself. You’ll get the chance to eat well, learn and practice natural self-care remedies, exercise your body and your brain, spend time with mother nature, and meet other amazing, like-minded women whose stories are sure to inspire you. Heymama members get $200 off.