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I have said many times that parenting is like an extreme sport; physically, mentally and emotionally challenging not to mention the sleep deprivation. Extreme athletes know that a healthy diet, good sleep habits and exercise will all help to prevent injury, burnout or even death while they engage in extreme sports. That is NOT what this post is about!
- If you want a definition of what Burnout is, you can find one HERE.
- If you want statistics to show how many parents experience burnout, you can find them HERE.
- If you want to take a quiz to find out if you are at risk for mommy burnout, you can find a cute one HERE.
I have the tendency to try to do everything. I have so many interests and I am passionate about them all! My main interests are related to my family, families and children in general and issues surround natural health. ironically, I often get so busy that I neglect my own well being. I have had a few seasons of partial to severe burnout over the years, most recently a year ago. My kids were enrolled is way too many activities and I had just started a new work venture that was far more involved than I had anticipated. Did I mention that I had just given birth? I remember having sore feet and realized that I had been running all day. My new baby was part of my wardrobe and when he nursed I had to intentionally brain dump so I could enjoy the moment with by newborn. At first I had a lot of energy so I decided that I could push through. A few months later, we sold our house, bought a new one and began the task of moving our 12 person family from a home we had lived in for 12 years. Are you starting to feel tired just reading this? I hit exhaustion followed by signs of burnout. I felt detached from daily life. I laid awake at night for hours feeling anxiety about the things I had to do and dreaded getting out of bed in the morning. I literally don’t have time for burnout so the wake up call was immediate when I started having chest pain. *If you are having chest pain, get your doctor to check you out. In my case it was just stress, but it made me realize that I was going to have to start taking better care of myself or I wasn’t going to be able to look after anyone.
Since I was already stressed out and exhausted, the usual suggestions of clean diet, exercise and healthy sleep patterns were too much work to implement. I could not even imagine making a healthy meal, I was lucky to stay focused enough to eat, so that became my nutrition goal; to eat. I literally patted myself on the back every time I ate anything! Sometimes we have to really take baby steps, and stop setting our standards so high! I hate exercise because it feels like such a waste of time. However, I like being active because it makes me feel energetic and young, so I chose dancing! I simply made some playlists of fun songs in several different moods that make me feel like dancing! Now I play music while I cook or even work in my office and it keeps me swaying, shakin it and rocking out to my favs. (right now I’m listening to a little *CCR) I challenge my kids to join me by saying “dance it out!” and getting really goofy until everyone is dancing! It has really caught on and now my kids often say :dance it out!” Sleep is a hard one, but I use all the basics like essential oils, Vitamin B and Rescue Remedy Sleep to help. Also, the more I reduce stress in other areas, the better I sleep. Practicing restfulness was also very important for reducing my stress levels. Taking time to relax is extremely hard for me. our new home has a mountain view, so I utilized a phrase to prompt myself to refocus. The phrase for me is “Stop and look up.” That means, look up from my work, it means look out at the view, it means look up at the Father of creation. I have never really been into meditation, but there is something to be said for intentional relaxation; letting go of the burdens we carry. I learned that I actually like to relax and just sit for a few minutes being grateful for all the blessings in my life.
I am still learning how to live intentionally with minimal stress and I don’t think that my strategy will be a perfect fit for you any more than the next blog you read. I do, however, think that you can develop your own perfect strategy by incorporating what works for you into the areas of Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Relaxation habits or Meditation. Below is a list of some of my favorite things that I associate with living a low stress and relaxed life. Some of the links are affiliate links *see disclosure statement at the top of the page* but all of them are things that I personally use and love.
- I love art but don’t often have much time. This journaling/coloring Bible is my favorite way to take a creative break.
- My iPod loaded with songs that make me feel relaxed, happy and energetic and my Bluetooth speaker so I can listen to music while I cook, work and take a shower!
- These are remote-controlled, automatic flameless candles that come on everyday at the same time and turn off after 2-8hrs. Candles make my heart happy.
- The easiest way to pamper myself is to grab a special beverage and the details matter. I like my coffee in one of my (many) favorite mugs, or if it is club soda and lime, I drink it our of my cobalt blue stemmed glass. Whether is a glass of wine, cup of *tea or coffee, I feel rejuvenated when I make it special.
- At night it can be hard to turn my brain off so I take Vitamin B tablets and use therapeutic grade essential oils from Doterra or Young Living like Lavender, Clary Sage and Jasmine to help me relax.
- If I wake up at night, I take another Vitamin B tablet and use Rescue Remedy Sleep spray and usually fall right back to sleep
- One really big thing for me is to remember to play with my family. I often feel so driven to get the things done that I think are for my family until I realize that I am missing the point entirely! Nothing fills me up like living in the moment with my husband and children.
- I don’t eat a lot of sugar, but I am a woman, so I do love chocolate now and then. I avoid the cheap stuff entirely! I keep a stash of really fancy chocolates in my desk and closet so that when I need a sweet kick I can savor some really delicious goodness and feel like I’m worth it! My favorites are Purdys Sweet Georgia Browns and Salted Caramel Chocolates.
- I know that I mentioned club soda and lime before but it really is worth saying again since all kinds of citrus make me happy! Wild Orange essential oil is my absolute favorite “happy” oil!
- Fresh air makes me feel happy. I often feel too busy to go outside, but when I pause to drink my coffee on the porch or go for a walk with my husband, I feel %100 better.
- Dressing up in the morning makes me feel ready for anything. When I add accessories I take myself more seriously. Even a nursing tank can be spruced up with a scarf and a cardigan. In the same way, dressing for comfort in the evening helps me wind down and shift into relax mode.
I hope I got your gears turning about what little habits you can make or tweak to implement some more calm in your life. I was going to find a lovely quote to put in here, but I think that it would be more meaningful if you each found your own inspirational quote to print and put somewhere to remind you throughout your day to be intentional about taking care of yourself. I would love to here back from you about your favorite self-care habits or the quote that inspires you!