We all know that life can be hard at times, and we all know that mom life can be brutal. Mommas, have you ever felt like you’ve been stretched so thin, yet you just aren’t doing enough?
Between toddler tantrums, keeping the peace between sibling rivalry, finding healthy family meals and snacks, keeping the house clean and organized, finding the time to practice self care, getting back into shape, working on building and strengthening your marriage, maintaining a social life, drinking enough water, all while trying to keep your sanity, yeah it can be a lot. And sometimes it can be too much.
This is mom burnout, and it’s a real thing. When you feel that you’ve done everything you can and yet it still isn’t enough, or you feel like you could be doing more. And if you’re like me it can push you into a rut that can seem impossible to break out of.
With this list, I hope to help other mommas break out of a rut and recover from mom burnout. Keep reading to find out my go-to fixes for getting myself out of a rut, and hopefully at least one of them will work for you too!
Step one: Get outside. This can be as simple as a walk to the mailbox. It doesn’t matter just get outside. I know that when I have been cooped up in the house all day, I start to feel a little crazy, and sometimes even depressed.
I have found over and over again that stepping out into the sunlight and breathing in some fresh air, almost instantly makes me feel a little better. Now I’m not naive enough to think that simply walking outside will immediately break you out of a rut, but making an effort to go outside at least for 5-10 minutes a day for a week can.
This last month, I have been stuck in a terrible rut, and just a week ago, my husband brought it to my attention that I hadn’t left the house in three days. Three days! So I decided to make a conscious effort to leave the house once a day, every day for a week.
I began with a brief walk to the end of my cul-de-sac, and committed to staying out longer the next day. By the end of the week, I was getting outside every day and had stayed out for almost an hour! And let me tell you, this lifted my spirits immensely.
Now, I know that the weather doesn’t always permit being outside. Being from Colorado, I’ve had my fair share of snowstorms, and rainy days. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the house. Things like going to the mall, or a bookstore, anything to get you out of the house helps.
We’ve all heard this one many times, but I’ll say it again, exercising releases endorphins, which ultimately puts you in a better mood and headspace.
When I’m in a rut, exercising is the last thing I want to do. Like I would rather do anything else. But thanks to my wonderful husband who pushes me, I have made a conscious effort to exercise even when I don’t want to. So, I know firsthand just how much exercising can help with mood adjustment.
Even on my worst days, a simple jog, or even a 20 minute HIIT workout will enhance my mood and mental state. So, mommas, I know it may be the last thing you want to do, but get that heart rate up and you will feel better, I promise!
Plus, it gives you something to work towards, and to be proud of. It’s been proven that accomplishing something is extremely beneficial to your mental health and well-being.
Release that energy by creating something. I find solace in a creative release. Being artistic by nature, I find that I’m my happiest when I’m being creative. So, when I’m in a rut, I know that doing some kind of art or craft will lift my spirits.
Being in a rut, can make you feel like you’ve hit a wall. You’re drained, exhausted, and often feel overworked. So when this happens, you feel dull and boring. By exercising your artistic and mental abilities, you can bring color back into your life, literally and figuratively.
When I was in college, I had worked myself to death, cramming for finals, and had spent the last week of my life pulling all-nighters with my nose in a textbook. Once it was all over, I had found myself in a terrible rut. I didn’t want to do anything and all I could think about were the upcoming results of the tests I had just dedicated the last week of my life studying for.
So, my roommate and I decided to let off some steam by creating something. We went to a local craft store and came home with bags full of art supplies.
We spent the rest of the night making beautiful dream catchers, and let me tell you, when I hung the finished dream catcher up on my dorm room wall, I felt so much better than I did before, and it’s because I let my worries go, and I let my mind do all the talking in the form of art.
I get it, dream catchers may not be your thing. Hey, arts and crafts may not be your thing. But there are other forms of creativity that you can find joy in doing. Things like writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument, pottery, macrame, crocheting, knitting, the list goes on. Just find your groove, and create something!
Make A List Or Plan Of Action
My personality is Type A all the way, so for me, making lists or setting up a plan of action helps me to feel more in control. Typically, when you find yourself in a rut or experiencing mom burnout you feel like you’ve lost control over your life. So take back the reins and start making lists.
I mentioned earlier that I found myself in a terrible rut this month, and most of it was due to feeling overwhelmed and out of control. So, I went out and bought a notebook calendar/day planner. I spent the rest of my daughter’s nap time filling in my days and planning them out. Once I was done, I looked at each day and realized, I was stressing over nothing.
In my head, I had so much to do and so little time, but when I organized it day by day and saw it written out on paper, I really wasn’t as booked as I thought I was.
Having a plan or making a list, can help you realize that maybe, you’re stressing yourself out over nothing, or maybe you’re stretching yourself too thin and you need to cut back. Either way, I highly recommend planning out your day or week and organizing your schedule. You will feel more in control and ready to take on what life throws at you.
Take A Shower
Sounds so simple right? Well if you’re a mom, then you know taking a shower is never as relaxing as you want it to be. So, take a shower when your husband (or any other able adult) is home and have him watch the kids for an hour.
Head upstairs with a book, or a speaker and some music, and take a bath, or a shower, soak and relax. I always feel my best when I am clean and washed. Plus who doesn’t love a nice hot shower or bath?
To take it a step further, don’t forget to pamper yourself. Paint your toes, shave your legs, moisturize. Do all the little things that make you feel pretty and clean, and I promise you will feel better.
When you’re in a rut, sometimes all you need is some time to yourself to think, clear your head, and pamper yourself.
Notice I didn’t say clean. We do enough of that already. Organize. When I’m feeling mom burn out and I’m stuck in a rut, I feel so much worse when I go to open our junk drawer, and crap falls all over the kitchen floor.
It subconsciously nags at me all the time, yet I shove it away and focus on a million other things. When you’re in a rut, take a break from the day and just organize the junk drawer. Find whatever it is that you’ve been putting off, and organize it.
Use this time to get rid of any unnecessary or unneeded junk and take the weight off. You’ll feel better knowing that you’ve accomplished something, and the space itself will feel more breathable. When I find myself in a rut, I often look for things I can declutter around my house.
The last time I was in a rut, I went through my daughter’s clothes and sorted through everything that doesn’t fit her anymore. Now I don’t have to shove her dresser drawers shut or dread opening them to find an outfit every morning. It was a heavy burden in the back of my mind, that when I finally organized it, the weight came off.
It may sound simple, and with everything else going on in life, it may even seem irrelevant. But, by organizing a space that you’ve been putting off, you will relieve unnecessary stress that you’ve been carrying, from your subconscious mind, and I promise you will feel better.
Do Something Hard
Just like exercising, or organizing a space that you’ve been putting off, doing something hard will bring you the same satisfaction because you’re accomplishing something. When you feel the rut of mom burnout coming on, it’s often due to a feeling of “I’m not doing enough” or “I should be doing more.”
Break out of a rut by doing something hard, and make yourself proud. When you feel that sense of accomplishment, it chips away at those feelings of not doing enough. When you look back on your day and realize you accomplished something really hard, you will feel proud, instead of defeated.
When I say do something hard, it’s all relative. For me, it’s running a mile. For someone else, like my husband who runs 3 miles a day, running a mile to him may seem easy. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it challenges you. Something that may be challenging for you may seem easy to another person, it doesn’t matter. As long as you can push yourself and feel proud of your accomplishments, that is the goal.
Anyways, running has always been hard for me, so this last rut I found myself in, I committed to running a mile without walking, regardless of the time. And guess what? I surprised myself and ran it in a decent time.
The whole rest of the day, after running that mile, I felt so much better knowing that I had conquered a mental fear of mine (running) and not only did I conquer it, I did a decent job. Doing something hard doesn’t have to be physical. I used running in this example, but it can be anything. Just push yourself, and you may be surprised.
Have A Meaningful Conversation
Sometimes being a mom can feel lonely and it can feel even worse when it seems like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. When you’re feeling the burnout and you’re stuck in a rut, you don’t have to do it alone.
Sometimes all you need is a meaningful conversation with a friend or a loved one to help lift your spirits. This could be anything from discussing the meaning of life, to a lighthearted laughing session with your sister. I’ve found that just talking to someone helps.
As moms, sometimes the only conversations we have throughout the day, are with our toddlers, who respond in gibberish, and sometimes we really need to talk to someone who can respond in English. Nothing against our little babes, but you know what I mean.
Luckily, we live in an awesome time where we have cell phones and FaceTime and Skype, and a conversation is only a call away. Utilizing this technology can help pull you out of a rut by breaking the loneliness, we as moms sometimes feel.
You’ve Got This Momma!
Mom life is the best life but sometimes, we get burnt out. It’s normal and it’s okay, but sometimes you’ve really gotta fight to break out of a rut.
Coming from experience, I know how hard that can feel when the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and nothing you do feels like it’s enough. First, understand that you are always enough and what you’re doing counts. Once you’ve realized that, push back and break out of your rut by doing any of these things I mentioned in this list.
By sharing my tactics on how to break out of a rut, I hope to help mommas out there who may be struggling with mom burnout. Just remember to take it day by day and to start slow. Like I said, all of these things I mentioned have proven helpful to me and have successfully pulled me out of ruts, time and time again, but it’s all about pacing yourself and giving yourself time.
You’ve got this momma! You’re doing an amazing job. We all have rough days. We all experience mom burnout and we all fall into ruts, but just know they don’t last forever, and there are ways to break out of them.
I hope you found this list helpful, and I would love to hear from my mommas! What has helped you break out of a rut? How do you cope with mom burnout? Please share in the comments below!