Hey, you, how much time do you have to yourself?
Not including work or working out. I am talking about true time alone doing something …or nothing at all.
My doctor asked me that question and I literally laughed out loud. We were a year into the pandemic and virtual school with my 3 kids and husband still working from home. He looked at me seriously and said, “no really, how much time do you have to yourself?”
And I said zero.
I knew I had no time to myself. And I knew I craved getting some time back. But I what I didn’t realize was the impact it has had on my overall well-being.
Adrenal fatigue and burnout are very common among moms and it’s skyrocketed since the pandemic. It doesn’t matter if you’re a working mom, a stay at home mom, a mom with 1 child or 7. Burnout happens, and if it’s not on your radar, you could end up with adrenal fatigue, unexplained weight gain and feeling crappy just like me.
The best way to avoid burnout?
Take breaks. You need breaks, my friend. I don’t care if you think you can handle it all on your own or that you’re too type A to let anyone help you (hi. have we met?), you need a break.
I know because it’s one of the hardest things for me to do. I don’t like to ask for help (or even accept it when it’s offered), but when I take regular breaks, I am more even-keeled, happier, less stressed, in a better mood, and a better mom, wife, and friend.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s hard to take breaks – I know. The logistics and effort that goes into allowing yourself a break sometimes doesn’t feel worth the effort. (ummm, this was my excuse for about ten years).
A break doesn’t have to mean a trip or vacation. In fact, those kinds of breaks are much less likely to happen regularly simply because of the logistics and cost. But we can lower our expectations and still achieve the same results.
It can be a 20 minute walk twice a week. It could mean a pedicure alone with a book, or a bubble bath when someone tells the kids not to bother you. Because I know, somehow my kids would rather bang on the door to ask me a question rather than ask their father who is more available at the moment.
A break can be your partner or husband taking the kids out for dinner so you can have the house to yourself for a couple of hours, one night each week. You could even just hop in the car and go for a drive. And listen to your music for a change.
Even if you are an extrovert, you still need time alone. Your adrenals need a break from the rushing, the constant yelling of your name, and the never ending need for your undivided attention.
It sounds counterintuitive, but taking breaks will make you more patient and better equipped to handle everything. And I mean everything.