We work harder than just about anybody, and some days, being a Work-at-Home Mom can be just TOO MUCH. Work at home moms are more prone to burnout than any other type of worker simply because the boundary lines between work and home aren’t just blurred – they’re non-existent! We work IN our homes, accomplishing everything from laundry to line item reports, dishes to deadlines, and crying children to complaining clients.
Be forewarned, mama: burnout is coming. It happens to the best of us. The best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your business is to be prepared. Familiarize yourself with and use these 3 key strategies to proactively battle burnout well.
Battle Strategy #1: Plan time for regular breaks.
We all know it’s important to take breaks, but we have a tough time actually doing it. If we don’t want to be forced to slow down because of burnout breakdowns, we need to proactively schedule in time to slow down as we go.
But don’t stop with just instituting a daily walk around the block for some fresh air. Battling burnout requires a plan to take regular breaks daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
Whether you decide to invest in a tomato-shaped timer to guide your pomodoros each day, or if you get up and stretch on the hour every hour, you’re working, it doesn’t matter. The point is to simply make sure you are taking breaks.
Learn to batch your tasks, so there are natural breaks in your workflow, and you’ll have an easy way to squeeze in those breathers. Bonus points if you can fill your break time with an activity you really love!
There’s a reason God commands His people to honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8). He knew we needed a built-in day to rest! Be sure you’re taking advantage of that one day off per week.
On whatever day of the week you have decided to take your Sabbath, do anything necessary to avoid working. Ask your husband to drag you away from the office, if need be. Tell your kids they get ALL your attention for the entire afternoon. (They’ll hold you to it!) Or get everyone out of the house and do something fun together.
Protect your Sabbath with everything in you!
See if you can take one WEEKDAY off per month. Focus on rest, enjoy time with your kiddos, or do something enjoyable.
Pencil in a monthly spa date with yourself (or with your hubby) to take a long soak in the tub, complete with bath salts, oils, and whatever other forms of pampering that sounds luxurious to you.
If you were working in a job outside the home, you would accumulate vacation days. Do the same for yourself now! Whenever you finish a project or earn some income, stash away a small percentage in a vacation fund. Then, whenever you’re ready to take that time off, you a) have funds to take a trip or do something fun, or b) cover your expenses while you’re relaxing at home and not actively bringing in income.
Make it your goal to take a minimum of 1-2 full weeks off each year. If you’re able to stash away more money, take more time off. Every family needs a vacation together – time to make memories, deepen relationships, and get away from the daily grind.
Determine your focus.
In each of these regularly scheduled breaks, be sure to determine a specific focus for your time off. Will you pray? Fast? Worship? Spend time with your family? Relax and pamper yourself? Get some much-needed sleep?
On the monthly or yearly breaks, will you take a few hours or days as a “business retreat” to evaluate, re-focus, dream, and plan?
Whatever it is, decide on the purpose for each break BEFORE you take it. Knowing how to spend your time will help you know what NOT to do, as well. (And will keep you away from burnout-inducing activities so you can truly regroup.)
Battle Strategy #2: Schedule time for something you LOVE every day.
I will admit, I’m not very good at this one. I love writing and creating, so my work IS something I love. You may be in the same boat, but we all need time away from it to refocus, rest, and regain perspective.
Whether it’s snuggling with your kiddos, spending time on a favorite hobby or craft project, reading a fun book (not a “grow your business” book), getting outside for a hike, or working in your garden – make sure something you LOVE to do is firmly entrenched in your daily schedule.
We moms tend to lose ourselves once kids come along. They get a little older, and all of a sudden, we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore. (Did I used to like quilting? Or was it crochet? Do I still like it?)
Taking this time to do something for the sole purpose of nourishing our own interests helps keep life in perspective. Yes, business is important and taking care of our families is our top priority, but making time to remember who you are is VITAL. The best way we can help our children – and our clients – understand who THEY are meant to be is by LIVING OUT who WE are meant to be in front of them. Every. Single. Day.
So, make a 10- to 15-minute (or longer!) date with yourself for every day of the week. Write it on your calendar. In permanent ink, if you have to. Just make sure it happens!
Battle Strategy #3: Take proactive charge of your health.
Beyond making time regularly to care for our mental health, we also need to make sure we are providing well for our physical bodies, so they are strong enough to carry us through the intense times and help us battle burnout well.
Here are a few basics to get you started:
Get enough sleep.
My favorite quote of all time is “if all else fails, try taking a nap.” (Thank you, Winnie the Pooh. J) And no, 6-7 hours is NOT enough. Most adults need 8-9 (or more) hours of sleep each night in order for our bodies – and minds – to function optimally.
Optimize your Vitamin D levels.
Modern medicine typically suggests our Vitamin D levels be between 20 and 40ng/mL. According to more recent research, our levels should be between 50 and 70 ng/mL for optimum health (or higher.)
To battle burnout, try to spend at least 10-20 minutes in the sun every day. If your levels are still low, look into taking a high quality, real food supplement like this one by Green Pastures.
Focus on gut health.
Our emotions and mental health cannot be separated from our physical health. In fact, they are ROOTED in our physical health. More specifically, they are rooted in our guts. When our guts are out of balance, our emotions and mental health can easily get out of balance, too.
Gut health is a HUGE focus for me and my family right now, so I’m happy to answer any questions about it! Also, check out these posts and products for more information:
- Baby Steps to a Healthier Family – If you’re not sure where to start in this whole gut health adventure, start with this post. Just three baby steps to get you going!
- Detoxing for Chemo – This post includes various strategies and protocols for detoxing our bodies from all the chemicals and toxins surrounding us every day. Great gut-healing practices for everyone!
- Gut Health Super Bundle – This awesome resource library of 25 eBooks, eCourses, videos, & plans has everything you need to get started on your gut healing journey, including a 14-Day Gut Reset program to kick start healing. (affiliate link)
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome – For more in-depth information about how the gut plays into our mental health, be sure to check out this book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride,creator of the GAPS diet. It gives phenomenal insight into how the body and mind are so intricately connected. (affiliate link)
Learn relaxation techniques.
Unless relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing exercises were part of our lives prior to becoming a mom, we don’t tend to make them a priority after kiddos arrive. Just a few minutes of intentional relaxation can make a WORLD of difference in your physical and mental health, especially when stress levels and feelings of burnout are high. If relaxation techniques are new to you, do a quick search and find some simple videos on YouTube.
Support with targeted essential oil regimens.
I know many women who swear by their Essential Oil company’s vitamin supplements for energy, mental clarity, and mood support. I use my personal Sanity Saver blend anytime I start feeling the stress rise. (Including every night before bed to help me rest well.)
If you’re interested in essential oil support, but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to contact me through my Facebook page
Quick disclaimer: always be sure to do your own research about any essential oil companies before buying or using. Not all essential oils are created equal, and not all companies will be the best fit for you!
One Final Tip
Taking charge of our schedule and health can be an intimidating undertaking. However, do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed with more “to-do’s” from this self-care list!
Just pick ONE new strategy to focus on at a time.
Once that tip becomes habit, add a new one. Taking small, baby steps, one at a time until mastery, is what allows us to create long-term, healthy habits that will prevent – or at the very least shorten – the next season of burnout.
And a Warning
As women, and particularly as moms, we tend to just push through burnout because we think if we take time off, we’re just giving up all together. Or worse, that our businesses will totally fall apart if we take any time off.
It’s not true!
We all hit these burnout points eventually, and if you’re there, please do not beat yourself up over it. Cut yourself some slack, take the time you need to rest, heal, and regroup, then dive back in. Your business will be right there waiting for you when you get back.
All His best for your health & success!
Laura Stufflebam Holth is a former Spanish teacher, Resident Director, Career Counselor, and Certified Personality Trainer, and has more recently turned her attention to being a Work-at-Home mom. She blogs at Scattered Woman Pursuing Purpose about everything from Personality theory and career advice to natural living and cancer recovery, and strives to always inspire women in their faith, family, and lifework.
Laura has been published in Oxygen for the Swimmer: A Breath of Encouragement and Echoes of Mercy: Resounding Evidence of God’s Grace, and is always on the lookout for her next great guest posting adventure!
She loves hearing from her readers, so feel free to connect with Laura on her blog, via social media, or join her Scattered Woman Email Crew.
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If you’d love to work from home but don’t know what to pursue, download our Uniquely You Workbook! It’s a free 20-page workbook that will take you through various brainstorming questions and techniques that wills how you what skills and passions you have that you can use to start a business from home.
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