Today one of our lovelies shares what she has learnt after she finally suffered burn out …
About 18 months ago I lost my shit in a big way. I had been trying to hold everything together for longer than I could remember. With both of my girls starting school, I thought life would start to get easier. I hadn’t thought about all of the extra pressures that would come with school aged kids.
Scheduling drop-offs and pick-ups, making new friends (them and me), excursions, readers, packing lunch boxes…. The list of extra responsibilities seemed endless. I was also in a pretty stressful role at work which was relentless. Add all of this together and put in a dash or martyrdom and I was left an emotional shell that couldn’t do anything. One of the worst memories from this time was when my 7 year old little girl said to me ‘Mummy, why do you always look like you’re going to cry?’. Inside I did feel like I was going to cry, but I underestimated how much it showed, or the affect it was having on my family.
It took a dose of glandular fever and a serious case of anxiety for me to realise I wasn’t doing anyone any favours by trying to be super/mum/boss/employee/woman. After 3 months, 100 hours of extra sleep, lots of time hanging with my kids, a butt load of help from my lovely peeps, countless sessions with an amazing healer and serious reflection on how I’d been living my life, I came to the conclusion that I needed to change the way I approached life.
Now 18 months on, I’m definitely far from perfect, but I’ve made some life changes that have made a big impact. I have changed jobs, let go of trying to appear like everything is perfect, and I accept help from people who offer.
None of this was easy. I had to really get to rock bottom to realise that making these changes would be hard and definitely wouldn’t happen over night, but they needed to happen.
Here are my big tips for those of you who feeling overwhelmed by life:
1. Ask for help – if work or family life is overwhelming, speak up. You won’t do anyone any favours by holding onto everything. Ask your partner to pick up some of the slack, or your family or close friends. I now have an awesome network of family and friends that help share the load. My sister and I pick up each others kids and cook extra food so the other one doesn’t have to. And a good friend and I take turns in taking our girls to netball, so we aren’t both standing in the cold each week.
2. Accept help – If you’re one of those people who always says no when people offer help (you know who you are), stop it! There are no medals for doing everything yourself. Plus, people feel good when they’re helping someone else. And here’s a big one, if you accept help, don’t freak out if it’s done differently to how you would do it. It might mean you eat sausages every time your husband cooks, or your mum puts clothes away in the wrong spot. You know what, no one is going to die!
3. Outsource – obviously getting other people to do your shit will make life easier. Just recently I started doing some extra work for a friend. I know this sounds like the opposite of what I should be doing, but I am absolutely loving it. It has given me a renewed passion for work. But with this extra load comes the need to lighten it somewhere else. With the extra cash from the job I got a cleaner. I also get a food box delivered once a week that contains recipe cards and all of the ingredients to cook meals for the week. You could try ordering your groceries online. The extra cost to outsource these things might not work for everyone, but if you’re going to add to the load, make sure you subtract it from somewhere else.
4. Exercise – I know every single list you ever see will tell you to exercise. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘no shit exercise is good for me, but how am I meant to fit it in when I have 50 million other things I’m meant to do?!?!’ I know, I know. I’m not telling you to run a marathon or become a cross fit queen, just get up and move. Make a really good song mix and go for a walk a couple of times a week. If you really don’t have time, work it into something else you have to do. Walk the kids to school, ride to the shops when you have to do a small shop. Getting outside, by yourself, will help you clear your head and refocus on the things you need to do to get through the day/week.
5. Let things go – obsessing on getting everything done and having a perfect life made me a crazy woman. Does it really matter if the kids go to school in clothes that aren’t ironed, that you’ve used dry shampoo for the better part of the week, or you don’t have all of your super in the one place (probs should actually sort that out). If you’re more relaxed about the small things, you will be more in control and happy with the big things.
Short story is, the key to keeping it together is to accept that life is perfect in its imperfections. Not all of these tips will work for you, they’re just the things I’ve found helped me. So help a sister out and share your tip for making life a little easier.
Have you ever totally ‘lost your shit’? How did you get it back together again?