How to Prevent Mid-Year Burnout

How to Prevent Mid-Year Burnout

Getting Over “the Middle” Like a Pair of High-Waisted Jeans.

Clowns to the left of me. Joker’s to the right. Here I am. Stuck in the middle. With you?

Are you here with me? Feeling stuck? Halfway to the end. Halfway from the beginning. Too far to go back. Still so far to go. An overwhelmed mama. 

We’re still about a month away from the middle of the year, but this year is starting to feel a little heavy for me. I’m not quite sure why. On paper, things are awesome. The weather has been amazing, I’ve discovered a new Cider Rose that has made my life, I’m taking a family vacation with my sister and her kids in July, I’ve even managed to plan a few date nights and some of them even include my husband. Things are good! Great, even. But, somehow, I’m in a funk.

Last December, I got really serious about preparing myself for how awesome this year was going to be. I set goals, made plans, created vision boards, and drafted lists. I got a planner and pens and stickers and washi tape. And then I got ANOTHER planner to help me keep the planner organized. I was ready. 

And now, here we are, a looong way from December, and I sort of feel like I’m trudging uphill through knee-deep mud, carrying a backpack of good intentions and guilt. I’m checking the lists and planners a little less frequently. I’m hitting snooze a little more often. I’m feeling the chokehold grip of the daily grind getting a little tighter around my neck. 

What the hell, June? I’ve been waiting for you for MONTHS. What gives? 

 How to Prevent Mid-Year Burnout.

The perfectionist in me is also really pissed. “If we had just listened to Perfect Renata and let her run this show, we wouldn’t be feeling this way.” she seethes. “I made a lot of plans six months ago, I’ll be damned if I give up on them now.”

Why is follow through so damn difficult? Where did my momentum go? What happened to those bright, shiny, incredibly inspiring goals? Why do they now feel like baggage? 

The thing is, my goals don’t have to be something I have to accomplish in a one-year time frame. I don’t have to wait until December to determine whether or not I’ve been successful. If I break them down into smaller, short-term goals they become more attainable. And I feel less of the burn out because I’m not constantly running a marathon. Occasionally, as one of my favorite inspirational mentors, Lisa Druxman likes to say, it’s a sprint.

Druxman (who is incredible btw and if you haven’t read her book, get it immediately) has taught me that breaking down goals into smaller sub-goals leads to a greater likelihood that I’ll stick to and actually attain the bigger ones. The same thing goes for forming new habits.

I’ve been trying for years to consistently wake up at the same time. Three or four days per week, I have no difficulty (ok, more like difficulty that I can more easily overcome) getting up at 4:15 to do a 5am work out. But to do it every day? Or at 5am on days I’m not working out? I just cannot drag my a$$ out of bed for the life of me. 

It takes 66 days to form a new habit. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? At least not on day 2. But what about day 20? Shoot, I might not make it to day 5! Per Druxman, if you can break the habit down into smaller increments, say a few days or one week at a time, it becomes far more likely that you will attain your desired result. And when you achieve that goal, you’re that much more motivated to continue. 

 How to Prevent Mid-Year Burnout.

Unlike me at 5am. See above.

Have you been looking back at the goals you set last January? Are you like me and feeling overwhelmed and like a giant loser because you’ve stalled in your progress? Don’t scrap the goals, embrace the middle. Here we are. 

Now what can we do about it?

What can we accomplish today? THIS week? THIS month? How about in the next 2-3 months? Do it. Then do it again. And again. 

This how I’m going to prevent mid-year burn out. This is how I’ll keep trying to motivate and focus on getting over that hill, through the middle. I don’t suck as a person. I’m not lazy or worthless.. I’m entirely capable of achieving the goals I set for myself in January. I’m human. And I just need to reset myself a little bit. To put one foot in front of the other. And keep taking steps.

I’m pulling out the vision board from last winter along with my list of goals and action plans. It’s time to shake of the cobwebs and dust a little bit. And start again. Yes, today. In the middle of the week. Because today is as good of a day as any to get through this middle. 

How simplifying, caring less, and outsourcing save my sanity as a mom

How simplifying, caring less, and outsourcing save my sanity as a mom

Self care begins at home and one of the fastest way that I’ve been able to make an impact on my quality of life as a busy mom of three is to simplify, care less, and outsource.

Self care is simplifying your life at home.

It seems to be my new “ mama mantra.” My routines, the clutter, weekly meals, our schedules. Simplify. Declutter your house, declutter your calendar, buy less stuff, donate more, say “no” to more activities, whatever it takes to simplify things for yourself.

Self care is caring less about things that don’t matter.

Some of my mom friends ask me if it was difficult to go from two to three kids. “Not really,” I answer. The main reason? I think that the more kids you have, the less you care about things you used to care about and, in hindsight, those things were never that important to begin with. (Having just said this out loud, I’ve most definitely jinxed myself, right?)

But think about it. Not dressed for school? Pajamas it is. Don’t want to wear a coat outside? Enjoy that brisk breeze, baby. Dinner is “gross?” Don’t eat it.

“Zero. Fox. Given.” It’s a mantra that’s been a sort of life preserver for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a complete free-for-all at my house, I am a type-A personality after all and could never relinquish that much control. But now, I choose to fight fewer battles and let the natural consequences of my kids’ actions play out. It’s a miracle how quickly they are begging for jackets or slurping down meals when I let them make their own decisions, as if they were in control. Bwaa ha haa. It’s me who wins!

Self care is outsourcing your mom life.

One of my favorite secret weapons to self care as a mom? Outsourcing. Or, simply asking for more help.

Daddy’s out of town this week? I’m calling grandma to help with bedtime or getting myself a babysitter for a night so I can take a breath. I might ask my neighbor with older kids to pick up something for me when I know she’s already heading to Target or Costco so I don’t have to drag 3 kiddos myself. Do you have a cleaning lady? Maybe she could throw in a load or laundry for you or put away the basket of clean clothes you’ve managed to fold but can’t seem to get put away.

This can be accomplished without spending money too, you just have to be creative. Can you talk to your friends about swapping some babysitting hours? Figure out a way to get the things you need done without you handling them yourself. Your children could be a huge source of labor for you too! Why are YOU putting the laundry away or unloading the dishwasher? Maybe your four-year-old could try it? Or how about your husband?

How do you think successful CEOs are running their businesses? They hire others to help them with tasks that unnecessarily tie up their time or stress them out. Or they manage it out. Why are we as moms working harder? We need to work smarter.

Self care for moms starts at home

Quit jumping on the bed and help me put away the laundry!

 

Life with three kiddos has become exponentially louder and stickier but it’s not that much harder because I’m throwing myself a life preserver more often these days. I’m stressing a little less about the little things and utilizing my time and limited energy better. I still have days when I feel like I’m drowning but, it feels a bit more manageable. Anyway, it’s nothing a case of wine can’t handle.

What can you do to simplify your life? As a parent? Or at work?

Throw yourself a life preserver, mama and see just how much better you feel.