I can tell when burnout is simmering.
I get irritable, emotional, on edge... I start feeling more like the victim, and blaming others for not keeping my best intentions in mind.
And the whole time I'm thinking, this isn't real. It's all in my head. Don't make it worse.
But then the other side of me says, hell yes it's real. Wtf would they do that to you?!
And then it ends up being a struggle to get my thoughts back in their corners. Because I know that my thoughts can get the best of me sometimes, and it's up to me to know the difference and how to react (or not react).
So after a long, stressful day of work and taking care of my sick son at home, only to realize that I let my daughter down today by forgetting to dress her in swim clothes for Water Day (she ended up refusing to get wet at school because of it) and ordering her the wrong item at McDonalds (my first attempt at making things right), I had to bite my tongue, take deep breaths, and reassure myself that everything would be okay.
So, for anyone struggling to keep it together, here are 3 things that help me get thru my very stressful days:
Acknowledge your shortfalls. I knew I was having a bad day, and I knew I was having a hard time bouncing back. But I also knew that what I was feeling was temporary. I just needed to get through the next few hours before I could have some time to myself to get stuff done and reflect. When you're aware of your shortfalls, you can better control your actions and your emotions, and work towards solving the problem.
Organize and outsource. If you're like me, you tend to do everything yourself. You know the saying, if you want it done right, do it yourself. I took that a little too much to heart because delegating is hard for me. But today, I made a list of everything I HAD to do, and everything I could get some help on. Sure, they might not do it nearly as well as I could, but at least it could free up some time for myself to focus on something else. Like my son who was crying about his tummy ache, or my daughter who refused to eat her plain cheeseburger that mama forgot to order plain.
Know that people really are looking out for you. When I'm on the verge of burnout, I tend to think that everyone is against me. They don't understand and they're making rash decisions without really thinking it through. When in reality, I'm the one who's struggling. And I know I have a hard time delegating and accepting help, so I have to convince myself that yes, they really are trying to help the best way THEY know how.
And of course, the best way to combat burnout is to avoid it in the first place. Know the warning signs: feeling helpless, unmotivated, overwhelmed. When you start to feel like burnout is creeping, take a step back and delegate as much as you can. Get your sense of self and joy back into your life. Your future self will thank you for it.