10 Things to do When You Feel Burned Out
You don’t stop being a creative person just because you’ve become a mom. Motherhood can inspire tons of creativity, but can simultaneously be the biggest obstacle to our creative pursuits.
Honestly, it took me a while to realize how important it was to stay connected to my artistic spirit, while I stumbled around in parental survival mode. I was struggling just to perform simple daily tasks, as two fussy babies clung to me, refusing to sleep unless they were physically attached to me. After a year of running on fumes, I had a mini-meltdown. I was frustrated and making my family miserable. It was the light bulb moment I needed to change how I was taking care of myself artistically. Taking care of the artistic side of me would, in turn, help take care of the mom side of me!
I started with small choices that helped replenish my creative energy. I cleaned off my desk to make a space to paint. I picked up some new materials that I hadn’t used before and gave myself time to play. Instead of bing-ing on Netflix after the girls were in bed, I sat down and played with my art supplies. I spent money on illustration classes and learned how to make meatballs.
Are you ready to set some time aside to take care of your creative spirit? Here are 10 self-care activities that if you do regularly they will help you to keep your sanity.
Track your moods
Create a feelings journal, and keep track of your feelings on a daily basis. After having a baby, it takes a long time for your hormones to settle down, even longer if you are breastfeeding. “Baby Blues” are a real thing, but sometimes those blues turn into something worse. It can be tempting to ignore the emotional roller coaster or pretend you are doing okay. When I started tracking my moods, I didn’t have the brainpower to keep a written journal, so I used a bullet journal page and different colored markers to express my mood for the day.
Wash your face
Let’s be real, a shower is often a time luxury that busy mamas can’t afford, but nothing can make you feel more defeated than walking around feeling smelly and gross. On those super crazy days, I snuck into the bathroom and took 30 seconds to wash my face. Bonus points if you pick a soap that smells great, and you can pretend that you just took a quick trip to the spa! Heck, in a pinch, you can even wash your face while washing dishes. Multitasking for the win!
Action: Every morning, first chance you get, wash your face and brush your teeth. You will feel like a human again
Listen to music
Music is a powerful form of expression. It can change your mood, or give you the energy to get something done. It’s a creative mama’s best friend, and there is always the perfect song for any occasion or season of life. You can always find an artist who just seems to GET YOU.
Action: Pick out five of your favorite dance songs. You know, the ones that you can’t stay sitting down when you hear? Make a playlist and name it “MY HAPPY MUSIC” and play it whenever you need a dance party boost!
Savor something you love
Make yourself a cup of tea, the FANCY kind and drink it out of a nice mug. Hide in the closet and sneak a piece of dark chocolate. Buy some fresh strawberries, and put them in a bowl with some cream. Buy yourself some flowers from the grocery store and set them next to the sink.
Action: Eat breakfast (or your first meal of the day) off your prettiest plate, and drink your hot beverage out of your favorite mug. Bonus points if you can do it while sitting down at a table!
Finish one task that you started. It can feel like we are running from distraction to distraction, and by day’s end, it may seem like we’ve accomplished nothing. Pick the easiest task to complete, and FOCUS on getting that one thing done. This will give you a huge sense of accomplishment, and keep you motivated to keep going.
Action: Write down all the things you’ve accomplished today. Did you get out of bed? Feed the baby? How many diapers have you changed? Are you wearing clothes of some kind? ✔
Take baby steps to reclaim the chaos in your life. SMALL baby steps. Clean the front of the microwave. Purge the spice cabinet. Wipe down the mirror in your bathroom. Forget about the forest, and just tackle one tree. Taking small actions every day will not only bring you closer to peace in your home but also make you feel like you are in control of your situation.
Action: What is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning? Your night stand? Bookshelf? Dresser? Clear it off and wipe it down.
Talk to your friends
Your brain needs intelligent stimulation. There is only so much Paw Patrol or Kids Bop it can handle before it quits! Treat yourself to some ADULT conversation. Text a friend and ask her how her day is going. Commiserate with each other. Use social media wisely and reach out and email a friend, post a question or seek advice. You want to engage in real social interactions, not just endlessly scroll through your feed. Go really crazy, and actually call or Facetime someone! It’s amazing how mood-boosting it is to actually HEAR someone’s voice on the other end.
Action: What is the best thing that has happened to you this week. Post it online, and ask your friends what their BEST THING OF THE WEEK was. Tag it #momsbestthing and see what small victories others are celebrating.
Broaden your perspective. It’s easy to get stuck in the house when you are figuring out how to keep the little children alive. It can take a lot of planning and energy to get going, but even on the craziest of days, take a walk around the yard. It is important to remember that there is life outside of your bubble and that someday you too will be part of it again.
Action: What is your favorite window in the house? Find a way to pull up a chair or table next to it, so you can enjoy the view.
“The days are long...but the years are short.” How many times have you heard this? Sometimes it feels like another way to make us feel guilty. “YOU MUST ENJOY EVERY MOMENT WITH THE TINY CHILDREN.” I think it can also be an encouragement. The years are short. You will not always be drowning in diapers and sleepless nights. It WILL get easier and the kids will get more self-sufficient. Take the time to dream about your future will look like!
Action: If you had a genie to grant you a wish, and you could have ANY job in the world, what would it be? Make a list of your top 3. (Mine would be a researcher for the FBI, an archaeologist, or a bookshop owner.)
Put aside the “to-do” list. Sit down and pour yourself a glass of cold water. If you have the opportunity to sleep, DO IT. Find something that will recharge your batteries, and put it at the top of the list.
Action: Find a book you really want to finish, and sit down for 15 minutes and read it.