Feeling the burn
- Published on August 30, 2016
Founder/Coach ~ Lyons Leadership Coaching ~ Coaching for Hopelessly Busy Moms
"Stop touching me! Leave me alone!"
"YOU stop, you big dummy!"
"No, you stop. You started it!"
Like most moms, I lose my cool when an argument breaks out in my house. That can be a problem. But when you hear:
"Dad! Can you get MOM to stop?!"
…we have a bigger problem!
I admit it. I caused the trouble here. Look. It's been a long, hot summer. On this particular day I wanted to relax and read quietly on the couch.
My kids had other ideas. I didn't like any of them. My son wanted to hide in his room behind his tablet. Daughter #1 wanted to use the family room as an obstacle course. And daughter #3 wanted to watch Paw Patrol AGAIN on volume level 20.
I had it!
All I wanted was a little reprieve. Is that too much to ask?
In moments like this when I feel over-stimulated, outnumbered, under-supported and ignored, I turn into the toddler of the house. And what tools do toddlers resort to when feeling powerless? Screaming, name calling, pushing, pulling, sobbing, foot stomping and the list goes on.
That my friends, is Mommy Burnout.
It's that tipping point when we feel totally spent, exhausted and defeated.
Here are three ways to tell if you have it or are heading that way:
- Physically – Your body feels unwell, rolled up tight into a tense ball and/or limp and weak. You're either generally exhausted and find your shoulders rounded and hunched forward, breath shallow. Or your adrenals are on overdrive leaving you feeling over-stimulated with raised shoulders, tense eyes, a rigid back and breathing that's short and shallow.
- Emotionally – You feel resigned, resentful and/or hopeless.
- Mentally – You view your current situation as too much to handle, unbearable or a lost cause.
Interesting. As I finish drafting this list, I notice an overall sense of heaviness as all of my upper body begins to curl inward. You may be experiencing a similar response, too. Yucky, isn't it?
So, with that said, let's now shift our energy attention towards an expansive, alive and grounded presence.
Here are three super simple ways to climb out of burnout:
- Pause.Check in. Take three seconds to observe your physical body. Look for tension and rigidity. Notice your breath. Is it held? High in your chest? Shallow? Fast? And observe thoughts flashing through your head. Do this all in the spirit of CURIOSITY. No judgment, shaming or condemning exist in the curious mind. Plus, it's counter-productive and highly self punishing. This is not our aim here.
- Breathe deeply and slowly. I always say this because it's essential and worth repeating. Breathing deep into our belly and expanding our chest muscles send a signal to our nervous system that all is well. It quells anxiety. It allows our whole brain to re-connect, by snapping us out of fight-or-flight and engaging the higher brain's executive function. Expanded possibilities and creative solutions grow readily available.
- Drop into gravity, lift towards the sky. Release bodily tension. Feel the weight of your body supported by your hip bones and feet. Elongate your spine and pretend a string is lifting your back and neck towards the sky. This way your body is supported, grounded and stable and tall, long and lean – like a dignified, towering oak tree with deep roots.
I said three steps, but I'll add one more: Pause again and look, really look at your situation and the people inside of it. Look deeply into their eyes. Send love and receive love.
I dare to say that you are guaranteed to feel a difference after working through these steps. Repeat as often as you like. Even better, do this with your children. Imagine the great energy clearing and shift that occurs when you all engage in this together.
The possibilities are endless.
When you believe that, you are clearly out of Mommy Burnout. You're now into Mommy Breakthrough.