Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you weren’t sure you could continue on the path you’re on? It can be in your job, your parenting, or may even your marriage. There is hope friends! I’m excited to share a two-part series where we talk about burnout.
Also, I’m going to get very real with you today and talk about my personal experience with burnout. Also, let’s help you identify if you have it in one or more areas of your life. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to overcome it, and where to turn for hope again.
About five years ago I attended a conference with a class about avoiding blogger burnout. I have to admit, I was perplexed it was offered- people burn out? Truly, I love what I do, I feel like there’s always more ideas and opportunities to share exciting things than I have time for. I never thought I’d need a class like that.
But it’s time to get a little vulnerable here and open up about early this summer when something happened to me that’s never happened before. I got completely burnt out, not just in blogging, but in several areas of life. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted and I seriously started to question if I’m on the right path I should be on.
Burnout in Motherhood
Becoming a mom of two was an easier adjustment than I anticipated the first year. Sure it was challenging and there were moments of overwhelm. But for the most part, it went well and I was shocked how quickly we seemed to find a new normal. But then something happened, but my boys hit new phases at the same time. One entered asking roughly three billion questions non-stop, which seemed to keep me mentally exhausted, The other hit the mobile phase where they scavage through everything and seem to have a death wish everywhere they go. Wiggly babies that you’re chasing nonstop can be very physically exhausting!
With my mental overwhelm letting me know I desperately need some quiet time each day, and my physical overwhelm keeping a baby alive, I was falling asleep almost any time I sat down! Motherhood was kicking my trash, and it was so hard to get daily tasks and chores done.
If you’ve ever felt hopeless, overwhelmed for days on end, or lose the desire to move forward with small tasks or large goals in parenting, you may be experiencing motherhood burnout.
And it’s okay if you are! We all give our all to these little people, sometimes the well runs dry.
I spent a lot of the spring away at conferences that gave some reprieve for motherhood burnout. But those are also time-consuming and while I’m technically working, I’m also spending time away from my day-to-day work. When May hit, I had four weekends in a row we were out of town traveling or I was at a work conference. It was a month I fell so far behind in work, and I have a job that never stops and doesn’t really allow for time off.
To top it all off, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with a lot of creative plagiarism. For those who don’t know, a lot of spam websites like to copy and paste your content and images and try to take traffic (which is how I make money and a living). They love to take your images on Pinterest and put in a link to their spammy site. It’s becoming a bigger and bigger problem and it takes quite a bit of time and energy to fight.
But beyond that, I felt a lot of plagiarism in other ways too. It’s always a bit shocking to see your ideas appear on other sites. I’ve had images stolen. I certainly don’t own sharing date ideas, and always encourage others to share them too! But it’s hard when things that you uniquely created and that you work so hard on lifted by someone else. It also made me feel so deflated. Also, I had to wonder why I was working so hard to have someone on the other side of the globe take things.
Is it Burnout?
Between feeling like I couldn’t get ahead after time away, too many deadlines at once, a season without much childcare, and that defeated feeling of plagiarism, I really began to question if I was on the right path.
I had a month of finding so many plagiarized things. This happened just as I was feeling mom overwhelm that I stopped to question it all. My inspiration was waning, I wondered what the point to creating something even was. I even seriously stopped to consider some life changes. Should I be going back to a corporate office and working where others won’t steal your livelihood? Would it be better for my kids to have a more energetic nanny during daytime hours? And if the answer to those was no, should I see a doctor to talk about anxiety and overwhelm?
It finally dawned on me, I was facing true burnout.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed constantly, like you can’t stay ahead, or like creativity and inspiration are waning, you may be experiencing professional overwhelm.
Well, friends, I’ve written enough of a travelogue, but I promise I’m going somewhere with it. I’m pleased to say it only took a month or two to get out of my funk. But I also realized I had not taken a break, even after having a baby, overwhelm and burn out was inevitable at the pace I was running.
I’m pleased to say I’ve never felt this way in marriage! But I know many people have moments of feeling like they’re doing more than their share. They are overwhelmed with work and sacrifice. And they find themselves feeling mundane and without excitement in their relationship.
Any time you’re putting in more than you perceive you’re getting out, it may be burnout. And it’s likely time to get some help and make some changes to move on.
Pulling Yourself Out of Burnout
First of all, it could be depression and I”m always one to advocate seeing a doctor! But if you’re having these unmotivated feelings that are robbing joy in any area of your life, it may be burnout.
Have you ever experienced this? Has something felt so overwhelming you wondered how you can go on? Have you ever lacked the passion you usually have at work, motherhood, or in your relationships?
Since we’ve already talked a mile about identifying creative and social burnout, I’m going to wait for part two tomorrow. Which, I think is the best part! We’ll talk about overcoming burn out, and I’ll give you all my tips and tricks to pull yourself out of a burnout funk.
Photo: Chrissy Blake
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