Anyone else get a little stir crazy after being home-bound for a week straight? When we are in the same house, with the same little people who like to push your buttons on a hourly, sometimes minutely basis, burnout can happen easily.
I’m pretty sure I’ve written about what burnout can look like so I won’t beat that horse. But I will share with you a few tips that might help you reclaim your sanity when you feel like you’ve completely lost your mind.
A couple of things to avoid
Before I get into the list of what I’m doing to save/reclaim my sanity, I have a few things I personally have chosen to avoid or stop doing when burnout is at it’s worst.
Books for escape. I realize that for those of you who unwind and destress by reading this might seem like a peculiar piece of advice. So let me explain. I read for education and entertainment. I don’t relax as well with a book as I would with a T.V show. But when I do read a fiction novel, I become lost in it. Which is the point. But then, I come back to reality and find myself even more depressed and stressed then when I first started reading. You see, problems in books, usually get resolved in a seemingly short amount of time. But while I was watching the heros of my book save the world, my house continued to sit in a state of chaos and disorder. It’s kind of like that feeling after you come back from a vacation and reality just smacks you in the face.
In short, it leaves me feeling more discontent with my world than it does relax me, so I’ve come to the conclusion that while reading helps some moms facing burnout, it’s not the best choice for me. The same goes for those binge-worthy T.V shows.
The “do it all” mentality. It was surprisingly easy for me to fall into this way of thinking. I don’t know what it was but I suddenly became overwhelmed by this feeling that I needed to get the house in order and keep it that way. Maybe you’ve seen the meme that says house cleaning with kids home is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreo’s. It doesn’t work well. I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water then something would shove my head back under for a bit. That’s just an exhausting way to live.
Now, I’m working really hard on letting go of trying to keep the house in perfect order and instead focus on keeping it functional e.i. keeping up with dishes and laundry. Then over the next week or so, work on finding a new routine that will assist me brain in feeling a sense of control in the midst of chaos.
Tips to save (or redeem) you sanity
Bible reading and prayer. This one is a no brainer. When you feel like your life is spinning out of control, turn to the One who is sovereign over all things.
Let yourself cry. It’s normal to feel a sense of loss when you have been home bound for a period of time. God made us to be relational beings. We read in Genesis that God made a helper and companion for Adam when he was alone in the world. So feeling lonely is normal, and it’s okay to cry about that. In fact, I encourage it. Especially if you pray while you literally cry out to God. You will feel better and will be able to face your circumstances with a better attitude and a lighter heart.
Marco Polo. If you have never used, or even heard of this app, prepare for your world to be rocked. Rather than being held up in a real time chat like Facetime or Google Duo, Marco Polo allows you to send video messages, sort of like Snapchat, except the videos can be longer than 15 seconds and last for more than 24 hours. It’s a way to see your friends when you aren’t able to leave your house.
Music. Turn on some upbeat music (or any music that cheers you). Sing to your favorite worship songs. Be soothed by a well written classical piece. Blast the classic rock and dance like no one is watching. This will also help lift your spirits and make your day a little brighter.
Clean, declutter, and organize. This is what I usually end up doing. I’ve learned that when I feel overwhelmed and burnt out, it’s because my home is a mess. In fact, science has linked depression and anxiety in part to clutter and mess. So for me, cleaning and organizing is cathartic. Once I’ve cleaned up a space, I can breathe a little bit easier.
Now I realize that cleaning constantly is what lead to my latest spell of burnout. So I picked one room, my bedroom, that I could clean to my standards. This way, not matter how chaotic the rest of the house gets, I have an escape where I can run to, take a few deep breaths and mentally recharge. So pick a space, a bedroom, your office, even you closet. Clean it and get it just the way you like it, the guard that space with ferocity.
Work on a hobby. One time I asked my mom why she did a scrapbook for all eight of us. Her answer, “It’s something I could do that would stay done.” So this goes along with my last point which is to do something, for you, that will stay done. I dabble in several different hobbies, mostly craft related like scrap-booking, crochet, and making may own wall decor. These are things I can do that my children can’t undo in five minutes. And they are a release for all the creative energy that is building up inside me.
Cling to the One who Never Wearies
Burnout is real. And it can be consuming. It can bleed out into our relationships and cause us to mistreat the ones we love most. So when it strikes, cry out to God. He wants us to seek Him in all things, especially when we feel overwhelmed. We can see this all throughout the Psalms. As David fled from his enemies, he repeatedly called out to God for rescue, strength and rest. Ultimately, we need to look to the Good Father, who cares for us tirelessly, and who never wearies of our crying out time Him.