Burnout is something we all want to avoid but tend to find ourselves in from time to time, especially as parents. You invest so much time in your littles and taking care of your family, and it’s important to make intentional time for you. “Put your mask on first before you help others.” Self-care not only makes you a better you, it makes you a better mom, wife, leader, etc. Here are five ways to avoid burnout:
1. Be intentional.
If you don’t plan or schedule time for yourself, it will never happen. Something always comes up. Always. So plan for “you time,” but also plan for something to come up. Expect it. And then have a plan for how you will handle that and make yourself a priority. This isn’t selfish, it’s self-care; you can’t pour from an empty cup.
2. Do a little extra now, so you can enjoy more later.
I am always looking for the next great mom hack and ways to cut corners. But sometimes, the best way to do something is the hard way. I’ve found that by putting in the hard work on the front end, I’m less worried about things falling apart when I have time to relax on the back end.
3. Teach your littles the importance of “me time” too.
Here’s a million-dollar idea: a spa for kids. Hear me out. It’s like a drop-in daycare but instead of just play, it’s centered around self-care and creating a calm space for kids to practice taking care of themselves. Bonus if they can hire people who are really good at painting tiny, constantly moving and impatient fingers and toes. Ok. Ok. So maybe it’s a stretch, but you get where I’m going with this. Even if it’s something fun or even if it is just dropping the kids off with Aunt Molly for the afternoon, it shows them that you make “you time” a priority and they should too.
4. Drink water.
Seriously. Taking care of yourself doesn’t always mean taking an afternoon off to go to the spa. Sometimes it’s the little things, like remembering to drink water. Go to the bathroom the first time you feel like you have to. (Anyone else try to maximize their time by waiting until your eyes are floating?) Take a five-minute break just to go outside and breathe in the fresh air. I walk three laps around my very tiny pool. Feels silly when I do it, but I always feel better afterward.
5. Be still.
I have to remind myself of this constantly. I sometimes go days without actually pausing for more than sleep. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (NIV). It’s amazing how difficult that can be sometimes. To just. Be. Still. (Even if you have to go sit in your closet just to get five minutes of this.) Clear your head and ask God to reveal to you what he has for you that day. Pray if you feel led, but at least be still and give God time to break into the chaos and remind you who is in control.
Caring for yourself now prevents “Mom Mode” from quickly turning into “Crisis Mode.” Breathe, sweet mama. The laundry will still be there tomorrow. Today, it’s OK to take care of you.
Tia Gerdsen is a wife, toddler mom, activist and friend. She works at Colorado Christian University, a MOPS partner, where you can save up to $16,000 on a degree 100% online. Learn more at ccu.edu/mops.