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I thought God’s plan for my life was to be productive. Seriously, you guys. I thought that my purpose was to do, do, do. Doing all the things makes me happy. Doing makes me feel valuable, doing means that in my mind, I see myself as worthy. Worthy of affection from God, my husband, and my children. Worthy of respect and worthy of existence.
Unfortunately, this doing catches up to a person. It leaves you empty when for some reason you can’t do all the things and it skews your view of yourself as a Wife, Mama, and child of God. This thing I like to call “Mama Burn-out” has been affecting my life for quite some time now. I saw the signs, but I chose to ignore them.
I knew I was getting burnt out when my daily quiet times started becoming scarce, when I lost my zest for life when I stopped making time for the things I loved, not to mention the constant fatigue and nausea. Simply put this life that I spent so much time dreaming about suddenly wasn’t my own.
Maybe you’re in the same boat. Or maybe you’re sitting on the dock and the boat is about to reach you. Either way, a constant state of burn-out is no way to live your life, it’s not what God has for you and it’s not going to bring anything positive to your world. If you’re finding that you’re a bit burnt-out, here are some steps to take:
Make Your Relationship with God a Priority
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest…” When you’re in need of refreshment, the throne of God is the first place to go. Nothing is going to satisfy your soul or fill that place in your heart like Jesus does. Begin placing your quiet times at the top of your priority list, start finding time for prayer and be intentional about the things you’re thinking about. Saturate your life with the presence of God and watch your situation change.
Start Focusing on Quality Time with Loved Ones
Even if you’re in the process of cutting back on your duties (more on this later!), you can still make the time you spend with your family and friends high-quality. Look into your loved one’s eyes, be fully present during meal and play times and really focus on connecting with them. Make the most of the time that you have to spend with them. There’s something special about connecting with other people that lifts our spirit.
Create a Plan of Action for Your Health
Getting your health back on track is going to make a huge difference not only physically, but emotionally as well. I notice that when I’m focusing on creating a healthy lifestyle for myself, I have more energy and I feel connected to my physical needs. I follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan because it’s easy to do and fits my needs perfectly. Everyone is going to have different needs, so the key is finding something you can stick with. When I create a plan of action for my health, I try to fit in 15 minutes of exercise each day. Sometimes this is a short video, other times it’s a walk. The point is to fit exercise in where you can. Exercise releases endorphins and can calm you, energize you and even make you live longer.
If you’re feeling burnt out, you most likely are doing too many things. When I sat down and wrote a list of all of my duties, I found that I was trying to fit 48 hours worth of work into a 24 hour day! Take a few minutes to think about your responsibilities. Is there anything you can eliminate from your life to make room for rest? Is there anything you’re doing that is completely draining? What do you dread doing? This step might involve writing some resignation letters, quitting volunteer jobs or saying “No” more often, but it is entirely worth it to get your life back.
Start Doing What You Love
When I started thinking about what was causing my burn-out, I was surprised to realize that I had stopped doing many of the things that I had loved. Gone were the days of watching an Audrey Hepburn movie. I couldn’t even remember the last fiction book I had read! Once you’ve cut back, start filling those margins with things that you love. Things that encourage you, things that make your heart race and get you out of bed in the morning. Whether it’s drawing, painting, scrapbooking, watching old movies, cooking or reading..these things will energize you.
Do you notice any of these signs of burnout in your own life? I can assure you, that this phase is not going to last forever. It does, however, require a little bit of soul-searching and hard work on your part.
Some resources that are inspiring me on my journey: