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Burnout - It happens to all of us

stressed out momBurnout happens to all of us-it may be a result of working too hard for too long without enough down time, not enjoying our work, or stressors having nothing to do with our professional lives.

Unfortunately, it can take a while before we recognize the symptoms we're experiencing-tiredness, dread of heading to the home office, lack of enthusiasm-for what they are. Once you've got that burned out feeling, what do you do?

When the pressure is on and you have deadlines that have to be met, you can't take a day or two off. What is do-able? Here are some suggestions to beat that burnout!
  1. Can you take a 5-10 minute break every hour? If that feels like too much, how about every two hours?
  2. Are you taking a lunch hour? If you can't manage that, what about taking a half-hour lunch? If we were in an office situation out-of-the-house, most of us would take even a short lunch break, but there's something about working at home that leads us to keep on working while we eat. Give yourself that little bit of slack and spend 15 minutes enjoying your meal!
  3. What about exercise? For many women, this is one of the first things to go, but it really should be the last. Don't think of it in terms of weight control (though we all know it's great for that!). Realize that exercise is a stress reliever and boosts your energy levels. If you're having a mid-afternoon slump, instead of reaching for caffeine or sugary snacks, try taking a quick walk, doing a few jumping jacks, or incorporating some other easy exercise into your day.
  4. When the tasks are piling up and you don't know where to begin, start small. Find a “15-minute task” -one you can easily complete in that amount of time, and do it. Keep going, working your way up to bigger, more time-consuming work, enjoying the sense of achievement you feel as things get done.
  5. If you just need a break from work but have a need to accomplish something, use suggestion #4 and apply it to your house. Have a cupboard that needs to be tidied? Clear out one or two shelves, and I promise you will feel much better! Take a photo of the shelves before and after, if only to remind yourself that you have made progress.
  6. Read one chapter in a juicy book, or one article in a magazine. Give your brain a break!
  7. Perhaps a change of scenery will help. Can you pack up your laptop and head to the library, a coffee shop, even outside, for a few hours? Sometimes a change of scene is all you need to feel refreshed.

Virginia Williams writes at home with two kids, two cats, and one very understanding husband. She is working on her first book, a memoir, and maintains a writing website at: . Her blog, , is for parents who have lost a baby to stillbirth. Contact Virginia at .