It’s hard enough to find balance in our lives before we have kids, but once we become mothers it can feel nearly impossible. Between kids, marriage, personal time, perhaps a career, and so many other things, there may be days where we feel like we are going crazy from all we have to do and pay attention to.
All of our responsibilities can leave us feeling weary and burned out– and sometimes even depressed. If you think you are suffering from depression, speak to your doctor and seek help from a mental health counselor. At Florecer Family Counseling we provide Christian counseling services that cover a wide range of issues, including depression.
So, what can we do to avoid burnout and create a healthy balance in our lives as mothers? Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, working, or somewhere in between, there are many ways you can begin to find a better rhythm in your life, which will ultimately benefit not only you but your family as well.
When we feel overloaded and out of balance in our lives, the first thing we need to do is take a look at everything we have on our plate. Make a list of all your responsibilities, and then ask yourself these questions:
What are the most important things on this list?
What responsibilities can be dropped or delayed for now?
What responsibilities cannot be dropped?
Once you have answered those questions, make a new list with all the responsibilities that must be attended to, leaving out the ones that can be dropped or can wait. Prioritize those in order of importance. You may come to find that a lot of things you were doing were actually just wasting time, and by dropping those things you have a lot more time for the things that are important to you.
By figuring out what the most important responsibilities are in your life, you will be able to realign your schedule in a way that feels much more fulfilling and less draining, because you are not spending time on things that don’t matter at the expense of things that do.
If you are a woman of faith, prioritizing your relationship with God is essential to better manage your day-to-day responsibilities and gain spiritual well-being. Practicing spirituality is a form of self-care and you will be more effective when you are daily connecting with God.
This may look like early morning devotional time before the kids are up, carving out a time of prayer in your day, or reading your Bible before bed. You can determine the length of time you can separate to connect with the Lord but it will make a difference in your day as you gain a sense of calmness and focus.
Practice Good Time-Management
One reason you may feel overloaded with all of your responsibilities in your life may not actually be because you have too much on your plate, but rather you are not attending to those things in a time-efficient manner.
For example, if you cook everything from scratch or make complicated meals and find yourself constantly in the kitchen while neglecting other tasks, you may need to find a way to streamline your cooking– such as simplifying the meals or buying some things premade. Or if you are constantly bogged down by mountains of laundry, find a way to split up the loads throughout the week instead of letting it pile up.
You may also want to consider chores that you can ask others to help you with at home or that you can delegate. Time management is a skill that must be learned like any other, but is essential to creating a balanced life. You can ask friends what tools they use to manage their time or what works for them.
Create a Routine
Humans have an inborn need for predictability and routines. Without it, life is chaotic, unpredictable and scary. Routines serve as a “home base”– a safe place we can return to and rely upon among all of the uncertainties of life.
When we create a routine for ourselves and our household, order follows. Not only do we know what to expect in our days, but our kids do too. Having a daily routine makes the day flow smoother and easier.
If you don’t already have one, create a daily schedule for you and your family. It doesn’t have to be the same schedule each day, but make at least a general plan so everyone knows what to expect. Leave room for free time and be flexible when the day doesn’t go exactly as planned. That’s okay! Having a set routine allows you to return back to it when deviations occur.
Too much predictability can be stifling, so don’t be afraid to be spontaneous at times too. Having a flexible routine is part of a balanced life.
Learn When to Say, "No"
A big problem that a lot of women run into is not being able to say no. Whether it is a work project, helping a friend, or volunteering for a ministry at church, when we are asked to do something we immediately want to say yes.
As women, we love to feel needed and useful, so saying no when asked for help can feel wrong. But it is critical to learn how to say no and have good boundaries if you want to have a balanced life.
Take a look at your calendar and see what you have filled it with– is it full of things that you want and/or need to do? Or is it full of things that you have said yes to out of a sense of obligation to others? If you are feeling overwhelmed in your life, it may be time to step back from those opportunities.
This doesn’t mean you should never say yes to opportunities, but it does require you to think more critically and wisely about what you are giving your time to. Our time is precious and we need to spend it on the things that matter most and our priorities.
Know That Seasons Change
Finally, it’s important to realize that some seasons are just going to be more chaotic and overwhelming than others– and that’s okay. It’s not always possible to find a perfect balance in our lives, but when you are in an unbalanced season you must remember that it will not last forever.
There are so many times in life when it takes all our energy to just survive through the day, especially during times of crisis such as illness or death of someone close to us. The postpartum period is another season that can be all about survival.
If you are in a difficult season right now, know that this too shall pass and you will find balance again. You are not stuck here forever– just take it one day at a time. Difficult seasons provide an opportunity to rely on the Lord for strength. Lean on Him and trust that He is going to help you through.
And please reach out to us at Florecer Family Counseling if you feel that your life is too difficult to cope with. You are not alone, and we can provide you with the tools you need to keep moving forward.
The Expanded DBT Skills Training Manual, Copyright © 2017 by Lane Pederson
Published by PESI Publishing & Media PESI, Inc 3839 White Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54703