Uupumuksen pyörteissä – mikä avuksi?

Uupumus tuntuu olevan tämän päivän vitsaus ja kertoo siitä, että jokin ajattelussamme, tekemisessämme tai yhteiskunnassamme on pielessä. Ei ole yksinkertaisesti normaalia olla uupunut – normaalia olisi olla täynnä iloa pursuavaa energiaa, eikä lamauttavaa väsymystä ja ilottomuutta!

Itse uuvuin tehdessäni yksinkertaisesti liikaa. Stressasin ja yritin olla liian tehokas. Unohdin unen, levon ja joutenolon tärkeyden. Unohdin leikittelevän ilon ja syrjäytin sen rationaalisella tehokkuudella. Hyvät uutiset ovat, että uupumus pakottaa näkemään ongelmakohdat. Huonot (ja samalla hyvät uutiset) ovat ne, että entiseen ei ole enää paluuta. Koskaan. Ex-uupunut on kuin ex-alkoholisti. Lipsahduksille maksetaan kovaa korkoa.

Onneksi omalla kohdalla pahimmat uupumuksen paikat ovat takanapäin, mutta huomaan edelleen, jos tingin omasta hyvinvoinnistani. Oman kokemukseni mukaan seuraavista viidestä kohdasta ei tule tinkiä:

– Säännöllinen ja riittävä unirytmi
– (Elämän) minimalismi, less is more niin monessa asiassa!
– Säännöllinen liike ja hengitys (jooga huoltaa kehoa ja mieltä samaan aikaan)
– Ravitseva ja energitasoja nostava, kehoa huoltava ruoka
– Iloa tuottavat asiat

Jos aihe kiinnostaa syvemmin, lukaise alta kirjoittamani 101 kohdan lista huomioistani, joista voi olla apua uupumuksesta eroon pääsemisestä. Kirjoitin listan toipuessani pahimmasta uupumuksesta, sillä halusin reflektoida syitä, jotka voivat ajaa (erityisesti äidin) uupumuksen partaalla. Toki ajatukset soveltuvat luettaviksi myös muille kuin uupuneille äideille; esimerkiksi uupuneen läheisille, uupumuksesta toipuvalle tai siihen lipsumassa olevalle, suorittajalle ja stressaajalle. Ne voivat tuntua hyvinkin vierailta ihmiselle, joka ei ole nähnyt läheltä, miltä uupumus näyttää. Jotkut ajatukset tuntuvat jo minustakin aika vierailta ja hyvä niin! Minua uupumus on koskettanut monella tavalla; oman kokemukseni lisäksi tunnen lähipiiristäni kaksi uupumukseen hyvinkin vakavasti sairastunutta ja valitettavasti olen kuullut monista muista uupuneista. Naapurustossa asuva mukava perheenisä riisti itseltään hengen burnoutin vuoksi. Se jos mikä pysäyttää ajattelemaan aihetta laajemmin. Siksi uupumus (ja siihen usein sekoittuva masennus) on hyvä osata tunnistaa – vaikka toki ne eivät välttämättä näy ulospäin.

Mitä ajatuksia tekstini tai uupumus aiheena herättää sinussa?

Lopetukseksi sopii vanha zen viisaus:

”You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour”

101 Thoughts about Burnout

Knowledge about burnout can be a powerful tool. It can help you spot signs to watch out for before things get more complicated. It can also help you to understand the big picture and so make it easier to see how you can get things back on track. Of course, burnout can mean different things to different people. By sharing my own story through reflection and observations on things which caused and worsened burnout and helped me to recover, I hope to encourage and give some tools to lift someone from the spirals of burnout. 

  1. Conscientiousness doesn’t always pay off 

Hey, congratulations – you must be conscientious if you’re burned out! Okay, that might be cold comfort for you: it sure was for me. I’ve always wanted to do things well and properly without cutting corners or cheating. However, burnout taught me that sometimes it’s fully acceptable to cut corners to support your wellbeing. 

2. Diligence might bring you close to burnout

Another thing common to many people who burn out is diligence. We hustle and bustle from morning to night until we are exhausted. Do you work full steam ahead without remembering to slow down? In case you haven’t already noticed: it doesn’t pay off. 

3. Perfection is an exhausting utopia 

Besides being over-conscientious and diligent, a burnout sufferer might also be a perfectionist. Forget perfectionism and strive for mediocracy instead. Don’t overperform or sweat the stuff that don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if the icing on the birthday cake is a bit clumsy: the taste is the main thing!

4. Grateful, happy and burned out at the same time

My burnout seemed very paradoxical, as at the same time I was happy and grateful for my life and family. It might even have got some impetus from my enthusiasm, as I was eagerly renovating our home until late at night – even though I should have rested.

5. Kids exhaust you and that’s normal

There isn’t one family in my circle of friends that wouldn’t sometimes sigh at the strain of life with small kids. That’s perfectly normal – kids are adorable, wonderful objects of great pride and love, but that doesn’t take away the fact that being a mother is an intensive job. Kids are dependent on you all the time and you have no choice but to be available, regardless of the time of day.

6. Burnout develops slowly and strikes suddenly

A word of warning: burnout hits you out of the blue. Of course, it takes time to develop and, in my case, there were certainly signs in the air that I didn’t want to notice until I collapsed. Sadly, this story seems quite common. Unfortunately, burnout doesn’t go away as quickly as it comes: it hangs on like a stubborn mud stain on a white shirt.

7. Admission is a step towards healing

You need to recognize burnout to fight it. You need to identify your opponent before finding ways to defeat it. 

8. Fatigue and sleep deprivation

One of the signs of burnout is relentless fatigue. The lack of sleep sometimes felt overwhelming and, in those moments, I reminded myself that preventing sleep deprivation is a form of torture! After a good night’s sleep, I always felt better – although burnout doesn’t disappear after a few well-slept nights.

9. Fatigue removes filters and causes conflicts

Burnout can affect social relationships and create difficulties. I could no longer wrap my thoughts into beautiful gift wrapping: they came out as they came to mind. In a way, it felt very liberating, but it laid the groundwork for conflict and resentment. I was often sorry afterwards for my straightforwardness, even if I was just being honest.

10. Don’t think about important things when you’re tired

Tired people easily tend to think negatively and that the first thing that comes to mind is the worst possible outcome of the worst-case scenario. It’s better to save important discussions and decisions for when you’re not in the doldrums of tiredness.

11. Mood swings between irritation and crying

I realized I was irritated and angry all the time and it felt like my PMS symptoms were lasting a full month instead of a few days. I could burst into tears and find myself anxious and nervous in situations where there was no objective reason to lose my calm. Little things took on big proportions and my emotions went to extremes in nanoseconds. 

12. A shower might save you in the most tired moments

Some mornings I managed to wake myself up only with a shower. It refreshes you and gives you a moment alone with your thoughts. That isn’t always self-evident for a mother! 

13. Apathy takes away your ability to act

On my worst days, I wasn’t even irritated, angry or sad anymore, but instead felt an apathy which was even worse. I was always someone who could not sit still for a moment, but when I burned out, I sometimes just sat and stared far into the emptiness. I felt just like sitting there doing nothing for the rest of my life. Apathy makes you feel that nothing matters. Emotions seem to disappear and, with them, all the motivation and initiative for anything.

14. Force yourself out of the house or tell someone else to do it

During the worst periods of burnout, I found it difficult to leave the house. So my advice is to FORCE yourself to go out – or tell someone else to force you! Something as normal as going grocery shopping or taking a short walk might cheer you up a little. Figure out anything that gets you out of the house!

15. Your brain is in a dense fog and you feel you’re getting stupid

At times burnout made me feel completely stupid. My brain seemed stuck and incapable of functioning. A stressed mind seems to push all intellectual activity out of the brain! A definite sign to be worried and do something about it. 

16. Absent-mindedness as a warning sign

Absent-mindedness and forgetfulness are clear warning signals of burnout. I often noticed that my coffee was cold, as I’d made it hours before. I wished people a good weekend in the middle of the week and often forgot what I’d just been doing. I would open the fridge door and forget why I’d opened it or go upstairs and forget why I’d gone up there.

17. Notes can alleviate stress 

Notes were an important daily aid for me. I wrote down everything, from paying the bills to remembering calling my mom: otherwise I’d forget to. Notes also helped to relieve some of the stress, because I no longer had to worry about forgetting something. 

18. Reminders help

Unfortunately, paper notes would not remind me to remember they existed. As a solution, I started to schedule important things on my phone’s calendar to get notifications about them. I even started to set up reminders to go to sleep in time as I often forgot the passage of time after kids went to sleep!

19. Don’t postpone undesirable tasks 

Don’t let your mind be filled with things to do, even if they are written down. Doing the most undesirable tasks right away will relieve unnecessary stress as once they are done, they will no longer bother you!

20. You’re constantly busy but making no progress

I kept trying to keep as many balls in the air as possible. Simultaneously cleaning, playing with the kids, looking after social relationships and studying. It sounds crazy, I know! The only thing all this hassle led to was unease and never finishing anything properly.

21. A lack of breaks is exhausting

I think one reason moms burn out is the lack of breaks. Taking time for yourself is extremely important for your wellbeing. Taking regular breaks, even short ones, is important. Employees have statutory breaktimes for a good reason!

22. Kids can sometimes get bored

I quite often pressured myself to dream up interesting things to entertain the kids. Then I realized that boredom is sometimes a good thing, as that’s when kids come up with some interesting games that are often the most fun!

23. Your body – with your mind – is often stuck

When I was burned out, my whole body felt tense, and part of the reason was a lack of exercise. Appropriate exercises or massage ease excess muscle tension. Massage is a great way to cheat the body into relaxing! Relaxing your body can help to relax your mind too. 

24. Forgetting to eat and drink is a big mistake

When you’re raising your kids, you can forget to eat and drink. I was often so busy serving, helping and feeding my kids that I simply couldn’t eat at the same time. I sometimes even forgot to drink water and my husband started to remind me of this: sometimes he even made sure I drank a glass of water under his supervision. Otherwise, it might have been left on the table.

25. Food affects your mood and energy levels

Food was clearly connected with my mood and energy levels, but I still found difficult to make the changes I needed to. I realized the importance of small things when talking to my mother. She told me she couldn’t sleep if she ate too much garlic in the evenings, as it gave her too much energy. After that, I decided that I would pay more attention to eating and start with some small changes.

26. Remember to eat by discovering ways to make it easy for you

Sometimes I felt too busy to eat. As a solution, I decided to try pre-chopped fruits and berries which I bagged in the freezer and mixed with liquid to make smoothies. It was an effective way to make sure I had a quick and nutritious snack in busy moments as well!

27. Food can also cheer you up – try something new

I lose appetite quite easily if I am feeling low and food simply doesn’t taste of anything – or at least my own boring and familiar meals don’t. But remember that food can also give you pleasure and even lift your mood. If eating doesn’t inspire you, try something new!

28. Burnout comes in waves, like the ocean

Burnout might feel like surfing – sometimes you’re riding a wave and feeling that everything is fine – until the wave crashed down again. A good phase doesn’t mean burnout won’t tighten its grip again later on.

29. You can’t foresee collapse

It became obvious that no single day was a sign of a collapse the next. Sometimes I was chugging along, feeling okay – until I ran out of fuel and my mood changed in an instant. I was like an airplane that suddenly stopped mid-air and plunged.

30. A burned out person is like a former alcoholic

Burnout lurks around the corner and waits for a chance to rise again. All it takes is one mistake and it might get a chance to regain control. It takes time to get over burnout completely, so be prepared to stick to your plans to alleviate burnout instead of thinking that quick fixes will do the magic instead!

31. A new way of talking might be a call for help 

At some point, I noticed I’d developed an aggressive way of talking which wasn’t me. I believe this was also a warning sign: it brought to everyone’s attention that something had changed and opened my own eyes to it.

32. Constant availability distracts you and takes away your peace of mind

I realized the internet and being constantly accessible was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it was my way of keeping in touch with other adults. On the other, the phone’s constant beeping was a huge distraction. I’d scrupulously rush to look at my phone and try to answer every message right away. I finally realized that this made no sense and I had to do something about it. It isn’t natural to be accessible all the time! 

33. Beautiful, ugly and addictive social media

Social media often creates unrealistic pressures and standards for anyone using it. People present embellished versions of their lives and the truth is stretched by showing only the best parts of life. After all, who really wants to show off their messy home or bags under their eyes? However, this unreality sets exorbitant challenges for people whose lives aren’t filled with perfectly beautiful images. When your life feels like a big mess, remember that social media is just a utopian delusion!

34. Stop unrealistically comparing yourself to what other moms are doing

Performance pressures provide fertile ground for burnout. The internet is full of happy babies in dazzling white, spotless clothes lying on beautiful decorative blankets on the living room’s soft carpet. A gorgeously decorated home and mother radiate perfectly with the baby. The reality, though, may be a little different to the polished surface; the home is full of spit up clothes, soothers, and toys mom keeps tripping over. The laundry basket is full of clothes and the countertops are piled with dirty dishes. Mom hasn’t washed her hair for days and is wearing the same shirt for the third day in a row. Or maybe I’m just talking about our life! Comparing yourself to others is human, but in a nutshell – DON’T DO IT!

35. Best mother competition

Maternity seems to be a competition for some people. Don’t take part in it – there are only losers! It doesn’t matter at when your baby started to talk, first rode a bike, or read, or how fast you recovered from giving birth! It’s about you and your family. YOUR life, not others’. YOU are the focal point of your ,life so focus on your own family! You don’t have to do things like others do.

36. After the first romance of motherhood has faded it might hit you in the face

Maternity can be like a romance at first – with rose-tinted spectacles on it’s fun to goggle around if the newborn sleeps for days on end. When your kid’s first teeth cut through its gums and when you have a walking, messy toddler, you face a harsh reality check. The role of a mother can become too defining and you may want to be also something else as well – and that’s completely human!

37. Motherhood can kidnap you if you don’t remember to be something else as well

At some point, I realized that I’d let all other roles be overshadowed by motherhood. I stayed home and took care of my baby. In retrospect, I should have remembered that besides being a mother, I was still a wife, friend, daughter and sister. I was still an ordinary woman, just like before I gave birth!

38. Wanting to be the best mother ever isn’t a virtue

I put a lot of stress on myself by trying to find out everything related to children. I wanted to do my best and be the best possible mother for my kids. Human, maybe, but stupid. In the end, I realized that sometimes you have to trust your common sense, and that’s enough. I don’t need to know everything about everything.

39. Mess, clutter and the endless cleaning cycle are part of life

Mess is part of normal life of a family with children. Period. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. Mess and children are inseparable, and the cleaning cycle never lets up with them. It’s better to learn how not to lose your nerve because of the inevitable mess and accept that the time for squeaky clean levels and perfect order will come again in retirement. But who wants to hurry to get there?

40. A more relaxed attitude to dirt makes life easier

Dirt is a substance in the wrong place. That’s it! I’ve tried to keep this in mind when my kids have been messy at home. This lowers my stress level: I couldn’t even imagine the amount of extra work if I always kept the house completely clean and the kids in perfectly stainless clothes!

41. You can’t control everything and that’s fine

I’ve always been a control freak. I hate surprises and I’d like to be aware of everything, be prepared for anything and know how to act in any situation. But I’ve found that I can’t possibly manage it all – and that’s got to be ok, because I am not the master of the universe, even if I wish I were!

42. Don’t confuse smartphones’ passivating effect with relaxation

A smartphone is a sure way to prevent the possibility of relaxation. All sorts of screen time will passivate and not relax you. This is because instead of short stimuli and instant beeps, you need more long-lasting calmness. So put those screens away from you if you want to relax!

43. Don’t stress about posting on social media

There’s no need to update everything on social media. Having a child is the most wonderful time for you, not others. Above all, live and enjoy yourself and don’t stress about capturing every moment for others. Your best hard drive is your brain, so save your most important memories there!

44. Losing relaxation and pleasure in the spirals of motherhood and burnout

Where do you find joy and pleasure, and what relaxes you? If you can’t answer that, find the answer! Try spending time outdoors, doing something creative, exercising, cooking or even starting a whole new hobby. Try helping your mind on a lighter track!

45. Importance of music for your mood

After my burnout symptoms started, I could no longer listen to fast-paced music. I felt like my blood pressure was rising and my heart was beating to a bass stroke. I decided to try listening to calmer music, like chill instrumental jazz. It was perfectly light and felt like it relaxed me and lightened my mood!

46. Appreciate motherhood, even if others don’t 

Being a mother is one of the most important jobs there is, as our children are changing the world of the future. Remember to appreciate motherhood, as if you feel it’s futile, you’ll easily become frustrated and have further problems.

47. Mom isn’t superhuman

Unfortunately, motherhood doesn’t make you superhuman. It’s better to humble yourself and be ready to ask and get help. Trying to survive alone is a weakness, not a virtue! When it comes to burnout, the gut is only a negative thing.

48. Forget the glorification of activity – glorify the boring life instead

Forget about running life and checking off an activity list. It’s okay to stay at home and live your daily life! Don’t create unnecessary pressure for being active: do what honestly makes you feel good.

49. Learn to say no 

Don’t acquire too much to do by saying yes to everything. Practice thinking before answering “yes” or buy more time to think it over by saying something like, “sounds like a great idea – I’ll get back to you on this later”. And if it’s a no, learn how to say so in the first place!

50. Lower your expectations and be positively surprised

The classic sales pitch to get the customer satisfied is to promise less than you intend to offer. Unmet expectations make anyone feel lousy and disappointed. Try living without expectations!

51. Recognize the impact of hormones on you 

Ah hormones – lovely hormones. They rock the boat every month. It’s good to remember that they play also a major role during pregnancy, after childbirth, and during breastfeeding. If PMS is bothering you, red-tag your bad days in advance and let your partner know them too. You understand yourself better when you know what’s going on.

52. Time is running fast – way too fast

I sometimes comforted myself by telling myself that the kids would grow up quickly and that life would become easier when they did. It was a good reminder, but I didn’t want time to go too fast and the kids to grow up too quickly! As hectic and stressful as our life was at times, it was still a unique time for our family. I decided I had to find ways of making things easier for me to able to enjoy our family life instead of complaining!

53. Without goals, you’re lost, so remember to dream and have visions

If the future is just a gray mist, it will surely annoy you. Invent short term goals. What about tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the next week or next vacation? It can be small or big things but remember to dream. If you don’t know what you should dream of, set your imagination free and figure it out!

54. Don’t borrow from your own time – you pay it back at high interest

The busy days eve made me sacrifice my short yoga moment. I knew it was an essential part of supporting my well-being, but I compromised that so I could clean, wash clothes or do other household chores. There was always something more important to do and my well-being and relaxation seemed too selfish and trivial. However, the borrowed time might bankrupt you later on, so don’t make the same mistake!

55. Put on your own oxygen mask first

People suffering from burnout should put healthy selfishness in the spotlight. You must first put on an oxygen mask if you want to be able to help others. Otherwise, you will not be of service to others. Always remember this. 

56. Sleep, sleep, sleep – prioritize sleep

Sleeping is often one of the big challenges for a family with small children. Try to find the best possible sleeping arrangements for your family and make sure to go to bed early. The old adage for a new mother to “sleep when the baby sleeps” isn’t a hoax but a piece of advice to take seriously. The world looks quite different when it isn’t defined by tiredness! 

57. Spouses must take care of their wellbeing as well

If burnout has already reached a serious level, there may be a tired wife and a messy home waiting for a spouse to return home from work. He has to clean, cook, play with the children and give mom her own time to help the situation. In the worst-case scenario, there could soon be two burned out people instead of one. Take active care of both parents’ wellbeing!

58. Contraception and sex

Inappropriate contraception affects the mind and stress. Find out the many options available and carefully consider the one that best suits your situation. Sex can have a big impact on relaxation through pleasure and in this way it can even act as a stimulant to well-being. Never underestimate the power of sex!

59. Turn your mind to autopilot with routines

Routines are a good way to help everyday life run smoother. Although they may seem difficult to form in the first place, try creating some routines to guide your daily activities. With young children all routines must be learned: the evening snack and bath time, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth and reading a bedtime story before going to sleep. 

60. Think of ways to make household chores easier

Cleaning is a big part of household chores and there is always something to clean or organize, especially when children are small. If possible, hire a cleaner to make your life easier – it is certainly money well spent! Think about how to make cooking easier, as it takes a huge amount of time and energy every day.

61. Master daily life

Managing daily life becomes an important skill in overcoming burnout and might even be a good way of preventing it! However, in my case only exhaustion forced me to think about ways to manage it as rationally as possible and look for ways to reduce my unnecessary workload. What are the things that make up your day-to-day life and what can you do to ease your workload?

62. Finding ways to save energy

Decrease your chores where possible. I decided to stop folding our clothes and used hangers, rods or baskets instead. I was able to save time for more important things and the kids couldn’t spoil the beautiful piles of clothes when there weren’t any! 

63. Concentrate your energy by prioritizing – LESS IS MORE!

Prioritizing the use of limited time is important. Even though you must be able to multitask, don’t put too much to do on your plate. I learned that food would burn if I cooked, cleaned, listened to an educational video and tried to keep an eye on my kids as they played. Fewer balls in the air usually produce a better outcome, so think about your daily priorities.

64. Save yourself from unnecessary extra work: no white clothes

In my opinion, white or light clothing and other textiles are the last things that should burden a mother. They will get dirty as sure as the sun rises in the morning! So no, don’t buy them and save your energy for better things!

65. Don’t get into the hot mama mold because of others

The Internet gives the impression that a new mother should be a hot mom right after giving birth: she should work out in the gym and look like a MILF (mother I’d like to f***) – I hate the word combination, but a lot of people probably know it. Do what you want to do but don’t cave to under superficial external pressure. Mom has especially good reasons for that!

66. Good self-esteem helps

Grow a thick skin and try to build good self-esteem. Weak self-esteem can easily let you be influenced too much by others’ opinions and attitudes.

67. Relieve stress and relax – learn how to do nothing

Often when there would have been an “empty” moment and the chance to just be and do nothing at all, I started browsing my phone. Doing nothing is a skill that might need practicing. Try going outdoors and just observing your surrounding. Or just start by drinking your coffee in peace!

68. Downsize stuff and make fewer chores 

Cleaning is a big part of household chores. There always seems to be more to clean or organize. A good way to reduce these chores is to cut down on what you have. Cleaning is faster when you only have what’s necessary and everything has its place. Less stuff = more time!

69. Downsize web time too

The internet is a good example of downsizing. Decide who you want to follow and who you don’t. It’s time that could be spent on something else and might disturb your concentration on other things as well.

70. Don’t let failure stop you

Over and over again, I failed in my promises to take care of myself. However, I refused to give up and after each failure, I tried again. After numerous failures and new attempts, I was finally able to affect my behavior and mind! Try persistently until you manage to change things for the better.

71. Things can wait – the rush is often created in your head

A mother’s chores at home rarely end by doing them. Things can sometimes wait. Even those dirty dishes and countertops!

72. Break myths and molds to fit in – become a rebel instead

Think about how to live a life of your own. Shun the herd mentality and decide what you want without thinking too much about what others do. Don’t dress up your little girl in pink if you don’t like pink. If you hate Christmas, don’t celebrate it!

73. Take advantage of the internet

The internet can help you coordinate your everyday life. Try buying home supplies and groceries online and make shopping easier and less time-consuming. You can shop whenever you have time and you can have your shopping delivered to your home or the nearest pick-up point.

74. Move tasks that require concentration to a time when you can concentrate

Don’t try to focus on something important, like paying bills or writing e-mails, when children are awake and peace and quiet aren’t possible. Instead, do them when you have the chance to concentrate. Otherwise, you will most probably lose your temper instead of getting the job done.

75. Change your attitude towards crying  

My kids’ crying always sent my stress level soaring. I felt responsible for getting them to stop as quickly as possible. However, it’s good to remember that small children cry quite often and sometimes without any good reason. Besides, even the best attempts at consolation or conciliation can fail. Try to think of crying as a very normal sound of life and something not to get overly stressed about. 

76. Even tiny sounds can set your nerves on edge

Sometimes even the smallest sounds made me annoyed and anxious and at times, just washing dishes would strain my nerves. Then I came up with a solution; listening to good music with headphones and even washing dishes turned out to be a relaxing task! If sounds annoy you try removing all unnecessary background noises, like phone notifications and beeps.

77. Use the oxygen mask analogy to remember the importance of your wellbeing

If you start forgetting your own needs, try reminding airplanes’ safety demonstrations and oxygen masks. If you don’t put your own mask on first, you won’t be able to help others!

78. Inspire yourself with positive slogans 

Controlling your mind plays an important role in healing burnout. Negativity easily fills your mind and you might get trapped in self-pity and negative thoughts. Sometimes I felt I was almost completely losing my positivity and gratitude. Try positive slogans in a visible place as an inspiration to stay positive!

79. Use the power of imagination

Try imagery training to ease burnout. Try seeing yourself as radiating energy and cheerful, instead of being trapped in negative feelings. Force them out of your mind and force yourself into positivity, even if that seems artificial. Watch out for what you think and don’t give in to frustrated thoughts. Try seeing yourself as something you want to be. Think of placebo drugs – the mind can be very strong if you want it to be!

80. A sensitized and exhausted mind becomes more easily anxious

Having children might be sensitizing, not least for a new mother. It’s better to get rid of all anxiety-inducing things if they turn your focus to negative things. For example, if you get anxious after reading the news, stop reading it!

81. Do not dam or suppress your feelings but talk or write about them 

Talking always makes you feel better. As cliché as it sounds, saying thoughts aloud makes them fade, at least a little. Thoughts can feel bigger when they are kept only in your head. Being open to your feelings and thoughts can prevent you from falling deeper into the abyss of burnout and also help to crank yourself up from there. Speaking is an asset that should not be underestimated!

82. The importance of support is invaluable

If your support network needs reinforcement, consider ways to strengthen it. Peer support is also important: if you don’t have anyone in your circle of acquaintances, the internet might provide good ways of finding new ones. It’s good to have someone to talk to who understands what burnout means.

83. Humor and self-irony might help a little

Sometimes life is easier when you can laugh at yourself. What if you walked to the grocery shop your shirt inside out – no big deal, it could happen to anyone! However, don’t use humor to sweep things under the rug!

84. Exercising and outdoor activities refresh you

Once a day it’s good to get out: otherwise, you might feel like your home is starting to close in on you. Fresh air is always refreshing! Also, don’t forget the importance of exercising your body to relieve stress.

85. Superficial breathing might be an indication of stress

When stressed, I noticed that I was breathing superficially, and it almost felt like I was holding my breath. Calm and deep breaths in and out relax you – think about how important breathing was when you gave birth! Try focusing on conscious breathing to alleviate stress.

86. Learn to accept criticism and differing opinions

As a mother, it seems everyone has an opinion and advice to give on any given topic. If you can’t stand this, remember that refusing to fight about opinions isn’t consent, but it saves your energy for something more useful! 

87. Forget self-criticism and self-blame – focus on improvement

It’s easy to start the spiral of blame and self-pity, but its more constructive to focus on improving things. Forget needless self-criticism: what if something doesn’t work out perfectly? Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world and everybody fails sometimes. Life is easier when you don’t take yourself too seriously!

89. Even bad things teach us something

Sometimes it’s possible to find something good, even through unpleasant things. My burnout taught me to pay attention to myself, take care of my body, and exercise my mind. As cliché as it sounds, sometimes dark clouds can have a silver lining as well.

90. Be your best friend and take care of yourself, just like your loved ones

Remember, you’re the most important person in your life. Take care of yourself just like your other loved ones too. You won’t earn any less!

91. Recognize what raises your energy level

Does sunlight give you energy or do you get more power from exercising or outdoor activities? It’s also a good idea to see a doctor to get your iron and vitamin levels checked as deficiencies can make you feel tired.

92. Variation is stimulating and refreshing

Don’t become prisoner to routine. From time to time, do things that break routines. It’s also a good idea to leave your comfort zone and try new things; staying in your comfort zone can bore you in the long run. 

93. Draw boundaries and make a plan 

Consider your boundaries and make an action plan. When do you take your time, what relief and solutions could you apply in your day to day life? How could responsibilities and tasks be delegated better? What goals could you set?

94. You’re the only person who can overcome your burnout

I often received good pieces of advice on how to help my situation. However, retrospectively I realized that while reminders might have been necessary, no one but myself could decide to overcome burnout. Remember, you’re the most important person in your life to decide what you want to do with it!

95. Force yourself to make necessary changes

Sometimes it’s difficult to get rid of familiar habits and create new ones. But you have no choice. Either you force yourself to work for change or there will be no change. A play of imagination may be helpful: imagine yourself as your mother – what would you do as your mother to get you back on the right track?

96. Identify what tightens your nerves and think of a solution in advance 

What makes you stressed out and what might help you in those situations? For example, I’m not a morning person and looking for lost items in a hurry strains my nerves. As a solution, I made everything ready for the next morning to avoid the last-minute search panic and to be able to start the day in a more relaxed way.

97. Does it take more than it gives?

Pleasing others at the expense of your well-being is usually a part of the behavioral patterns of a burnout. The question that can help with this is quite simple: Does it take more than it gives? If something feels more like a burden, reduce or stop doing it. 

98. Knowledge to prevent burnout

Having some knowledge about burnout and what it might look like, warning signals can be more easily recognized, either by the persons themselves or by someone else. Prevention is the best cure! 

99. Get rid of stress with one question?

The big question is… 
Can you do something about it?
If you can – do it!
If you can’t – DON’T STRESS!

100. The best advice is simple

My best advice for overcoming burnout is almost too brilliant in its simplicity and the recipe for the solution seems far too easy. The keyword is relaxation! The big question is then, how do you relax?

101. Remember that the keys for overcoming burnout are in your hands!


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