Life Management, Self-Care

How to Prioritize Mental Health and Avoid Burnout

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We tend to suppress our emotions or push them aside to meet the demands of motherhood. As moms, we put everyone else’s needs before our own, and by the time we finally allow ourselves to take a breath, we’re left exhausted, depleted, and on the verge of burnout. In today’s video, I share five ways to prioritize your mental health to help you avoid caregiver burnout. 

Take a Media Detox:

This is something you’ve heard before and is all too familiar with: Take a social media detox. This is so important for us, especially because we’re just dealing with so much already mentally. We’re taking in information, constantly. Technology is available to us everywhere we turn. So, taking a media detox is so important. And that’s all kinds of media that include news outlets AND social media. 

One practice I would love to encourage you to put into place is to perhaps just take one day of the entire week to just kind of get off the virtual grid and not engage in taking in any of media. 

Don’t scroll Facebook or Instagram. 

Don’t check your local news. 

We’re taking in so much that it can easily affect our mood, and also our mental health. 

Setting Clear Boundaries:

So the second thing that you can do for mental health is setting up clear boundaries. 

I highly recommend reading Boundaries by Dr.Henry Cloud

It goes into dept what boundaries look like.

And so for example, having a clear boundary helps you maintain the energy you have, by not feeling constantly drained by negativity that comes from other people.

And that’s not to say at all that, you become this terrible friend who isn’t there for someone simply to conserve your energy. Instead, it allows you to create set parameters for how (and when) you want those relationships and interactions to actually occur. 

For example, the people who need the most of my energy are my children and my husband. 

And so in order to set up those clear boundaries, I actually don’t engage with any text messaging back and forth, or really any social media until later on an afternoon. 

Once I actually have a chance to go about my day, I’m available later in the day to give my energy to others who may need me. But I’m not giving my kids and my husband was left overs.

Oftentimes, it’s the people who are closest to us who get the least of my energy.

Having clear boundaries ensures that your energy isn’t completely drained at the end of the day, simply because someone else needs something from you. And while I think it is important to be there for your friends, if you always find yourself at the receiving end of someone’s emotional dumping grounds, then it’s going to leave you depleted and mentally exhausted. 

It’s important to limit those interactions because it is going to be draining for you. This is especially true, if there’s not a lot of back and forth interaction. The person who called or text you simply wants to emotionally dump so they can get it out of their system and move on. 

If you have those kinds of friendships where you feel as though that person is just kind of treating you as though you’re their emotional dumping ground, I would definitely set some clear parameters around that and make sure that you limit your interactions as much as possible to protect your mental health. 

You’re not going to completely eliminate all interactions with that person, because you do love and care about them, but setting clear parameters around when and how often to have those interactions will improve the quality of your relationship and mental health. 

Perhaps, make sure you’re not available for these kinds of interactions in the morning, but maybe once a week in the afternoon. 

Meditation

Oftentimes when we hear meditation, we think, okay, so I kind of sit there and just go “ummmmmmm”  for a little bit, right? Well, meditation is a little bit more than that. 

The most important thing that meditation teaches this is actually our ability to focus and be present. Because oftentimes when we’re struggling with mental health, we’re oftentimes finding ourselves in the past, it forces us to focus on the present moment. 

And so, by being present, you’re not reflecting on the mistake that you just made a second ago, or you’re not thinking about the future, which we always think that we have control of, but we seldom do.

And so just practicing meditation, really helps us to just make sure that we’re present, and in the moment as much as possible. Will thoughts come? Of course they will. 

But, practicing meditation, again, is a skill and will take some time to build up. I highly recommend the Calm App. If you’re new to meditating, just take it from there and just see how you feel and how you go how it goes. 

Try guided meditation to get started, and you’ll find that it’ll get easier as you practice. . 

Journaling For Mental Health:

This is amazing for your mental health because you have so many thoughts throughout the day. Oftentimes we don’t have time to dig into the ones that really requires our attention. It will end up in the back of your mind, and these thoughts will keep prodding you, trying to get your attention.

You probably don’t have the opportunity to really dive deep into what those emotions mean, and other times, you just need time to process things and see what’s really going on. 

And once you have those thoughts down on paper, it’s amazing how much better you feel. 

Don’t overcomplicate it. Simply write down the first thing that comes to your mind. The most important thing is to simply get your thoughts on paper. You can also do journal prompts. 

I love to journal prompts and if that’s something that would really help you I strongly encourage that you go ahead and check out some of these journal prompts and just see if that kind of helps you with getting started with journaling your thoughts. 

Take A Sabbath Or A Day Of Rest. 

I would strongly encourage you to practice Sabbath, or a day of rest. It doesn’t have to be a full day. It can even be half a day. It’s just a way for you to feel more refreshed and rejuvenated. Every day of the week we’re constantly going out and doing things, or even while we’re home, we find ourselves filling our days with busy work. 

And just so we’re clear, when I say “rest” I don’t mean like they’re just laying in bed and doing absolutely nothing. This day is supposed to be filling your soul, doing things that are fun and creative and it just makes you feel playful. 

And so what I like to do on my day of rest is to just take that day to just be with my family and play. I’m not doing any work. And then I also am just there with them. 

Yes, there will be meals that have to be made. And so I usually try to cook ahead if possible or I order pick-up or ubereats. It’s simply nice to just have most of the day where I’m just with them and just enjoying their company. I don’t have to worry so much about all the obligations and responsibility that comes with being a working mom. 

I hope these tips were helpful! If you try any of it, please let me know in the comments. Or if you have any tips for prioritizing your mental health and creative ways to prevent burnout, please share them in the comments below!

FREE PRINTABLE: Set Healthy & Self-Caring Boundaries

FREE: Journal Prompts

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