When your snapping at the ones you love — this is an obvious sign of exhaustion. We would all agree.
BUT, what about the times when we think we are doing good because we’ve measured it up against the verbal snaps that we’ve held in. We’re rather proud of ourselves and our self-control at keeping the grumpies at bay.
Yes, well… there is that…
… there are other silent signs of exhaustion that can (at least for me) sneak right by. I can keep denying my exhaustion to myself because I’m not “hurting anyone” with my verbal snaps.
How many of us just push through the exhaustion? And sure there are times that you have to keep going. But at what point do you stop and draw the line? Our bodies need a certain amount of sleep, water, and food… basic needs that we all know, but sometimes we shave off the top. Keeping our noses just above the water we’re treading. Not realizing just how exhausted we are.
As a mom of five young kids, I know I’m guilty of this. We are currently back in the newborn stage. (she’s 5 weeks old!! already!?) Of course, little sleep spurts throughout the night is my new normal and that’s fine. But now throughout my day, I’ll be presented with these little “break” moments (ie. kids on a walk with grandma and baby is sleeping) — I’ll keep going and keep pushing through. It’s this slow motion to “do” something and yet I’m accomplishing nothing. There are things I have to get done (i.e. cook supper) and things I want to get done to keep my sanity (i.e.: writing this blog post 🙂 ) But sooner or later things will come to a head.
It did for me this past Sunday.
It was Sunday morning and as a family, we geared up and went to church. As we always do. Just 3hrs of being gone from the house. 3hrs of where we could listen to the service, talk to friends after and focus on church. I had a great time, and so did the rest of my family. But, when we got home — I was fried. Like “Kentucky-Fried-Chicken-nothing-left-inside-deep-exhausted” — fried. Leaving the bulk of the responsibility to my husband, I took the baby up to our room, and we slept. I woke up feeling gross, and so I slept some more. Waking up from my “nap”, I realized my Sunday was over. 3 hrs I gave out in the morning to go with my family (which I don’t regret) cost me 6hrs of recovery time. I couldn’t believe it! I felt guilty because I missed out on our family day, and ashamed because I wasn’t strong enough to handle everything. I felt ancient. I couldn’t believe how exhausted I was. That little output that morning had me drowning in my sea of exhaustion. I should have known better. I should have taken me naps during the week. But truthfully I ignored those silent signs that I was exhausted, as I kept going.
When you’re exhausted | the silent signs of exhaustion:
1)constant headaches that are relieved with an adequate amount of sleep
2)constant sugar or caffeine grabs
3)overeating to make up for the lack of energy
4)fatigue that is relieved by sleep and rest
6)catching colds and flu quickly due to lower immune system
7)emotional blocking or not really caring or feeling for anything or anyone
8)depression or negative thinking, relieved with sleep and rest
9)impaired memory or concentration
Being aware of your particular signs will help you to shorten your symptoms stage and allow you to quickly get the help that you need to turn exhaustion around before it heads to burnout. While this may be obvious — I would say that most moms, while caring for young kids can leave mom till the last. Giving herself the leftover time.
A famous story I always keep in mind when I feel guilty for taking care of myself is about the pre-flight safety speech the air flight attendants will walk through. My favorite part is when they demonstrate how to use the oxygen mask. As much as you would want to help your child, in the event of loss of air pressure and oxygen in the cabin, you’re instructed to put your own mask on first. Then your child’s
What do you need to do to put on your oxygen mask?
1)list some ways to get more sleep
2)say no to new opportunities that would just use more of your time
3)cut out some things already in your life to help elevate pressure
4)sacrifice your evening quiet, adult time, and go to bed earlier
5)hire in help to clean — you’ve now “bought” yourself extra time
6)hire a babysitter to watch the kids one day a week while you go sleep and rest
7)promise yourself that you are not going to keep going and it your TOP priority for this season of your life.
8)don’t compare your energy levels to that of what you see your mom friends do. They sleep too, you just don’t see it.
9)develop an exercise program as to relieve stress and get the good endorphins going
10)cut some of the caffeine limiting to a certain coffee count
11)eat a balanced diet
12)seek the advice of a family doctor and get your blood work done to see if you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency
Why is this so important to set boundaries for your exhaustion? So you can reverse it before it leads to burnout! Click here to read the signs and symptoms of burn out!
Break the cycle of brain fog busy mom. Move as much as you can off your calendar to get the sleep you need. Just for this period time in your life.
I know I will!
By: Sharon Schuler