When it comes to reclaiming your energy, identifying where it is going in the first place is a good starting point. If you are an overwhelmed, over-challenged Mum trying to firefight the demands of life, and balance modern-day motherhood, it may feel obvious where your energy is going. However, it’s not all visible and as obvious as it seems.
If you imagine your motherload a little bit like the game of buckaroo. Slowly but surely your load gets heavier. You know at some point you could buckle under the pressure and snap, but you keep going.
From my one to one work with mothers, I believe that mother burnout is often a result of loving others so fiercely and accidentally abandoning yourself in the process. This is not a conscious or intentional act, but usually an accumulation over time, of teeny, well-intentioned, tender and loving steps away from your spirit (the essence of who you are), and into the hearts of others. Simply because you care!
So where is your energy going? One of your greatest energy thieves is STRESS itself. In a nutshell the process of dealing with a ‘stressor’ is very energy intensive and demanding on your resources – nutrients, energy, oxygen, blood supply and immune function.
So the million dollar question is – where is your stress coming from?
Sure, there are the obvious, visible stressors such as:
- The constant parenting juggle
- Environmental stressors (yup, housework is one of them!)
- Relationship worries
- Lack of quality sleep
- Erratic eating patterns
- Poor quick-fix food choices
- Work and financial stress
- Too much/too little exercise
But, you also carry some stress that is in your blind spot and beneath the surface. I like to refer to these hidden stressors as – THE INVISIBLE MOTHERLOAD.
Thinking about the donkey from the buckaroo metaphor – it’s common to think your stress comes from outside of you – such as life’s load, the mother juggle and the never-ending demands from other people, daily tasks and life circumstances (which are all bloomin’ real by the way). But, in the midst of trying to spin all the plates, it’s easy to lose sight that it’s actually your response to these things that can cause you the most stress.
What I often see in my mother clients is It’s the emotional load that manifests into physical health symptoms such as exhaustion, PMS, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, changes in weight, skin breakouts, etc.
Physical burnout and exhaustion usually come from driving the mind in first gear for too long.
Some of the common stressors/energy thieves that can overload you and burn you out include:
- People pleasing and over committing.
- Saying yes instead of no because you don’t want to let others down (Boundaries?!)
- Settling for second best because pursuing that ‘thing’ requires too much time and energy.
- Doing what you think you SHOULD do, not what you want. Fitting in.
- Fear of voicing your truth.
- Staying still or stuck because the unknown is too scary.
- Fear of getting it wrong.
- Lack of confidence and belief in your own ability as you and as a mum.
It’s usually this INVISIBLE MOTHER LOAD you carry around like an emotional anchor that’s at the heart of your exhaustion.
If this is your familiar pattern over time, it can accumulate and show up in the body as:
- Imbalanced stress hormones
- Blood sugar imbalance
This can perpetuate a repetitive cycle that can feel like you are stuck in survival mode and feel insurmountable to break. Everything gets too much, too overwhelming and you just come to a standstill. It can feel like ‘motherload-paralysis’ and you become stuck in a mother funk.
And of course, when you stop it’s usually followed by a spiral of destruction and guilt and pressure you put on yourself because you haven’t got anything done in this state.
The good news is, your response to stress comes from your perception. And where as you may not be able to control everything in your external environment, you do have full agency over perception and how you respond.
This comes from how you think and how you feel, what you believe about yourself and what you value. Its your perception and mindset that effects the choices you make from day to day and how empowered or disempowered you feel.
So changing your perception is where the magic of change and transformation lies.
If you would like to break free from your cycle of exhaustion and overwhelm into a new way to mother from a place of abundance, vitality and freedom. Please do get in touch with me.
My approach isn’t just about getting to the root of the problem, but the root of the solution. As much as you have hidden stressors you also have hidden magic – your true nature and essence of who you are, your own inner knowing, your life force! This is what mothering yourself from inside out is all about.
What I tend to recommend, because it can feel really overwhelming knowing where to start, is to pick one thing to bring your awareness to.
Here are a few ideas in how you can start to lighten your motherload and reclaim your energy:
Adopt an Anti-inflammatory diet
Increasing anti-inflammatory nutrients in your diet physically helps lighten your load in the body. And in turn, the mind. Try adding 1-2 extra veg portions to your plate every day and aim to eat the rainbow –
20 different plant based foods per week is a great go
Bring in some more restorative practises
Movement – absolutely essential for our physical and emotional well-being but if you are burnt out and are trying to train for a 10k, that may be adding to your load. Think restorative practices – yoga, walking in nature, short kitchen workouts.
Breathe and chew
Your breath is a really powerful tool in accessing a relaxed state. As is chewing, but chewing on one side of the mouth then the other. Try taking 10 breaths for one minute. Breath in for 5 and then out for 5 (one set).
Blood sugar balance
Support your blood sugar balance by aiming for three balanced meals a day. Avoid snacking on convenience foods which are high in sugars
Create some space for you
I would say this is the biggie and not always the easiest to do. Its really hard to process life and reconnect with you and your needs when your running at 100 miles per hour. Creating some time to slow down and tune into you and how you feel is a great first step towards change. I usually recommend asking yourself two questions, how do I feel and what do I need in this moment? Combining this spaciousness just for you with some breathwork and maybe time in nature can be magical.
Here are some recommendations in a cheatsheet to act as a prompt.
Energy = Freedom x