Mummy Burnout: 10 Tips for Preventing and Coping with Mummy Overwhelm

Mummy burnout is real!

As guilty and ashamed as we may feel to admit it, every mum has felt overwhelmed at one point or another.

Whether you’re a working mum or a stay-at-home mum, there comes a point where we become worn out and slip into survival mode.

And how can we not? As mums, we are on all the time, day and night.

And it’s not just physically caring for the kiddos, it’s also caring for their emotional and mental state – which can be the most difficult, along with caring for the home and social obligations.

So, let’s take a look at some tips for preventing and coping with mum burnout.

Tips for Preventing and Coping with Mummy Burnout

The best way to prevent mummy burnout from happening in the first place is to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We’ve all heard of self-care, but it is far more than going to the spa, the nail salon, or getting a facial – although it is certainly a great way to treat yourself!

Self-care involves taking care of yourself in all areas of your life so that you are better able to tackle the unpredictable, everyday stresses that may come your way.

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Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you’ll never feel overwhelmed, but you may prevent it from happening as often.

Review and implement these tips as much as possible but try not to become overwhelmed by trying to do everything all at once. That defeats the purpose of this list!

Small sustainable changes create the greatest impact.

1. Don’t Skimp on Sleep

Without proper sleep, we become snappy, grouchy, and easily frustrated mums. Our judgment becomes clouded, and we run on autopilot, getting what needs to get done and seldom anything more.

While everyone is different, you want to get at least seven hours of sleep. Yes, I know it’s easier said than done, especially if you have very young tots, but it is a good guideline to follow. Try to make sleep a priority, even if that means going to bed earlier than you’re used to.

2. Get Moving

While going to the gym may not be possible, especially with little ones around, even short bursts of exercise have been found to improve your overall health. Even ten minutes a day of dancing in the living room with your little one will be beneficial.

Go for a walk around the block, whether it’s alone, with your little ones in tow, or as you walk the dog.

Additionally, working out at home has never been easier. Apps are your friend! You can do yoga, Pilates, or aerobic exercise in the comfort of your home whenever you want.

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If you’re stressed about finding the time for it, don’t. Involve your little ones, try waking up a little earlier, or do it while they nap.

Remember, you don’t have to block out a large portion of time to reap the benefits of physical activity. The studies are on your side in preventing mummy burnout!

3. Eat Healthy and Hydrate

Meal planning can be a godsend for busy families and one way to plan for a long week (and avoid the dreaded dinner dramas) is to meal prep. If you have the time, spend a couple of hours cooking various easy meals on Sunday (tunes on, of course!) and then freeze them for during the mid-week dinner rush.

Staying hydrated is also important in preventing mummy burnout and overwhelm. Drinking enough healthy fluids can replenish your energy and make you less groggy. Try drinking a glass of water when you wake up to give you a head start on your day. Even better, make it lemon water to help your digestion.

Making small, healthy changes will not only make you feel good physically, but it’ll improve your overall mental state and wellness ultimately helping you avoid mummy burnout.

4. Meditate

Setting aside time to meditate, sit quietly, and breathe deeply can help you prevent mummy burnout and cope when you become overwhelmed.

It doesn’t have to be a large chunk of time either. You can start with one or two minutes and work your way up as needed.

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This means that you can take yourself outside or hide in the bathroom for a couple of minutes to calm your mind and relax your body. You will emerge less anxious and stressed. Over time, meditating can also help you sleep more soundly.

5. Be Creative

Taking time to do the things you used to enjoy before kids, or taking on new creative hobbies can reduce stress helping you avoid mommy burnout down the road.

Write, paint, bake, sew, knit, embroider, or cross-stitch. Anything that can help you express yourself releases stress and further boosts your creativity.

You can even make it a fun activity with the kids! You can all have a ‘drawing or painting hour’. Or simply call it ‘creativity hour’ where you all quietly focus on a hobby of your choice.

I like to keep a caddy with some basic art supplies and another with my embroidery supplies. It allows me to take them with me anywhere in the house or outside when inspiration strikes, or when I have a moment for it.

Whatever helps you connect with your creativity, do it!

6. Ignore Social Media

While social media can be a great way to connect with other mums who may be struggling just like you, it can also place a lot of pressure on you to be perfect.

Scrolling through you can find accounts whose unrealistic representation of parenthood may lead you to feel incompetent and unfit as a mum.

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Trust me, this is not helpful and will lead you to mum overwhelm as you struggle to be as perfect as those flawlessly styled mums baking and arranging flowers in their pristine homes.

Be inspired by others, but don’t fall into the comparison game. You do not need that type of self-imposed stress! Remember, no one is perfect and social media is just an illusion.

Instead, express gratitude for what you have and let the rest fall by the wayside.

7. Plan Your Day

This should not be a source of stress and it doesn’t have to be set in stone.

Simply think about your day and the tasks that need to get done either the night before or first thing in the morning, preferably as you quietly sip your coffee or tea.

Identify the priorities and be sure to pencil in some self-care time, whether it’s movement, meditation, your morning coffee, or some reading. Remember that you ARE a priority.

You cannot take care of others if you are burnt out and overwhelmed.

8. Positive Mum Affirmations

Positive affirmations are declarations or mantras that anyone can use to counteract negative self-talk. They boost self-esteem and confidence and help reduce anxiety and stress.

They have done wonders for me, and I only wish I’d done this when I first became a mum! People will reassure and encourage you, but repeating positive statements to yourself can help greatly in shaping the way you think and feel.

Focus on an affirmation each day. Say it in the morning, soon after waking, and repeat it throughout the day, at least three different times.

Some examples include:

  • I am a confident mum.
  • I am enough.
  • I am worthy of love and self-care.
  • I love my curves and curls.
  • Asking for help makes me strong.
  • I can take better care of others when I take good care of myself.

9. Say No

It is completely okay to say no to people other than your tots!

When feeling burnt out or overwhelmed, take a look at your to-do’s and commitments. What can you say no to?

It’s ok to say no to the PTA, to being the class mum volunteer, to a neighbourhood activity, to that fifth classmate’s birthday party this month, or to that book club meeting you’re stressing yourself about reading for.

Yes, you need to be social, and yes, you want to give back. But none of it is worth it if it destroys your sanity.

Saying no from time to time will definitely save you from experiencing mummy burnout.

10. Accept Help

You hear this everywhere. As much as you may try, as much as you may fancy yourself a super mum, you cannot sanely do everything yourself.

Accept help and lighten your load. Delegate where you can. Allow the laundry and dishes to pile for a day or two.

Hire a delivery service for your groceries or get takeout instead of slaving over the stove when you’re exhausted. It’s ok, you’ll all survive.

Discard the “If it’s not my way, it’s wrong” mentality and allow yourself to let go.

Mummy burnout can be a serious issue since it can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It prevents us from being the best mums we can be for our kiddos.

When experiencing mummy burnout, it can feel like we’re on autopilot, coasting in survival mode. It is something that falls between stress and depression.

Remember, there is no shame in admitting you are overwhelmed and that you need help. It takes strength to do so.

If feel you are struggling beyond burnout, reach out to your health professional. They will help steer you in the right direction.

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Avatar of Gloria Ramirez

Gloria Ruby Ramirez is a writer, mother, and lover of coffee, twinkle lights, and rain who believes in the magical power of words. She is passionate about parenting, mental health, and the environment. She is a former agricultural microbiologist/plant pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. Born in the desert of northern Mexico, she is mum to her beautifully energetic son and Shih Tzu, Gerty. When not writing, Gloria can be found spending time with her son and family, reading, or embroidering.

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