An overworked Mum, watch out you don’t burnout!

Specific Health Concern 25 April 2017

It’s hard to be a Mum! For mums who work or housewives, the quest for perfection can lead to exhaustion and burnout. Hello Day offers you some ways to prevent this.

Conditions that bring on a burnout

If we analyse the conditions that bring on a burnout in professional life, we can see why young mothers are particularly at risk, as while they work they devote their lives to families and children as well.

1. The desire for perfection

The desire for perfection is not reserved for those who aspire to be the best salesperson or employee of the month; young women are also affected, especially those who strive for perfection on all levels.

If your goal is to be one, or all, of the following:

  • a perfect mum,
  • a perfect housewife,
  • a perfect wife (and a sexy lover),
  • A caring girl for your ageing parents

 the task is likely to exhaust you.

2. Overwork

Young mothers accumulate tasks of all kinds: professional activity + cleaning + laundry + ironing + kitchen + food shopping + bringing up children + duties at home + domestic management …

Wow, wow, wow! Of course no one does the laundry by hand and we buy some ready made dishes, but despite everything, we work well beyond 35 hours!

3. The duration of travelling and the condition of transportation

Car or public transport, home – work, home – school or home – supermarket trips are a significant source of stress especially due to the fear of being late. You have to consider:

  • traffic conditions
  • traffic jams
  • strikes
  • bus or train delays
  • overcrowding in public transport and the aggressiveness of other commuters or motorists

4. Lack of recognition for the work accomplished

The feeling of not being recognised for your true value is the main factor of professional burnout.

We see this apply particularly to young mothers.

The work at home (household + laundry + ironing …. see above) is not recognized at its true value, it is not remunerated and its rare for husbands and children to thank the mother for everything she voluntarily performs.

So, gentlemen, please congratulate your darling for all these efforts (and give her a hand too).

Warning signs

Occupational physicians are trained to recognize the warning signs of burnout, your family doctor perhaps less so.

But you need to be aware if one or more of these following signs regularly or repetitively present themselves:

1.     Psychological signs:

  • Anxiety,
  • Memory and concentration disorders
  • Decreased motivation
  • Impulsive food cravings
  • Feeling isolated
  • Suicidal thoughts

2.     Physical signs:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain

Strategies to prevent burnout

  1. Sufficient sleep
  2. Exercise
  3. Eat well balanced food
  4. Maintain a balanced life
  5. Do yoga or relaxation
  6. Stay focused on what you want to accomplish over the long term

Magnesium and phytotherapy, allies to overcome burnout

As we have just seen, and as I have detailed in another article “When our environment plays tricks on us”, burnout is the direct result of stress, especially when it is repeated and generates a feeling of incapacity.

This means that food supplements and plants that act on stress like magnesium, passionflower and especially adaptogenic plants, eleutherococcus and rhodiola, can help you surpass it.

Short breaks: the trick of many mothers

I will give you a tip that was revealed to me by one of my patients, a mother of a big family who, despite everything, managed to take regular time out.

She said, “My husband and I get a ‘free’ night a week, a weekend a month and a week a year to enjoy life.

Her secret?

She has set up a system of child minding with her sisters and sisters-in law: she confides her children to them for an evening, a weekend or a week for a holiday and she does the same in return.

I think the idea is excellent.

First the children are delighted to find themselves with their cousins. And then to make food for 8 (or 10) does not require more time than for 4.

Finally, if you do not have a sister available, why not set up this system of “alternate child minding” with some friends or neighbors?

Being a mother can be stressful & exhausting and women need to be careful not to burnout. Read more about the causes, symptoms & treatment of burnout.