How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Beat‌ ‌Burnout‌ ‌and‌ ‌Get‌ ‌Back‌ ‌to‌ ‌Balance

I went to Target the other day for one thing (a birthday card) and came out with a cartful. Can you relate? A Pumpkin-Caramel-Latte-Honey-Orange candle was calling my name, the kitchen fall towel set was too cute to pass up, the orange and navy blue flannel shirt jacket (called a shacket, btw) fit me perfectly, my stomach was growling and I couldn’t say no to the butter-flavored pretzel twists, and don’t even get me started on the “buy two bottles-get the third free” special on Pinot Grigio I found. 

While in the middle of my mindless out-of-control shopping, I came across a youngish mom with children in tow. Six children to be exact! Two in the cart, two holding on to the sides of the cart, and two trailing behind the cart. Needless to say, she looked a little frazzled. 

Oh, how I remember days like those…

Those were the days of changing diapers and having a constant supply of spit-up on the front of my shirt. The days of picking up every shape and size of toys strewn throughout the house. The days of buckling kiddos into car seats and boosters. The days of refereeing fights. The days of chauffeuring to and from commitments. The days of starting my own work-from-home business. The days of tending to an elderly parent. And sadly, the days of thinking of and caring for everyone else except myself. 

Out of Balance Living   

The Shriners Circus is coming to St. Louis soon and I’m considering going. I love the circus. The ringmaster, elephants, the clowns, the guy (or gal) on stilts, the jugglers, the acrobats and the aerial artists. There are so many acts to love!. Out of everything though, I especially love the tightrope walkers. I usually sit and peek up at them between fingers that are partially splayed over my eyes all the while holding my breath-I can hardly watch them for fear that they’ll fall!

At the risk of sounding cliche, life is often like a balancing act on a tightrope. Most of the time you and I are just one step away from falling. We take a shaky step forward toward our job, our commitments, our goals, and our plans all the while trying to balance the other critical parts of our life like managing our home, bettering our relationships, raising our children, taking care of our health, and doing things that bring us joy. 

About ten ago I experienced a major burn out.  Somewhere in the years of having babies, chasing toddlers, teaching school at home, bee-lining to and from sports, and running a business, I realized that the carefree happy-go-lucky woman I once was had turned into a frenzied mess. Society and social media had given me the message that “busy” was good. I juggled (circus pun intended!) multiple plates, ran like a hamster on a wheel, said yes to everything else and no to my needs all the while proudly wearing my “badge of busyness” with honor. 

The things that had once made me feel good about myself and gave me joy like working out in the gym, scrapbooking, writing, hiking, and reading were pushed to the back burner. My life was completely unbalanced. 

What Makes You Wobbly? 

If any part of our life keeps us off-balance we’ll be unable to move forward on life’s tightrope. It’s imperative for us to reestablish balance. 

Here’s the deal… You and I can succeed, win, meet our goals, be a great parent and spouse and still find time to do the things that we love and that bring us joy. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing kind of thing. 

When we become “wobbly” and experience burnout it’s important to assess what needs to be removed from our life. A great way to start this is by asking ourselves “what drains me?” and “what fills me up?” 

A few years ago I had a speaking engagement in front of a roomful of women on the subject of maintaining a balanced life. I used a slide of two stick figures to help me make the point. I had the ladies in the room draw two stick figures on a piece of paper. Next to one of the stick figures, they were to jot down the things that drained them, and next to the other figure they were to jot down the things that filled them up. You should consider doing the same thing. This will help you to easily see the things in your life that make you wobbly and out of balance. 

Here’s a sample I gave them: 

To make it easy on you, I created a handout for you. You can grab your own blank copy here!

Balanced Living 

I read this quote recently. “You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.” It’s true! Doing what you love is important too!  Take a minute to ponder these two things:  

  1. Every time we say yes to one thing we are saying no to something else. 
  2. Doing less of some things will allow us to do more of what we really want in life. *use a tweet this box for one of these points

Get used to saying no

  • Say no to a meeting that doesn’t add value. 
  • Say no to a last-minute request (it’s not your fault if someone else is unorganized!). 
  • Say no to long or late-night hours. 
  • Say no to things you’d rather hire someone to do for you (accounting, house cleaning, etc). 
  • Say no to (insert your own answer here).

*It’s worth mentioning that saying no to things like bitterness, anger, negativity, and resentment will leave room for more of what you really want in life too. 

Find out what fills you up and create non-negotiables around them and stick to them! Schedule in me time, you deserve it!

  • Take a walk
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee
  • Book a lunch or dinner date
  • Schedule a spa day
  • Get a blow-out at the salon
  • Go to the gym
  • Play an instrument
  • Take a nap
  • Read a book

Friend, time flies. Slight shifts in your life can bring you big changes.  If you want big changes then it all starts with balance. Let things go. You can choose a life of less and still have more


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