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How to Overcome Burnout and Get Back on a Routine (Part 1)

I love my role as a stay-at-home mom, but I am just burned out. I wander aimlessly. I know I need my routines again, I know I need structure, but this once big-time routine-oriented mama is now struggling to get up out of bed. Do you have any advice or suggestions for how I can break out of this rut I’m stuck in? -Chrissy

My heart goes out to you, Chrissy! I am so sorry that you are struggling and feeling so exhausted and burned out. I can’t promise that I have any miracle solutions for you, but I will share some things I’ve learned from my own journey through postpartum depression and burnout two years ago.

1. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is vitally important to your overall health and well-being. If you’re short on sleep, it can affect many areas of your life — including your moods and motivation.

Make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep almost every day. If you’re up at night with a baby and it’s impossible to consistently get a good night’s sleep, do the best you can do and let anything go that isn’t a necessity so that you can make sleep a priority. You’ll be much more productive and energetic when you are awake if you give yourself the grace to step away from the to-do list and get some shut-eye instead.

Go to bed early. Studies have shown that those who stay up late and get up late are more likely to struggle with depression. I’ve also found that I feel much more rested (and am more efficient the next day!) if I go to bed early rather than trying to stay up and get stuff done when I’m exhausted, only to wake up feeling all groggy in the morning.

Take power naps. If you can’t get a long stretch of sleep at night because your husband works weird hours and your babies are up multiple times throughout the night, try power naps. I used to think I wasn’t a napper, but I’ve found that if I feel tired in the afternoon, lying down and sleeping for just 20 or 30 minutes can really re-energize me for the rest of the day.

Find your sleep number. No, I’m not referring to the sleep number beds, but to your personal number of hours of sleep that you need to get every night to function at maximum capacity. For most people, it will be somewhere between 7 and 9 hours.

Experiment with getting 7 hours of sleep every night for a week and see if you feel rested and energetic all day long. If not, increase to 7.5 hours of sleep for a week. Continue to experiment until you land on what works best for you and then make that number a priority every night, as much as you possibly can.

2. Get Your Thyroid and Hemoglobin Checked

If you haven’t been to the doctor to get your thyroid and hemoglobin checked and other bloodwork done, I recommend picking up the phone and making an appointment today. Many times, what might feel like an emotional imbalance — or what you might think is just some lack of motivation on your part! — is actually a physical issue that can be easily treated and fixed.

3. Fill Your Mind With Good Things

Read God’s Word. If you are a Christian, make spending time in God’s Word and prayer on a daily basis your number one priority. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mom, it’s how much I need God — every single moment of every single day.

I encourage you to start your day with at least a few moments in God’s Word and prayer. Take five or ten minutes to pray over your day, asking God to give you strength and grace to face the tasks before you. I also highly recommend reading a good devotional book, along with a passage of Scripture. (I’ve loved Amy Carmichael’s devotionals and am being very blessed by Jesus Calling right now.)

Read good books. Books such as Calm My Anxious Heart or Today Matters, can help encourage, inspire, and re-invigorate you when you feel worn out and lifeless. Even reading just one page per day or listening to three minutes of an audiobook each day can give you a little extra boost — and the motivation to keep on, keeping on. You can see a list of all of the Books I Read in 2011 here and the Books I’ve Read So Far in 2012 here.

Listen to music. When I’m down, I’ve found that music can be a huge pick-me-up. Even if I don’t feel like listening to music, if I turn it on, I usually can’t help but be uplifted. And singing along with some of my favorite songs can also be a big mood-brightener.

Count your blessings. It’s easy to become discouraged if we focus on everything that’s wrong or difficult in our life. However, instead of dwelling on the negative, challenge yourself to think of at least three to five things to be thankful for. It’s amazing how a grateful spirit can change your mood — and even your whole outlook on life!

 …to be continued on Monday

What has helped you overcome burn-out or exhaustion? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips!

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  • Courtney says:

    I’m a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom and have had many burn-out moments over the years. What always helps me to recharge is getting out of the house for a day and doing something fun with my family – going to a movie or a restaurant, going to a sporting event, even just browsing at a bookstore. Getting a break from the daily grind always leaves me feeling refreshed and energized. I also agree with all of Crystal’s suggestions!

    • Momof5 says:

      So agree, Courtney – it’s funny, isn’t it, that on days when I can’t seem to get anything done, getting away from it all for a bit makes everything seem more possible. I sometimes feel like I have to be “caught up” before I can plan anything fun, but it’s not true – fun treats or breaks that energize us make the space around them expand somehow. It doesn’t have to be an expensive treat (though those are great burn-out fighters if they don’t bust your budget!) – an unexpectedly sunny hour at a son’s sporting event this week was a treat for me, and made the rest of the busy, busy week seem more manageable.

  • Amber S says:

    Something that has helped me immensely is to have a project going that I enjoy- something creative and constructive. Let’s face it, diapers, dishes, floors and toilets- they don’t stay clean for 5 minutes. Meals are eaten in less time than it takes to cook them, and then there’s cleanup. But making something that’s going to last- a quilt, scrapbook, kids’ clothes- anything you enjoy- is rewarding. It gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment to be making tangible, visible progress on something.

    • Danielle says:

      I so agree Amber! I love scheduling things that are going to last. I may have a messy house that day, but doing something that stays done is always an encouragement!

  • Elisabeth says:

    I could’ve written Chrissy’s question! Can’t seem to find a routine yet with 4-month-old who’s not interested in much sleep (wants to eat every 2-3 hours 24/7) and 3-year-old who doesn’t nap 🙁

    • Heather says:

      I feel for you…we had the same problem with our now 3 year old. Truth is, that is your routine…go with it. If you know that your baby eats every 2-3 hrs, that is the place to start. Our baby was a mirco-preemie and needed to eat that often, didn’t sleep much in between. My girlfriends son doesn’t nap at 3 either, but she allots him “quiet time” where he reads books, no active activities for 15-20 mins (that is about all he can handle) after the lunchtime meal. If he is really “tired” acting, she will do it twice in the afternoon. I know that your 4 mo old will grow out of it, but I only allowed myself to worry about all the household chores, etc in blocks of 15 mins that way I wouldn’t need a huge block of time to complete it all. Wish you all the best.

      • Elisabeth says:

        Thanks, Heather! Yes, my toddler’s “quiet time” of late has been an episode or two of Thomas and Friends. Not the greatest, but he sits still for the whole thing and I can even rest sometimes (if baby cooperates)!

        • Kimber says:

          My three-year-old’s ‘quiet time’ is listening to music in her room. I have a few CDs she loves – like Tangled – that last for an hour. She knows she needs to stay in there quietly – if she comes out of her room, even to go potty, I skip it back a song or two. She enjoyes the music and is content becaus she knows there is a specific end time – and I’m not constantly having to tell her that quiet time isn’t over yet. I put her down when my little man falls asleep for his afternoon nap so I can have time to get stuff done, or just relax. Good luck!!

          • Marcelaine says:

            Wow, you can put your three-year-old alone in a room with CDs and a CD player and she hasn’t dismantled/broken them yet? : )

      • Su says:

        It’s OK to put on a show every once and a while. That’s what I’ve done and, yes, still do today sometimes. When I had my second, third, and fourth babies, I made a bag/bin/box for the older one(s) with books and toys they could do themselves. The catcher–it only came out when I fed(nursed) the baby.
        I put stickers, papers, color-wonder stuff as well as books and surprises($1 store stuff). This gave the older one(s) something special and eased my mommy guilt of nursing every two minutes–or maybe it just seemed like every two minutes :0)
        It does get easier!

    • Bobbie-Jo says:

      We have a morning quiet time and an afternoon quiet time in my house. (I have five, 10 to 2 weeks) Each child gets assigned a location and gets to pick what they will do… books, puzzles, color, play quietly in their bedrooms. It has taken effort to train them to do this – but the effort is so worthwhile! Also I’ve learned to tell the difference between when my baby NEEDS to eat or wants to nurse – if she isn’t doing full feedings in the middle of the night – use a pacifier. I also found that if we both fall asleep during her night feeding…she doesn’t get a good feeding – so I force myself to get up and make sure we are both awake just once in the middle of the night to make sure she is getting a good full feeding. And I’ve read that its better to get a longer feeding on one side then to do two (something about hindmilk…which is more filling?) (Just tips I’ve picked up along the way :)…hang in there…it gets easier 🙂

      • Dana says:

        I totally agree with training your kids to have a quiet time. I am expecting our 2nd baby in 10 weeks and I would n0t have been able to make it these last months without it. We call it rest time here but she is 3 1/2 and does not always have to take a nap but needs the quiet time. I tell everyone to get your kids trained early! We enjoy our day so much more with that being a consistent thing we do everyday.

  • Lisa-panaMOM says:

    My number 1 tip to overcome burnout: Be okay with not being everything!

    Figure out what’s truly a need and what’s truly important.

    Allow yourself to say “no” to those things that aren’t necessary.

    • Quintana says:

      amen to that!

    • Sarah says:

      It’s like that quote “You can do anything.. but you can’t do everything.”

    • Larissa says:

      It’s even biblical!!! … ‘Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial’ – 1 Corinthians 10:23.
      I have come to remind myself of this verse … and it’s message … time and time again when things just feel too overwhelming and like I’m just treading water just to stay afloat!!

      • Michelle says:

        Good point. When I had 3 boys under 5 yrs I realized that 80 to 90% of my time seemed to be taken up in just feeding and clothing people. Feeding = menu planning, shopping, coupons, cooking, cleaning up dishes, etc. and Clothing = buying, sorting, washing, folding, mending, dressing, etc. I thought to myself, “No wonder the Bible says with food and clothing there with be content, there no time for anything else.” haha

        • Sarah M. says:

          Oh, I love that! I have three boys 5 and under, and an itty bitty girl. I can relate! It seems that every time the phone rings I am changing a diaper. But I am learning greater contentment as I die to self (or…try to, pray for grace to) a little more every day.

          • Michelle says:

            After my three boys I got an itty bitty girl too. My friends think she looks like a pixie cause she is so petite. A girl has definitly change the atmosphere around here. =) There are pink things in the house now. I can assure you that as they grow and start doing for themselves it gets a little easier. When your not cutting meat and tying shoes for all of them at once there is a little more time for other things. Right now feeding and clothing is your calling (and hugging too of course) so we all give you full permission to let the other stuff go! =) Not easy I know but when the “uhg, the bathrooms a mess, ect.” thoughts started coming I just thought, “Well, everyone ate and everyone is clothed so I’m content” =)

        • Rachel says:

          I love that! I should frame that verse with a new perspective!

          Maybe add this at the bottom . . . “Mama doesn’t have time for anything else!”

  • Melissia @ Bravely Frugal says:

    Amen to everything you said Crystal! Especially starting the day with God’s Word – even if you don’t feel like picking up your Bible! That happened to me just this morning and I felt so much more encouraged and ready to face the busy day. The other main thing is the power nap. Just 30 minutes can give you the push you need to keep going for the rest of the day. Thank-you for your encouragement!

  • Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations says:

    Great first article, can’t wait to read the rest. I once lived life in what felt like a dark tunnel when I had a toddler and a baby, it took all the energy I had to get every one dressed and fed. I thought it was lack of sleep, or perhaps grief (my mom was very ill at the time), then discovered I had low thyroid and was anemic. Once I was able to get both of those things under control it was amazing what I was able to start getting done in a day. So YES I totally agree with going to the Dr.’s to have those 2 things checked.

  • Quintana says:

    great post! and great timing as we near the end of the school year. This is always my crazy, busy time and this week I hit BURN OUT. Today was the first day I stepped foot in side the gym all week after being so faithful. But me skipping one thing in my schedule and telling myself it was okay, I’m now refreshed and ready to face next week. I think we all need a reminder that it’s okay once in a while to say no and step away from a few things once in a while. Even though we think we can, we can’t do it all.

    • Rachael says:

      I just finished the school year (I’m a professor) and was feeling the same way this week–just so tired from the year! But, I’m slowing getting things back in order and it is getting better. Hang in there!

  • Heather says:

    I like this post…the other thing that I have surrounded myself with special friends who uplift me when I am down. We may not talk much at all during our day that we are busy with kids, housework, meals, etc, but we often will send a quick Hello or drop of funny line to each other to let us know that we are not alone. (Kinda like quick adult conversation) Last week I sent off: Going on a date with my three toilets, call if I you don’t hear from me in 30 minutes! While I received from a dear friend: Bad day, thank goodness for nap time! My advice: don’t keep it in…if you are feeling burned out, shout it out to another friend/mother who help you!

  • As a mom of 4 boys, something that really helps me when I’m having one of those days where I am completely burnt-out, and feel like I just can’t do it anymore, is to reflect on how fortunate I am, and to consider the alternative…

    When I’m stressed out because my house is a mess from 4 active, creative little men running around, I consider the alternative – a clean, quiet, kid-free home. (That doesn’t sound very fun, does it ?)

    When I’m exhausted because the baby didn’t sleep well, and wanted to constantly nurse throughout the night, I consider the alternative – a night full of sleep, alone in my bed, with no smiling 14 month old to wake me up in the morning. (No, thank you !)

    When I feel like someone is hungry every ten minutes, and all I do is cook and/or prepare food all day long, I consider the alternative – no children with healthy appetites to feed, or not having enough food for my hungry children. (I can’t even imagine !)

    No matter how rough my day seems, or how burnt out I feel, after reflecting on the “issue” and the alternative, I am always happy to deal with the “issue”…because the alternative is never appealing to me.

    • Jenny says:

      Wow, thank you for this. I will remember these thoughts often…thanks for sharing!

    • Amy says:

      Yes, I do this too! I often think about countries where the woman are oppressed or women who are in slavery, and I quickly have absolutely nothing to be upset about. This doesn’t mean that some days aren’t hard and long. It just means that I have so much to be thankful for!

    • Dana says:

      That is so wise of you to share! All to often it is so easy to focus on the small issues instead of the large blessings we have. Thanks for sharing!

  • Maureen says:

    How timely for me! I’m feeling this right now. Although I work from home and find it a struggle to focus on my work and not walk away from my computer to do tasks around the house. And then when I’m done with my actually working hours, I do not want to do anything. I do keep a list of things to do after work, but I’m too tired to do them. I’m going to enjoy the rest of these articles for sure.

  • Maria says:

    If you have been under a lot of stress, you may want to consider having your adrenal glands checked. Adrenal fatigue can be debilitating.
    I`m sure Crystal will cover a good diet and good multi vitamin in the future.

    • Heather @ Nourishing the Heart says:

      I second the suggestion to have your adrenal glands checked. They can be worn out by everyday stress day after day or just by some big stressful things happening one after the other. There’s a lot shorter road to recovery if you catch it earlier than later too!

      • Kathy D says:

        What kind of things can you do to heal adrenal gland fatigue? TIA!

        • Anna says:

          Your adrenals control your hormones, so you need a hormone balancer and also some extra calcium and magnesium to help absorb nutrients into your body. I just got my adrenals back up to par again!

    • Christina @ The Frugal Homemaker says:

      any way to naturally treat thyroid problems or adrenal issues? Not wanting to go to the doctor for this even though I think I might be struggling with it because I don’t want to be taking tons of prescriptions and medicine. Not a fan of modern medicine at all.

      • Maria says:

        I`m not sure that I have any answers for you. I am still researching that info for myself. I do know that Dr James Wilson has a lot of info, just google his name.
        As far as thyroid problems, you do need a blood test to diagnoses if you actually have thyroid problems or not. I have hypothyroid (low) and have not been able to treat it naturally. Believe me I spent years trying. I now take a Rx for it. Treating a illness is something each person needs to work out on there own.
        Praying that you will find the answers that you are looking for.

  • Andrea says:

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the list.

    Behind sleep, my #2 suggestion would be to examine your diet. I feel so much better when I don’t eat gluten, especially pasta!

    • jenna says:

      I agree with all of these! I would also add: take a pregnancy test. I could NOT figure out why I was so lethargic this time last year.. I literally couldn’t get out of bed and everything hurt. Turns out I was pregnant with our baby #4!

  • jennifer says:

    Lots of water to help flush out the toxins seems to work wonders!

  • Cher Kilgore says:

    Wow.. thank you from the bottom of my heart! I’ve been having the burnout issue.. I have Scoliosis in my neck and migraines… 3 kids.. two of which have ADHD and a husband with ADD… I get so lost trying to clean up after them all in between feeling bad, and managing a huge garden that feeds us every year. I’ve been having that burn out.. I can’t catch up.. am I really doing anything? Kinda feeling. You helped me remember to count my blessing as I have so many! Thank you for the pick me up 🙂 Looking forward to more and have shared with friends.

    • Tricia says:

      My husband has ADHD and wow, it’s like having another child sometimes. He tries so hard and is so amazing, but it’s one more person I have to (constantly) remind to do things. This is in addition to my 3 year old and my 10 month old. Oh, and working outside the home as a therapist full time 🙂

      • Meg says:

        My DH has ADHD, ds 6 is Aspie/ADD, a sweet toddler girl, surprise pregnancy with number 3 and migraines from hell for the last two years, I feel ya gals! I needed this post desperately tonight. Monday can’t get here quick enough for the rest of the post! Thank you Crystal! 🙂

        • Cher Kilgore says:

          Wow! It’s nice to know I’m not alone! I feel like I’m in the middle of a tornado all the time with it.. My DH tries really hard too.. but he gets lost an or easily caught up in stuff.. like the computer.. or he starts a project and gets side tracked very easily… we get funny looks from people when they come over cause there’s always 4 or more “projects” underway.. makes t hard to keep everything picked up and or cleaned up LOL.. I get to feeling lost and just give up after a while.. My DD is 11 with ADHD/OCD/anxiety, then my bitty is 7 and my DS is 5 with ADHD.. it’s a never ending crazy day. 🙂

  • Dona says:

    I was struggling this past year with exhaustion and discovered by having some simple bloodwork done that I was struggling with deficiencies in important vitamins. I am now on extra iron, vitamin d, b12, multivitamins even. I am not overweight, I eat healthy salads constantly… I even exercise regularly so I was surprised at the blood results. The vitamins have made a huge difference in my energy levels! Get your bloodwork done!

    • Cher Kilgore says:

      I agree Dona! I have an Iron and Vitamin D deficiency that was causing me to feel like I couldn’t move! Sometimes it’s things we can’t see that make us feel that way. Glad they found that for you!

    • Michelle O. says:

      I, too, struggled for about a year and a half with feeling so tired that every day was an effort. We have four kids and my mind wanted to be active and do things but my body just wouldn’t co-operate. I finally got a chance to get a simple blood test done and found out that I was deficient in Vitamin D and iron. I was really surprised because I eat a very healthy diet and I did force myself to exercise at the time (as much as I could handle). I’ve been taking Vitamin D and iron supplements for the past month and the difference is amazing. My heart goes out to anyone feeling this way – been there 🙂

  • Lea Stormhammer says:

    Can I second going to the doctor? Ask for a full medical workup. I spend more than 2 years struggling and feeling like something was terribly wrong. FINALLY got diagnosed with a chronic infection that required surgery to correct. Will always fight it becuase it went on so long that they could not clear all of it out – but I can keep it at bay by getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, eating right and getting regular exercise. I now know a lot better where I can and can’t push myself anymore and my body, mood, health and life are better for it.

    Also, if you have little ones or ones at home – I’d say under the age of 4, but especially as infants and toddlers – please, please, please do not think you can do everything you did before you had children! Your schedule will never be the same again – for the better! We as moms tend to beat ourselves up because we can’t “Do it all”. The reality is, we can’t. Take a good hard look at your schedule (highly recommend Tell Your Time!) and see what you can let go for this season. Remember, it’s only for a season. Talk to your spouse and family (if your children are old enough to be included) and do what works for you and your family, rather than what you “should do”. It will be a load off your back, so to speak.

    HUGS from someone who’s been there too,

  • Mackenzie says:

    I too have been feeling burnt out. I have started exercising more which helps my mood. Also lots and lots of deep breaths when things are stressful! 🙂

  • Cassi says:

    I would say don’t over look that you are YOU. When we spend our time as mom, wife, teacher, soccer coach, debate coach, chef, board member, house keeper, etc. It is easy to forget that the woman you were before you were all these new titles is still in there! Do something that is for you-paint, draw, take a dance class, join a book club, attend a women’s group through church-anything that feeds your individual soul. I have been a wife for 8 years, a mom for 7, a teacher 7…the list goes on…it is easy to get lost in the mix. I have had two very wonderful friends tell me that I am a wonderful mom and that they are amazed at all I have overcome through the years. One of these wonderful friends shared with me that she was proud of me because she sees me being ME and she wishes she had that. It really made me step back, look at my life, and think-why do I have such a strong sense of self? I realized that a lot of it came from compromise (with my husband for working out ME time and US time) but a lot of it also came from determination. Most of my life I had someone taking all that they could from me-taking advantage of my time and trust. As I grew older I realized how important it was to give but also to make time that was just about me.

  • J says:

    Finally, giving it all to God. Almost dying. Did it for me.

  • Alicia says:

    I have been struggling with burnout as well. Between my three year old, my seven month old who has not been a good sleeper thus far, and having to stick to a very tight budget in order for me to stay home, it’s been very stressful. The best things I do to help are start the day off reading the Bible, exercise, and count my blessings. I had to realize I am not perfect, nor will I ever be! And know that you are not alone!

  • Wani says:

    This is a series I need to read! I’m looking forward to hearing what else you have to share on this subject! Thanks!

  • Terry says:

    I found the book 14,000 Things to be Happy About a great mood lifter. It’s full of simple pleasures.

  • tracie says:

    another timely post. I’ve been feeling burned out for the past week. Guess we should find out we our dr is at our new place so I can get in and have some bloodwork done. Pretty sure my thyroid is off. Going to try to get more sleep this next week and see if that helps before I go in.

  • april says:

    I hit burnout about 2 months after i started staying home full time with the youngest…what i learned to do was kind of treat it like a 9-5 job…I know, you cant turn off mommy, but stuff like decluttering, and anything that could wait(not dishes, sweeping, etc) doesnt have to be done every day. I worked on that stuff during the weekday and didnt try to clean out a closet or cabinet at night or on the weekends. in fact, the older 2 pick up some of the slack on the weekends so its even more relaxing. Monday morning, it’s game on, back on the clock

    • Heather says:

      Same here. In the evenings I rarely do any “work”, unless it’s to pay bills or something unusual like painting that has to be done after little hands are in bed. It makes a big difference.

  • Jeannine says:

    The Lord has helped me to stay organized by having a schedule at least for meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be eaten at the same time every day if at all possible.

    • Jennifer says:

      I love this idea. I need desperately to put it into practice. And I know bedtimes for both children *and* their parents need to be fairly consistent as well.

  • Cassie says:

    Running. Its helps me destress. It also puts me in a better mood . I have a treadmill but I also like to run outside. I notice a huge difference [as does my family} in my attitude when I have not ran in a while.

    • tammy says:

      If you don’t think you can, or have no interest in running, just WALK. I read a study this week that said a minimum of 20 minutes a WEEK of walking is said to improve mood! Even if you have little ones that won’t sit in a stroller, you can all walk together for 20 minutes!

      • Cassie says:

        Great point! Yesterday I had fullintentions of running..the kids had other plans so we grabbed my neighbor and her little one and took everyone for a walk 🙂

      • carrie says:

        Yes, absolutely. No matter how tired I feel (currently pregnant with our 7th), I take a daily walk. Movement is SO important to physical and mental well being. My walk is far more important than any household chore.

  • faith baker says:

    I am SO excited about this series! We have a 7 mo old and a just-turned 2 year old! I am a stay at home mom now that our son is here and it doesnt help that my significant other travels for work a week at a time! So this series is just at the right time for me!

  • Jessica says:

    Been there! After my DS was born, I was hospitalized with PPD. After I returned home, I was pumping milk for him 10x daily. I had major burnout, between the physical recovery of a difficult birth (he had shoulder dystocia and broke his right clavicle), the PPD, the pumping, taking care of my almost 4yo, then our HVAC went out, my grandpa died, our washing machine broke and our sewer backed up. I was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s). I broke a toe also. No joking, all this happened in a 6 month period of time.

    Slowly, things got better. His injuries healed and he was able to nurse, which was so much easier on me than pumping. I sent my 4yo back to preschool. We bit the bullet and paid cash for new HVAC and a new washer. I found a great doctor to get my thyroid under control. My foot healed. I prayed more than I ever had in my life.

    The other thing that helped me was this: I shut the door. Really. I would go into a room and just shut the door for 10 minutes so nobody could bug me. When I was pumping, that was during my pumping time. But even after, I would just go into a room and shut the door and have 10 minutes of peace. My husband would play with the kids or read to them and I had 10 minutes of me time.

    • Yunnie says:


      I was tentatively diagnosed with Hashimoto’s last week but am waiting for more blood work and a thyroid ultrasound before it being confirmed. I’m so bummed…. I’m only 27, married, with no kids and yet I have been feeling exhausted and therefore useless and no fun!!!!!!!!! The dr. hasnt given me any medication yet and I’m so nervous. Can you or anyone dealing with a thyroid problem email me please? yunnie4ever @ yahoo

  • Rox says:

    Take time out every morning to read your bible. What a blessing that will be! Ttake time to nap when your child is napping it really gives you energy and helps you to be a better mom and wife. Also please ask for help from someone at your church/friend etc. I am a mom over 40 who was blessed with 1 child (now adult) and I love kids. I have asked mothers at the church if they need any help to please call me I would be more than happy to help. No one ever takes me up on the offer Lord willing maybe they will in the near future. Blessings

    • Crystal says:

      I love your heart, Rox! Perhaps you could offer specific help?

      For instance, if someone puts out a blanket offer to me (“call me if you need help any time”), I’m likely not going to take them up on the offer just because I don’t want to be a bother if they weren’t completely serious. However, if someone were to offer something specific (“Could I come over and watch your children for two hours sometime this week so you could go grocery shopping?” “Could I bring you a meal on Tuesday or Thursday?”), I’d be more likely to take them up on the offer because it was specific and I knew that they truly wanted to help and had given me a specific idea of what they’d like to do to help.

      • Jessica @ The Abundant Wife says:

        I agree! I get a lot of the same kind of blanket offers when I first meet people, and then I never hear from them again, and feel awkward bringing it up. Sometime I can’t even remember their name (like people from church I’ve been introduced to). Please keep asking, offer your information and schedule, and be specific! 🙂

      • Sarah F. says:

        Rox, I agree with Crystal – I’m pretty burned out right now (6, 4, 2 yr olds stuck in a 2nd floor apartment, a surprise 4th pregnancy – which always fatigues me like crazy – recent move far away from all family). If someone were to say to call if I needed anything, well, I don’t want to be a pain and don’t really know what they consider an appropriate request. But offer a meal, and I’ll take that in a heartbeat! Or a night or afternoon of babysitting…

        I have to say I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

    • tracy says:

      For me its hard to leave my son, my sis in law would offer to watch him while I ran errands, and a few times I did let her but I’d be in a rush because I couldn’t stand being away from him, I’d rather just deal w him in the grocery store.

      • Andrea says:

        Would SIL run an errand for you instead of watching you son? That could be just as helpful!

      • Jodi says:

        Or how about SIL goes with you on your errand and watches your LO in the store? I wish someone would just go with me and watch my LO so I can try some clothes on at a more relaxed pace. And for me, this would have to be someone other than my husband! 🙂

    • Rachael says:

      I’m a working mom who has recently moved to a new city far away from my family. I know one thing I could really use is help when my kids are sick–especially when they’re only little bit sick but can’t go to daycare. I know it would be a huge blessing to our family to have someone like you around!!

  • Rhonda says:

    Looks like we need to form a Support group for Burned out Moms! It happens……remember that you are no good to anyone else if you are not taking care of yourself. Balance is important. Just an hour ago I was in tears because I felt so burned out………Great timing for this:) It helps to know we are not alone in this!

  • Heather says:

    When i feel like i’m just walking in circles and can’t force myself to do another load of laundry or wash another dish, i pack a weekend bag for the kiddos and i then head to a family members house. The kids love visiting and they seem to need a break as much as i do! And some how grandparents never seem to mind being used as a B & B with built in babysitter. And it’s a lot cheeper than a B & B. Then i love raiding others book shelves! Or bring a stack of mine i have not gotten to. And returning home my hubby seems refreshed having a quiet house all to himself!
    [Just don’t forget to be somone elses B & B with built-in babysitter!]

  • Tabatha says:

    One thing I’ve found that helps me is know when my energy spurts hit. I’m so much better right after breakfast and again about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. In between, it’s kind of spotty. I know that when I get up if I do everything right after breakfast that its more likely to get done. And also, LOTS and LOTS of water! Being dehydrated can make your mind foggy and to give you that lag feeling. Getting some good ole fashioned sunshine can do wonders too! 🙂 Love this post!!!

  • Kim says:

    I agree with everything Crystal said, especially sleep!!! I usually get 8 hours but when I don’t I always notice how bad of a mood I am instantly.

    I like to also find an interest. I have 3 kids and when I can get 5 minutes throughout the day to myself I will learn more about an interest. Right now my interest has been eating a whole foods diet and learning all about eating healthy.

    Because of this interest of eating healthy whole foods, I have noticed a huge difference in my energy and I sleep better and all around happier. I thought I was eating healthy before but I had no idea. I was inspired by the blog, 100 days of Whole Foods.

    I also agree with getting together with friends. I love to do playdates because the kids play and entertain themselves and I can be inspired and uplifted by mothers who go through the same struggles with parenting.

    Also simetimes I will write out a schedule for the next day for a week of fun activities/ different activities we havn’t done yet by searching on the Internet for ideas. That always seems to help me look forward to the next day.

  • diane says:

    Looking forward to this series. I am a mom with two kids. One three month old and a 14 year old and i just turned the BIG 40…i am tired and cranky and not sure if i am doing anything right lately.

  • Jennifer says:

    I agree with everything, especially seeing a Dr. I had a lot of trouble after my son was born. And when he was 2 we moved to another city and I changed doctors. I found one who listens when I talk and takes me seriously, and she found that I have type 2 diabetes. I don’t feel wonderful all the time (especially now that I am preg with baby #2), but knowing what is wrong and why I was feeling so run down helped so much.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    I’m not a mom, but I will echo the medical checkup parts of this. Two years ago, I felt burnt out, I was weak all the time, sleepy, etc. Turns out I was severely anemic (as in, VERY low hemoglobin and ferretin levels)- all the while I just thought I was stressed from work. I got on high powered iron supplements and recovered a few months later. I knew something didn’t feel right the whole time, but was justifying it to myself as what is “normal stress”- better to be safe than sorry though!

  • Penny T. says:

    My mother-in-law once told me that your kids will never remember how clean the house was or how perfect their clothes and meals were. They’ll remember the experiences you shared with them when they were young. Sharing quality time is the most important thing… all the other stuff doesn’t have to be perfect. Also, take some time for yourself each day. I wish I had done this when my kids were young because I did not… not until they were all in grade school (4 of them) and by then I was totally out of shape. I would have been happier, healthier and more productive if I’d taken 30 minutes each day for myself and done some kind of exercising.

    • Emily says:

      You’re mother-in-law is wrong. My mom kept the house spotless and I surely remember that. She had dinner on the table every night and had a routine for cleaning house/laundry/ironing, etc. Every day the house was vacuumed. Memories that aren’t repeated-a random birthday party or a trip a museum- you won’t remember the details. You’ll remember going, but the feelings/smells/the whole bit of recall, won’t happen. It’s the daily things that will leave the constant imprint.

      • Andrea says:

        I think it depends on the person. I don’t remember if our house was clean or not, but I do remember special occasions (because there were not many). I do, however, remember that my mother made dinner almost every night.

  • Bobbie-Jo says:

    I agree with everything Crystal wrote and as a testimony would say that I had been getting up later then my kids for awhile and had been feeling totally overwhelmed and behind. But one night I committed to getting up early regardless of the amount of sleep I got (nursing a 2 week old) and asked God to give me the ability to do so. I was able to get up the next morning and spend some quiet alone time with God reading the Word and praying and my day after was super productive! I felt great and accomplished….albeit exhausted by the time bedtime came around 🙂 I haven’t been consistent with getting up (but working on it) but I do notice a HUGE difference in my mood when I do get myself up. I don’t set my alarm – I just tell myself that if the baby gets up for a feeding after 5am – I will get out of bed for the day with this feeding…. I think the combination of getting going before the kids get up – AND spending the quiet time with God REALLY sets me on a great momentum for the day 🙂 Thanks Crystal so much for the post recently on getting up earlier – it was the little kick I needed 🙂

    • Bobbie-Jo says:

      oh and TRAIN your children ASAP to have quiet time….put in the effort and it will pay off!!! We have two quiet times in our home (am and afternnon) (5 kids ages 2wk-10) – so if I do need to get in that 20′ power nap I can.

  • coupon woman says:

    I don’t have time to read through all the comments, so maybe it’s been mentioned above, but the thing that always revives me is to get away. Either by yourself or with a friend or spouse. A few days if possible, but even a few hours provides a nice break. Just getting dressed up, a meal out, a movie, or a getaway for a few days helps me relax and appreciate my kids and my “job” as a stay-at-home mom better. We actually have money automatically transferred into a special savings account that is only to be used for fun vacations for my husband and I. Then we have no excuses since the money is already set aside! Even just a small amount each month or paycheck adds up quickly and can easily pay for a few meals, hotel nights, babysitters, or plane tickets.

  • SarahJean says:

    I have to say thank you! Just to read Chrissy’s question was a relief that I’m not alone!

  • Marie Riley says:

    I’d also say quit reading mom blogs and money saving blogs for awhile. You don’t need the extra pressure of all the deals out there or the perfect crafts you could do with your kids right now.

    If you can afford it, add a little extra $$ to your grocery budget so you can buy more at just one store than making multiple grocery trips. We increased our budget by 1/3 and although I feel a little guilty, it has been WONDERFUL just to be able to buy what I need at one place. I’ve been shopping at Aldi more.

    • Jessica @ The Abundant Wife says:

      I totally agree! Sometimes I just need to turn off the distractions of trying to measure up to every other great mom out there who blogs or posts something on Facebook or Pinterest. Getting away from the Internet is a big help in increasing my self-esteem and feelings of achievement. Sometimes I intentionally delete my Bookmarks to certain pages or Unsubscribe to a website so that I won’t feel so overwhelmed. Comparison is the thief of joy, you know…

    • Andrea says:

      Totally agree! I spent an hour unsubscribing from promo emails a couple of weeks ago. An almost-empty inbox makes me happy!

  • Susan says:

    I have to say that the whole power nap thing does NOT work for me. I find I wake up even more grumpy than when I laid down. So what I have started doing over the last few years is take 5-10 minutes of lazy time in the afternoon when I find myself with the least amount of energy. I let myself have something indulgent(usually a cup of my favorite coffee or a tall glass of sweet tea) and sit in silence some where for just a few minutes. No one is allowed to ask me for anything unless they are bleeding or puking and I don’t let myself work on anything. I also take one day every week where I don’t cook, clean or pick up. We usually eat leftovers and I wait until the next morning to clean or pick up. Another huge tip I found was to not wait until the end of the day to start dinner. It seems like all three kids need something right as I am ready to start cooking and it is right when my husband gets home and wants to talk, so I usually start at least some of the prep work right after breakfast when things are the slowest. I also usually cut more vegetables or make morensauce than what we will use so I can throw it in the freezers for those days when you have a hard time even finding five minutes. I almost always have onions, carrots, peppers, green beans, etc. cut up in the freezer so I can add them to whatever dish I’m making or throw them in a skillet to make a quick stir fry.

    • Jessica @ The Abundant Wife says:

      Power napping does not work for me either, but I love to, and need to nap! My problem is that I could sleep for a solid 1-2 hours every afternoon. As Crystal said, it’s good to know your sleep numbers. Ever since childhood, I’ve always needed more sleep than anyone else I know. I’ve gotten used to this fact, and try to make sure I get in my long naps when I feel myself getting burnt-out. Knowing myself and my needs has helped as I’ve adjusted to being a mother of a 16 month old and a two year old. 🙂

  • Elle says:

    What a blessing this article was! The question posed could have been written by me. I am a stay at home mom to three boys- 3 years, 2 years, and 9 months…and I LOVE being with them more than anything. That being said, I truly feel like I have no life some days. I feel like my self worth has gradually decreased steadily over the past few years as I lose myself more and more. My 3 year old had serious medical issues until he was 2, so I feel like I never got that “gradual” adjustment into mommy-hood- my life was immediately consumed with NICU living, then his medical issues that required around the clock care, until most of them resolved around age 2 (at which point I already had number 2 as well and we moved 3 times). I feel sooooo lethargic and unmotivated as of late and it frustrates me to no end. On top of that, I am having some serious pain in my feet but have no idea how on earth I am supposed to get it checked out. The thought of taking all 3 of them to the hospital 30 minutes away and to my appointment makes me want to cringe. =) And, not too many people are willing to babysit a 3 yr. old, 2 year old, and 9 month old during the day (sometimes I can get couples that will do it in the evenings but many people are intimidated by that, especially if they don’t have children or aren’t familiar with their routine). I am sooooo excited for this series. I just hope I can put it into practice- I feel like I know what I need to do, I just don’t get it done (get to bed early, etc.) When we finally have all three kids down for bed, it is “my” time and I am reluctant to get to bed much before midnight, it’s sooo nice just to have quiet time to myself. Plus, I have difficulty sleeping ever since all of my child’s health issues were going on. But in the morning, I am sincerely dragging…..ugh. 🙂

    • Andrea says:

      Can you find someone to watch the two older children and take just the baby to the appointment with you?

      • Elle says:

        That’s true, I should try to do that….I just need to get it done. =) This is when I really wish we had family nearby! 🙂

        • Andrea says:

          It is hard being far from family, but you need your to take care of your health so you can take care of your little ones. Good luck!!

    • Emily says:

      Do you live in central WI?! 😉 I’d so babysit your kids! I love children and am always up for a challenge! 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Flylady helped me get out of my funk. Just “do the next thing”, and keeping a shiny sink really helped. Even if a shiny sink is all I accomplish, I consider it a success because I can start the next day off fresh with a clean sink. Just a little thing, but makes a big difference.

  • Amy @ Pounds4Pennies says:

    Beside having a medical issue, I like to do things that brighten my day when I am down or overwhelmed a little. Like sometimes I take out a wine glass and drink my ice water in it. It is different and I feel better better drinking it from a wine glass than a plastic cup.

    I also cook a really nice dinner to change things up a bit. We all enjoy a good dinner and it is a little different.

  • Meg says:

    I discovered I was low on vitamin D, which is super common and can be a huge source of fatigue and feeling blue.

    I’m also working on cutting down on coffee. I tend to chug a bunch and then crash big time. Not good.

    It’s also o.k. to decide you need a change! I left my last teaching job in no small part because I had a serious case of burnout. There is nothing wrong with SAHMs thinking and feeling the same thing. If you need to take a job outside the home for a while, don’t feel bad about it! Your kiddos will benefit from whatever makes you a happier and more present mother.

    Lots of great advice through out this thread! Thanks, Crystal, for another helpful post.

  • Brandi @ Savvy Student Shopper says:

    Definitely sleep! As a college student, it’s my favorite 😉

    And I’m always more productive when I’m busy. Once I let myself get lazy and lay around, I can never get anything done! So staying active and busy is helpful! (As long as you’re getting enough sleep, of course)

  • Michelle says:

    Beginning my day with prayer time with the Lord and His word is essential for me. It centers my heart, helps me to recognize challenges that the day could bring and allows me the opportunity to surrender my day to His agenda. I also have found that taking care of my body (drinking plenty of water and good rest and exercise) are key to my overall well being. Thanks Crystal for bringing an issue most all of us have faced to the forefront so we can be an encouragement to others!

  • Debbie says:

    I didn’t see anyone mention exercise! It increases your dopamine, a good way to battle depression. As a mom it is really hard to get in 20 minutes sometimes and often I don’t feel like it. When I struggled with depression, my husband would suggest I exercise and I wanted to punch him in the face. But he was right… it does really help and gets me moving. The best hing he ever did for me is let me run, ALONE with no kids demanding things from me. Made me WANT to run out there in nature…ALONE!

  • Sarah M. says:

    Can I suggest one more thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet? Keep your computer off! You just don’t realize how much time you spend staring at a screen sometimes, and it is rarely beneficial to your sense of well-being. Even the few minutes here and the few minutes there can add up to an hour or two a day. Use the time you usually sit at the computer to tidy up, play a game with the kids, call a friend, read the Bible and pray, etc. If there is something online that you really enjoy, that is your relaxation time (like Facebook, reading blogs, or news), set a time limit for yourself of 15 minutes. That’s usually enough time to recharge your batteries a bit. I am always amazed at how much more I accomplish, how much more fun I have with my kids, how much better I feel about life in general when I stay away from the computer during the day.

    • Brooke says:

      I agree 100%! My computer broke about a month ago, so the only screen time I have is from my phone….and you know what? I don’t miss it! I used to say that I got on it because I was bored, but there is sooo much else I can do instead! And I know my husband is happy to know that I’m not sitting at home on the computer. It really is a time drain!

  • Deanna says:

    Meg – Great perspective on burnout in the workplace also applying to sahm’s working at home. And children benefiting from what makes a parent happier and more present.

    Jen – FlyLady has also helped me tremendously. I’m still working on healing from my thyroid problems…but having a more decluttered home with less visual clutter (even on the walls) has helped A LOT with energy levels.

    Crystal – We love you.

  • Brooke says:

    Thank you! I’m so excited to read the rest of the series! I just left my job almost 5 months ago and I’m starting to feel the restlessness! I immediately jumped into trying to have the house perfect all of the time since it was my “job” now and after a long day of the kids misbehaving and the house being trashed I broke down in tears and my husband told me “the house isn’t your most important job, raising the kids are.” That small statement lifted me up so much!

  • Katie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!

  • Holly says:

    Just don’t worry about it. Routines aren’t everything. When we had 2 foster kids move in and I also found out I was pregnant, I just focused on the next 15 min. If I thought farther than that I fell apart. Also, call in reinforcements…I told my sister I was overwhelmed and she organized my aunts to bring me dinner for the next week. We can’t be super mom all the time! Eventually I’m getting my groove back but don’t SWEAT it!! It’s ok not to be organized all the time, that’s not what makes your life important.

  • Audrey @ Mom Drop Box says:

    I find I get burnt out when I’m either doing too much or not getting time to recharge my batteries. As a parent with young kids, the to-do list is never-ending, and sometimes I really just need a break or need to make things simpler.

  • jerilyn says:

    I found that a vitamin D supplement really helped.

    Also, coffee 🙂

  • andrea says:

    oh, Crystal, you don’t know how this is an answer to prayer – cos i think i was burned out and DEFINITELY need to get back into a routine…. 😀

  • Elizabeth says:

    Another thing that helps is exercise. Even a 20 minute walk will help a lot! If you can do it alone, that is great. If not, walk with kids, they like it too! At least mine do!

  • Emily says:

    I agree with Elizabeth. Sometimes you just need a good walk with the kids to help your spirits. Also, maybe set your expectations for yourself low–make a list of things to do that day but keep it small. The little successes really do help.

    Lastly, as someone who struggled with postpartum depression after weaning (not after birth), I just want to encourage anyone who is feeling this way to explore if there could be a hormone related reason. Weaning can be kind of a blues-generating experience anyway, but some of us actually do start into real clinical depression due to the hormone changes. This can definitely make getting going in the mornings and coming out a ‘rut’ a lot harder. Definitely reading your Bible and getting some time with friends will help depression, but in some cases that is not enough and you may need a little help through the storm (via low dose antidepressants). I did, and there is no shame in it.

  • Jodi says:

    Thank you for this timely post. I am a SAHM who thought I would love being to stay home with the kids but am realizing it’s a tough job. I tackled it full force at first but am now struggling just loading the dishwasher. I know what I should be doing but it helps to hear someone reiterate those important things.

    Though I do need advice. We are a pastor’s family who just moved to a new district nine months ago, had our first child five months ago, live in the boonies at least two hours from our closest relatives (and quite a distance from the nearest decent grocery store!), and our churches are mostly older congregations. What to do with burnout AND isolation?

    • Sarah says:

      Jodi, I wanted to reply to your post because I’completely understand your situation. I’m also a minister’s wife with a young child in a rural community in an older congregation. We moved here 2 years ago and the first year was really rough for me because I felt so alone. I’ve learned to make the most of any chances for social interaction. I try to get out at least 5 days a week, to the park or the store or library. I try to talk and sorta make friends with everyone. I’ve also learned to make friends with people outside of my generation. In fact my son and I join the senior adults for their monthly luncheon, and I have learned to look forward to it. I even got a chance to teach a computer class to senior adults because of the relationships I made. Also I’m learning to not worry about a woman’s age when I think about forming a friendship with her. My best friend in our community is 11 years older than me, but the age difference doesn’t matter as much as I once thought it would. I hope you are able to find friends and feel less isolated very soon.

    • The American Homemaker says:

      I used to feel the same way about the generational gap and now one of my favorite people in the world is an 83 year old spunky great-grandmother… even at 50 year older than me we are great friends.

      There are a lot of older sisters in our church congregation too, but I’ve learned to really enjoy their company in a way I never thought I would 🙂

  • Melanie Durham says:

    I’m so sorry you are burned out. I saw a comment about getting your thyroid checked. Please get your Calcium level checked as well. If it is high, then need to get your PTH level checked. If this is the case PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go to this website, and read all about the symptoms and treatments. I work with these wonderful surgeons everyday. Please don’t let your doctors tell you to wait and see. And Please don’t let them put you on Vitamin D. THat is, if this is your issue. Good luck. And please let us know how we can help you. Call me or text me or email me. 813-210-4148 or [email protected]

  • Jennifer Croft says:

    As a nurse, we tend to get burned also. This was very uplifting! I recommend getting your Vitamins D and B-12 checked too. If both are low, they can cause fatigue. A low B-12 level can also cause symptoms of depression. I’ve been deficient in both and take daily supplements. I feel so much better now. Thanks for the article!

  • Lydia at Five4Five says:

    I find I feel better and want to do more when I get up, get showed and put on mascara. I try to get up before my baby. Sometimes it doesn’t happen.

  • Melissa says:

    I was feeling very similar, and it was horrible! I am very busy and involved, and all I wanted to do was watch tv. So, after almost two months of barely keeping up with my mom/wife duties, I made a doctor’s appointment. It turned out I have mono, and there isn’t a cure, but the doctor told me what vitamins to take, and they have helped a lot. I’m still tired, but I’m so glad to know why I feel this way and that it’s not all in my head. Good luck to you.

  • Luan says:

    Community, not adding the stress of “seeming” alright to an already stressful situation – choosing to be authentic. Having close confidants. Choosing not to isolate and seek out community when you’re the most down.

  • elle says:

    i don’t know if anyone else has mentioned it, or put it quite like this, but one thing that can be very important is to intentionally schedule time to yourself. i know i’ve dealt with depression and burn out, and i have ADHD on top of it. looking around and seeing twenty things in the house that need to get done could wipe me out before i even started just because i was thinking about it all at once. the first thing i needed to learn to do was to separate tasks and look at them one at a time. the second thing i needed to do was schedule time for myself. i would get several things done and honestly need a day, or even just an afternoon, off, but i would feel guilty taking it because there was so much left to do. the thing is, when i looked at the whole house instead of one room, and when i refused to take time off for myself on purpose, i always ended up getting less done than i broke it up and gave myself permission to rest.

  • Antonella says:

    Eat lots of fresh raw fruits and vegetables (for vitamins and minerals) and spend time in nature (under a tree, walking near a stream).
    They do wonder for me!

  • Beth says:

    I love all of the support and good advice.
    1. See to you health and personal well being (even on the airplane, in the event of an emergency, they say to put your own oxygen mask on first otherwise you won’t be helpful to anyone else passed out!).
    2. Try a to-done list. A more experienced and wise mom told me when my boys were younger, to write a to-done list on the tough days and even on a routine basis for a few weeks. This is the list of things that you do that never seem important enough to make the to-do list but eat up time and energy. (Shower, eat, feed kids breakfast, snack, feed kids lunch, snack, milk, pick up toys, change 6,7,8,9 diapers, kiss 2 boo-boos, read 5 books, ect). This list helped to show me where my time went at the end of those days where I looked at the house and wondered where my day went. It encouraged me that I was working hard. It also reminded me what was important.

    All of this said, I still feel the same as you in many ways. I am on my way the MD this week to ask some questions regarding fatigue, supplements, blood tests, ect. I am trying to give more time to myself.

    Crystal, these posts are so encouraging as they share something we all feel so alone with and yet we all go through. THanks!

  • Sarah G says:

    I’m not sure this has been expressed yet without reading each comment, but I’m taking a stab at reading between the readers question by asking, “Have you talked to your doctor about the signs and symptoms of depression?”. Yes, “Christian” or not, one can still be depressed without stigma or judgement. Faith has no impartiality.

    Let me ask these:

    Are you unable to focus on a task without your mind wondering onto another task without completing the first? Do you quit your task without completing it altogether? Feel like you have attention defecit without the hyperactivity?

    Do you sleep fully through the night, waking to still feel exhausted or fatigued? Do you still need a nap just to rejuvenate you before your spouse returns to regain what energy you lost?

    Does your body have aches that you cannot explain? Such as, knowing it wasn’t the work you tended to the day before…

    Do you sense your mind ‘beating you up’ over and over, leaving to feel helpless or even worthless in who you are?

    Burnout is one thing of fatigue, depression is not. You cannot just commit to feeling better without help, though some of the suggestions stated are extremely beneficial even in depression. And just like diabetes takes treatment for a chemical imbalance in the endocrine system, so do imbalances in the mind.

    You are God’s beloved. Tell yourself from your mind to your heart over and over by reading God’s Word and reciting his truth of who you are to Him to combat any spiritual warfare in your mind. If you feel you may be depressed, seek a doctor for help. Admitting it is the hardest part but the joy of the journey will come.

    I know, I’m there. I had made the same call before but no one but you really knows what is going on. I was just like what you sound like, type-A personality, task-oriented, being able to ‘stay on top’ of the game and I fell into the inability to do it like I had before. And getting back into any sort of routine and structure was not helping, it just fell to the wayside of fatigue.

    Today, I’m out of that pit but grateful for the experience in so many ways. I would go through it again. Aren’t those experiences to be used to help someone else? Do you need more help than a rebalance of commitments?

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts; I really appreciate it! And I’m so grateful you are climbing out of the pit of depression!

  • Katie says:

    Friends! Make time to spend with a good friend who maybe has kids around the same age as yours. Go to the park or have lunch date. You find that most people struggle with the same things and it helps just to have someone to talk to.

  • Amy f;) says:

    THIS is an awesome post! keep on doing what you are doing, helping and blessing people:)

  • Joslyn K. says:

    Can I just tell you how thankful I am that you are doing this series? I literally have been at my wits end, overwhelmed with life and the tasks at hand as a momma. Last week as I tackled a sick parents, a part time “ministry” job (which really isn’t part time at all), my husband’s lost job, a last minute garage sale (to up the $$ in our home for the month), my sassy 6 year old who doesn’t want to do anything but watch tv/play video games, and my needy 8 month old, I started praying that God would somehow give me the strength and motivation to get back on track with all things that are really important in life. {Enter this series.} Thank you, Crystal. And thank you, Jesus.

  • bona says:

    I experience clinical depression, and I find the meditation helps me. Free lessons are available online and no it’s not easy to begin with but well worth the effort. Check out and go through the lessons. Your physical and mental health will thank you. Totally agree about the prayer!

  • Chrissy says:


    Thank you so much for doing this post. I appreciate all the advice, tips, and encouragement. There are some things that I hope to apply. Thanks so much.

  • Sarah says:

    I absolutely agree with #2, and there are even more health issues that we often think of as just inconveniences but are sapping our motivation every day.

    For me, those issues included allergies. When you deal with allergies your whole life, you don’t realize how much you’re living in a fog every day all day, you just know that you’re not as energetic as some of the women/people you see around you. I’d tried taking the over-the-counter allergy meds as a teenager and they didn’t seem to make much of a difference so I stopped taking them. Same with the asthma inhaler I was on (prescription) in high school. I finally hit a point after my first child was born where I knew I didn’t want to feel this way anymore and decided to see an allergist. Well, after taking an allergy test, I found out that I have an EXTREME grass allergy (off the charts, impress the allergist extreme, oh, and by the way it’s a year-round allergy because even the dead grass being blown around by the wind in the winter triggers the allergy). I started taking prescription allergy meds and taking allergy shots on a weekly (then later bi-weekly) basis. Time and financial investment, absolutely, but I have more energy than I’ve had MY ENTIRE LIFE! Not to mention I’m a lot more fun to be around since I don’t have a constant low-grade headache in the background.

    I was soon able to peel back the layers other discomforts that were eating away at me. I went dairy-free and manipulated my diet in other ways and that definitely made a difference (but those subtle differences were completely clouded by my more severe discomforts cause by my allergies, so things that never seemed to make a difference before now make a huge difference). I added asthma meds back into the mix, and figured out that my asthma isn’t only related to my allergies, but can be exercise-induced, too. All those years of trying to lose weight and feeling awful when I played sports as a kid, and having my heart race just horsing around with my toddler, and I finally had an answer and a solution that worked! (I’m still out of shape, but I can finally fix that, just by taking my inhaler before I exercise!) And now that I could exercise more without being sick for days afterwards, that naturally helped my energy levels, too.

    For my husband, sleep apnea has been sapping his energy our entire marriage of 7 years, and probably before I met him. He asked a doctor about it and doc just told him to lose weight. Well, it’s kinda hard to lose weight when you’re too exhausted to exercise because you’re not sleeping well. One night when our first baby was just a week or two old, I remember setting the baby down asleep in his bassinet in the middle of the night and listening to the chorus of snoring coming from both my husband and our tiny little baby. Yeah, I don’t think my newborn 7lb baby was snoring because of his weight! He finally hit his wall last week and is seeing an ENT soon. I don’t know if the answer will be surgical or a CPAP or other machine, or maybe he’s got allergies, too, but whatever it takes to fix, it will be worth it. So far, his apnea has cost both him and I tons of sleep, cost him a job when he got fired (shortly after that first baby was born) for falling asleep at work, costs us money hiring people to do renovations and repairs to our house that he could do if he had the energy, and of course the long term health impacts of both the sleep apnea and being obsese.

    Bottom line, if there’s a health issue sapping your strength and energy, PLEASE don’t waste years like we did before addressing it. Your whole family will benefit from having you happy and healthy.

  • The American Homemaker says:

    I think all moms hit the burnout point… I know I sure do! I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 1/2 years and now I’ve been a single working mom of three for the last 5 years. I’ve felt burned out many times over the years! I’m engaged to be married to someone who has full custody of four boys who are really tough… Time for me to get organized! Yikes!

    My biggest tips are organization and taking time for yourself… including time to sleep! 🙂

  • Damaris says:

    I remember when I was home with my three kids (now two teenagers and one on her own) I had attended two playgroups a week. I started one near my home with one mom I met at the park. We would take turn at each others home and soon after another mom joined. We would eat and pray for each other …a moms in touch kind of group. The wisdom and encouragement I received from those two ladies was a pick me up and definitely God ordained. The other group was a little further away from home. We would alternate taking care of each others kids and going on trips together even to the library to hear a story. At least two days of the week I was out of the house. My daily walks with the kids allowed me to get to know some neighbors that were also SAHM.
    Sometimes I was asked to take care of their kids once in a while…that way my children also had company and I had some pocket money.
    Just remember that whatever stage of life your in it is for a season.

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