Okay, I am going to admit it, even though I am not proud about it. There have been a few times in my life as a parent where I have actually thought that it would be nice if I could catch the 24 hour stomach bug.
This was not because I wanted to feel awful, physically. Instead, I wanted a day where I could have permission to just lay on the couch and binge watch TV and not feel guilty about it one bit. The kids would have to go to school and daycare, and I would have the house all to myself- too sick to work or do house chores. And then the next day, I would be just fine- recharged and ready to rock and roll.
There, I said it! I know that I am probably not the first mom to feel this way or have these thoughts.
When I have these thoughts, it is an obvious indicator that I am overwhelmed and potentially on the verge of burnout.
In this state of mind, if leading exercise wasn’t my job, there is no way in heck that I would prioritize it because all my efforts would be towards getting rest and recovery .
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
Unfortunately, burnout is incredibly common for care providers. Even more common for care providers is the sense of overwhelm. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they do have differences. In short, think of overwhelm as less serious because you aren’t yet to the point of disengagement, giving up, detachment, and losing hope or feeling.
If you are at the point of burnout, I would seriously recommend that you activate as many support systems and resources as possible. There are a lot of articles about burnout and how to identify if you have reached that state.
This post is going to focus on how being overwhelmed is one of the top ten reasons why moms don’t exercise as much as we’d like.
When you are overwhelmed, what are the signs that show up in your thoughts, words and behaviors?
For me, I am much less patient with my kids. I dread looking at my email inbox and for sure avoid social media or anything that presents me with more information or chance for comparison. I make decisions without thinking them through. I start to resent all that we have on our schedule and feel relief when things get canceled.
These are just a few common things that show up for me.
A sense of overwhelm shows up differently for everyone.
Also, how we navigate through overwhelm depends on the individual.
What helps you to reclaim your sense of feeling in control, more at peace, and less overwhelmed?
….having several great nights of sleep?
….having less on your schedule?
….having help from your friends and family?
….less demands from work?
….taking a vacation?
….having a day where you don’t have to be anywhere and can do whatever you’d like?
You know I am going to pause and camp on the last idea, right?
The beautiful thing about exercise is that we can take almost every excuse we have for not doing it and turn it around to become the reason we must do it.
If you are overwhelmed, how can exercise help you to be less overwhelmed?
For starters, when you exercise, you release endorphins which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. They help to reduce pain and improve mood. When you are in a better mood and not focusing on pain, then you are able to be more productive and have a better attitude about tackling all that you have on your to-do list.
Exercise helps you to clear your mind from all the chatter. When you are focusing on having proper form, working through challenging movements, and noticing how your body is feeling, you take a break from the chaos and just enjoy how your body feels in the present moment. You can appreciate what your body is physically able to accomplish.
If you exercise with a friend or a personal trainer, you become engaged with them by listening to their instructions or their current life situations. You show them that they have your attention and that you care. In turn, you know that they will also listen to you as you share how you are feeling and how life is going currently. You feel supported and heard.
When you exercise, you become more energized. When you have more energy, you are able to accomplish more and have fewer nagging thoughts about what you should be doing. A sense of accomplishment certainly helps to tone down your sense of overwhelm.
Do you want me to keep going?
I could….but I don’t want to overwhelm you:)
Here is something that you could try right away this week if you feel overwhelmed, and it is getting in the way of you exercising. Think about your schedule and jot down all the times when you will be waiting. Some examples include when you are picking up your kids and they are not quite ready, when you are in the waiting room for an appointment, or when you are logged in for a virtual meeting that hasn’t yet started.
All this talk about waiting reminds me of the Dr. Suess book, “Oh the Places You Will Go.” Something that strikes me from this book is when he talks about all the waiting we will do and how it can be dangerous.
How about if we take back some of the power and instead of feeling like we are waiting on others, we use that time to do something important and valuable?
How might you be able to incorporate self-care or exercise into your waiting moments?
For short waiting times, try a breathing exercise or kegels.
For medium wait times, try doing some air squats, pushups off your desk, stretching, or jogging in place.
For longer wait times, go on a walk, take the stairs, or do an exercise video for the length of time using bodyweight or the equipment you might have access to.
You see, anything is possible, even when you are so overwhelmed. Take one small step at a time, my friend. Having strategy and vision is important in all of our roles, but don’t look so far ahead that you feel overwhelmed with all that it will take to get there.
Each moment is an opportunity for you to shine. I know you can, and I know you’ve got this!
Here Are Some Ways That Fit Mom Connection Is Here To Help You feel less overwhelmed and more accomplished by embracing the power of exercise!
Virtual Exercise Class Membership. Hang out with me and other mothers live or onDemand to benefit from some fun exercise routines that are functional for the body of mothers. The first month is free so really there is no reason not to do it. There is something in it for all abilities, ages, stages, and interests.
30 Day Self-Care Challenge Want some support in making daily self-care a habit? This program will give you the daily motivation and tools to help you discover how life with self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Work with me 1:1 You are a beautiful, unique individual, and I would be honored to help you tap into your strengths so that you can use exercise as a vehicle, along with a S.M.A.R.T. plan for turning your intentions into actions with the results you want and deserve. Whether it’s starting with a three month wellness coaching relationship or working with me for 1:1 Personal training, I am ready to chat about your needs and desires.
Sign up for one of my free resources which are pictured to the right or below this post.
Subscribe to my youTube channel where I deliver weekly fit mom moments and 15+ minute workouts. Check out my featured workout below.