Everyone knows what the term “burn-out” is. If you have worked in the medical field you are especially familiar with it. Why? Because it happens most within medical professionals. Think about it – doctors, nurses, caregivers – they give 110% (at least the good ones do) to their patients – every moment of everyday they have them in their care. This is why you see shows picture parents who can’t take care of their children, who have disabilities, anymore. They get burned out.
It is not limited to the medical professionals though. Anyone can become burned out. Students, teachers, engineers. Burn-out isn’t picky. This past semester I experienced probably the strongest sense of Burn-out I have ever had in a long time. And after going through it – here are the ways I learned to cope.
- Work Out – This hits the top of my list because I stopped doing it and when I started again I immediately noticed a large difference in my own mindset. To quote Elle from Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”. Now I don’t go running, my workouts are boxing or yoga (yep I pendulum swing). When I’m angry I find hitting a bag helps a lot and when I need to relax – Yoga is the key. I recommend continuing your exercise or starting to exercise as one of the best ways to cope with burn-out.
- Hygge – If nothing else from this blog you all will remember this word for life! Hygge – meaning take time to do you. Relax with a book and decompress. Get a cup of tea or hot chocolate and simple take time for you. This is so important because you can feel pressure to just always be on the go! Don’t fall into the trap – take time to rest. Even God rested 1 time a week.
- Pace Yourself – If you feel like burn-out is at your doorstep then maybe it’s time to give up something. You don’t have to be superwoman/superman all the time. Think of it this way – It would be better for you to do 1 or 2 things and do them well then to do many things – half-assed. It’s ok to prioritize and triage your own life. Sometimes it’s necessary.
I wish I would have thought about these items sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t be repeating a class for school next semester then, but life has a way of teaching lessons whether we want them or not. I’m hoping you (my readers) will learn from my mistake on this one and maybe avoid your own burn-out or somehow learn to walk the tightrope until you are better.
I have to admit that while I don’t currently desire to have any children of my own, I do enjoy being a nanny. I watch two boys Monday – Friday and while they have great days most of the time, occasionally we have bad ones too. I’ve picked up a few useful tips on how to deal with these days because at 6 years and 9 years old, I can’t cope with the behavior the way I would out of an 2 or 3-year-old. Both boys have different disabilities and it makes dealing with the behavior an interesting maze of actions and reactions.
- Listen – Sometimes all they really just need me to do is listen to what they are saying and sympathize with them about it. A lot of the time I don’t even have to say anything. Sometimes they talk about school or their dreams of becoming a motocross star or game system creator, but other times they talk about food they like or how rough their day was. No matter what they talk about, I try to listen and sympathize.
- Consistency People really underestimate how much children need consistency, especially kids with disabilities. It gives them something dependable in their life. I try to always have dinner ready at 5pm. We always do homework at a specific time. Things like this make it easier for them to anticipate what I’m going to ask them to do and it makes it easier for me when I have to tell them what to do.
- Discipline – I am never going to tell you to physically discipline someone elses child. I would never do that myself. When I talk about discipline I am referring to actions and consequences. Allowing children to grow up in a world without consequences does nothing for their moral compass or for their ability to learn about responsibility. Example: The 6-year-old that I nanny decided he would try to deceive me yesterday and not come do homework when I told him to. He likes to come home and watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. Normally, I let him finish his video before doing his homework – it’s annoying as an adult to be interrupted from a video, so I imagine as a child it’s harder to focus. Today, however, when I picked him up from school he came in and asked me where his Ipad was – I told him “You tried to decieve me and not be responsible yesterday. The consequence is that you lose the right to decide when we are going to do homework until I see responsibility again. We are going to do homework right now.” He was less than pleased to say the least. However, now he knows that he can’t do that.
- Find Something Special – As a nanny, you have to know when to have fun. You also need to know when to find something that can be special for you and the kids. While consistency is awesome and very necessary, on the really bad days (most of the time it’s because it was a bad day at school) I do something a bit different. We’ve made cookies, french toast for dinner, roasted s’mores over candles, and decided on a small party for christmas.
- Teach Independence – This doubles with discipline as they have to learn to do things on their own. The 9-year-old is my best example – each day I pick him up from school and we talk about what homework he has for the day and what is due for the week. He has 1 book report each week so he can have special privileges at school on Friday. I might ask him each day if he wants to do it but I tell him “It’s due on Thursday, so you decide what day you will do it and which works best for you.” I also tell him that he has to do his homework before dinner and shower after dinner. He has the capability of choosing what time he does those and by the time I leave each night – he has them done. This allows him moderate responsibility and teaches him to be independent and rely on me and his mother less. I find this to be very important especially when they are young because the world is not going to remind you of what you need to do when and your mom will not want to take care of her adult son. For the younger boy this might look like me telling him to take a shower and wash his hair – I choose the time but he does it himself.
Overall, I try to have fun as a nanny. We joke and laugh and have a good time, but at the end of the day – their parents are paying me to not only take care of the boys but also to give them life skills. I honestly believe that each of these tips helps me be a better nanny and helps the boys grow. Being a nanny can be like a dictatorship but most of the time it’s really more like a democracy and a bit of give and take.
Mornings. Even if you are a morning person – the mornings before work can be rough. They can feel rushed or full of the desire to go back to bed. There are several ways to make mornings prior to work feel less stressful, this way you can arrive at work in a decent mood and feel ready to take on the day. **Disclaimer – I don’t have children (If you do – results may vary!)** Each idea is based on one or two points of setting a happy mindset that I have personally been experiencing and trying to incorporate into my life: 1) Organization and 2) Hygge. Organizing makes one feel better about life. The human brain enjoys organization and “hygge” means to put your brain into it’s happy space of comfort and enjoyment.
- Set up the hot beverage station the night before – What I have noticed is that my mornings always start out alot smoother when I wake up and have set up my coffee pot the night before. Now that being said – Not everyone is a coffee drinker. In this case, set up your mug and tea choice the night before or set up a mug with all the makings right beside it for Cocoa. This is both an organized way to start the morning and a great way to prepare to “Hygge” in the morning.
- Do NOT read Social Media or the News for 15 Minutes – This sounds super easy but when you have reached the habit of constantly getting on social media first thing when you wake up, it’s the hardest one to do. When I wake up in the morning my brain needs time to come to life before it processes what it’s seeing or hearing. When my husband asks me something it forces me to start faster and feel rushed – worst thing ever. Social Media and the New do the same. Here’s what I recommend – if you can’t stay off of Social media – Pinterest or Instagram. Instagram is just photos – your brain will have time to process without having to think about what is or isn’t true. Simply give your brain 15 min of leisure time in the morning.
- Wake up earlier – I know everyone says it and you don’t understand why you should do it. but it’s similar to not looking at social media. It gives you time to sit, drink some hot beverage, and simply wake up. I’m not a person that bounces out of bed ready to go. I take time and when I know what time I have to leave the house – I make sure to be up atleast 1.5 hours before hand. I know that it sounds extreme but think of it this way: As a woman it takes me a minimum of 30 minutes to get ready, 30 minutes to drink coffee, ponder life, and generically “Hygge” before I have to get ready. I like to wake up and while drinking my coffee blog or read a book. It puts me in a good mood.
- Set out your clothes the night before – If you can’t or don’t want to wake up more then 20 min earlier than normal – set out your clothes the night before. It is one less thing to worry about in the morning and makes it that much smoother when you have to leave.
- Do something you love – wake up early enough to do something you love. Read a book. Have breakfast. Whatever that item is that makes you tick. It will make you happy and start your morning out on the right foot.
Ultimately it’s your morning. But I can tell you that if you do this for just a week to test it – you will find that your mindset has improved. My grandfather always had a saying “Proper Prior Planning Prevents a Piss Poor Preformance” – 7 P’s of life. Organization and Hygge in the morning makes it that much smoother and ultimately will make you that much more happy in the mornings.