Keeping Up Without Burning Out

Author: Shannon Miller

Mom with child, working on computer and on cell.

After years of learning to balance on a four inch wide beam, I now realize that balancing life as a working mom is quite a bit more challenging!

How to stay balanced and keep all the balls in the air without slowly deteriorating in the process.

This is certainly a popular topic in the news and press, but despite all the resources out there, women continue to struggle with finding a healthy balance between their personal and work/home lives.  Balance is defined as “a stable mental or psychological state, emotional stability,” according to American Heritage Dictionary.  How many of us can say we truly maintain a state of emotionally stability?  Have we yelled at our kids, been devastated by a comment from a co-worker or boss, cried for a reason we cannot identify?

Of course, emotions are natural and healthy as they help us navigate our world, but when we are overwhelmed by tasks and demands, we start to steer off course.   Over time, chronic lack of balance can lead to problems that touch many parts of our lives.

For the purpose of this article, let us look at another perspective as perhaps it is important to include more than just your emotional stability when considering how to find balance.  This would include the stability of your health, family, marriage/partnership, career/work and your social life.  Beginning to work on securing harmony in each area can bring your emotions into balance.  Time management will be a primary factor in helping us do this.

We have far more on our plates than we did just 10 years ago though this seems to be over looked.  The internet alone has added tasks to our day such as checking and responding to e-mail and/or social networks like Facebook.  All of this takes time from other areas.

That said, how do we keep ourselves balanced rather than headed for burn out?   First, you need to be willing to ask yourself some challenging questions and be brutally honest with the answers.  Then you need to be committed to the process and decide that you are willing to modify the way you think and behave.   Consider the following questions:

  • Are you focusing more of your energy on pleasing or supporting other people than you are on your own needs?
  • Do you set expectations for yourself and others that are unrealistic, thus setting yourself up for failure or disappointment?
  • Are you working longer hours to avoid dealing with problems in other areas of your life?
  • Do you know more about your kids friends than you do about your own?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you could be headed for burnout.

Part of moving down the path to finding your own healthy balance would mean you can answer “no” to the questions above and begin answering the following questions in a positive way.

  • Are you taking time to nourish your body with healthy food and exercise?
  • Are you making time to develop and sustain your adult relationships- friends not just husband/partner?
  • Are you being proactive based on your values or reactive based on just trying to get things done?
  • Are you asking for help and accessing your resources or trying to do it alone?
  • Are you making time for yourself to do activities that you enjoy?

Courtesy of Wendy H. Davis, LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Haydon-Davis Counseling, Inc.

Do you have tips on how to avoid burnout? Share your ideas and tips at

TIP:  If you found this article helpful, you might also want to read some related Shannon Miller Lifestyle articles:

Set Priorities and Achieve Your Goal!

Are You Stressed To The Max?

Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Day

Time Management for the Busy Woman

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