How I Fight Artist and Mommy Fatigue
As my eyes popped open (well, more like slowly, stubbornly creaked open), I was faced with another day. And I didn’t want to do any of it.
I didn’t want to paint.
I didn’t want to write.
I didn’t want to mother.
I didn’t want to adult.
I was tired. Bone tired.
This was how I felt at the beginning of the Christmas season this past year. I was dealing with creative fatigue that then overflowed into the rest of my life as a mom, wife and friend. I had deadlines to make and things I had to accomplish, but there was no joy in it. Rather than getting excited about a new piece or new opportunity, it all felt like a heavy weight. Not something else….
When you find yourself in a place like this, you are probably tired and dealing with some burn out or fatigue. It happens to all of us. We tend to push and push until we can’t go anymore. This is very common among solo-penteurs and those of us that have multiple hats to wear (what a sec….that’s pretty much everybody!)
What does one do to refresh and re-energize?
Here’s what helped me in my recent battle with fatigue and burnout.
Take a breath. . . and evaluate--This moment of pause can stop the mental and physical spiral that occurs when fatigue starts setting in. This needs to be coupled with some thinking and evaluating. What is going on? Set out to find the reasons you are struggling. Is it too many projects on your plate? Is it the type of project? Are you sleeping enough? Is it the people involved with the work? When you pinpoint the source of the fatigue, this will help you know how to bring some resolution, even if it’s a temporary solution until a lasting “fix” can be found. For me, I knew right away that I simply was trying to do too much. I had too many commissions and deadlines looming. I already said “yes” to these things, so I couldn’t really back out, but I could still do something...
Take a break--My solution to my fatigue was to ask for some grace from some commission clients and move their deadlines back just a bit so I could relieve some of the pressure. When I explained my situation, they were more than happy to give me some room. Most folks have “been there and done that” so they understand. When fatigue starts to set in, you need to find ways to lighten the load. How can do you do that for yourself? Maybe it’s finding a couple people to help you babysit the kids, maybe it’s extending deadlines, maybe it’s coming to terms with a dirty house that is going to be just fine until you have a bit more time to tackle it. I promise your home won’t mind and if you have family members that do, ask them to chip in. Perhaps it comes in the form of those dastardly "lunchables." (No judgement here, I use them on a regular basis!) Taking these small breaks and deliberately making some space can help extend the little energy you have until you can do the next step. . .
Stop-- Yep. Sometimes you just need to close up shop. No permanently, but for more than a day. It will take a couple of days for you to actually adjust and start to rejuvenate and relax. Trust me, I know! When I came to the point of needing to stop and close shop for a week, it took about 3-4 days until I really started to feel the life coming back to me. This is probably going to be terrifying and feel like you're ripping your heart out, but trust that you are doing yourself a favor by caring for you. Trust that everything will be fine while you take a break. While your "closed" sign is up, find things that will rejuvenate and refresh you...life giving things. Maybe that’s spending time with friends and family again. Maybe it’s being by yourself. Maybe it’s sleeping! Everyone recoops in a different way, and you might have to put some thought into your approach. Make this time count.
A little side note, I am very aware of how being a mother doesn’t really allow for much “stop” time if you are dealing with mom fatigue. I don’t have that option either, but you may find that your mom fatigue starts to diminish if you can take breaks with the help of friends and family. You might try taking breaks in other areas of your life too. We are never just moms, so what other areas can be paused for a couple days, weeks, or months, while you graciously try to meet your own needs for some time?
I hope this helps you know that you are not alone and that it’s ok to deal with some serious fatigue and burn-out. It doesn’t mean you are weak or unable. It just means that you are giving it your all. Take heart and get the breaths, breaks, and stops you need to keep going.
So, tell me, have you ever experienced fatigue/burnout in your business or in your home life? How do you handle it?