5 Ways to Fight Back-to-School Burnout

It’s time to figure out Halloween costumes, so my son F gave me a schematic drawing in full color to help guide me on his vision for an orange Ninja Turtle (Michelangelo)—complete with nunchucks. “This is the front, here is the back, this is a side view, and that’s my candy bag!” he beamed. I was very impressed with his creation, but as he explained the nunchucks I told him, “Sweetheart, you can’t bring weapons to school.” His eyes lit up like he had already thought of that, and come up with a solution: “You’ll make them soft, it won’t hurt anyone…”

Stillness. Serenity. Do you ever just want to slow down?

I’m neck-deep in Mom Life, which has been full lately:

  • Preparing and serving meals (school lunches, meal plan, grocery shop, cook, wash dishes)
  • Helping kids with school (getting them ready, homework, reading, music practice)
  • Household chores (laundry, cleaning, organization, dog, yard)
  • Carpooling and all appointments (dental, doctor, car, church, get togethers, etc.)
  • Sports (attending all 3 kids’ soccer games and getting them to practices)
  • Managing our money (budget, bills, all the family shopping, planning upcoming trips)
  • Working from home (Etsy shop and side projects)
  • Family activities (see Halloween costumes above)

All good things that keep our family healthy, safe, and thriving—it’s just a lot of work! The days are starting to blur together, and I now need a calendar to keep everything straight. The burnout from the week is so real, I take the entire weekend to decompress in order to start again. When I have a minute, I fritter away mindlessly online shopping or obsessing about economic matters. My immune system has been weak since school started when these hectic routines became the norm, and I did not have the energy to burn off my stresses with exercise.

Here are 5 Ways I’m Intentionally Fighting the Burnout:

1. Listen to what food my body needs.

I have been making food that I crave—mostly vegetable filled soups, and lots of fresh fruits. Jer is now successfully back on Keto (so proud of him!), so I’m in charge of meals for the rest of the family. While we often have nourishing foods, I’m so glad for pizza night when it’s just too hectic to cook at bedtime.

2. Make time for exercise.

I’ve accepted that my body just needs exercise in order for my mind to deal with life. I started back on Yoga, since running is a little too intense for my body and schedule right now. I do it first thing in the morning so that it actually happens. I have more energy and feel more ready to meet my tasks, and I’m always better for it.

3. Grow inner peace.

Today I needed encouragement, and this is what I found in my scriptures:

Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:33

All those little things that parents like me do in cultivating love, building character, and raising children- all the moments together and lunches made, the discussions we have, all the daily “showing up”… I was reminded that it matters greatly to God, and it must matter to my kids. Just as exercising always improves my day, so does personal time with God. Maybe yours is more just a calm time meditating or being intentional with your breathing. Right now for me it’s just finding a quiet and private time to pray, but my goal is to ponder and have more inner peace.

4. Enlist help from others.

One of the top things I worry about is not being late, so I’m on high alert for like an hour before I need to go; it takes up a lot of mental energy. That first week of school I was going there back and forth 3x/day, and most of it floundering on a bike or carting a stroller up a 45 degree hill with an unwilling 5-year-old since we no longer have a bus. I ended up dead tired and realizing this would be impossible to sustain as the weather grows colder. I reached out to friends in similar situations and we arranged a carpool that works for all of us. Now each of us only needs to go to the school once daily. YES for efficiency!

5. Spreadsheet it.

This can also count as “get all the things organized”. As I mentioned, I can’t keep everything straight anymore without my lists and tech help. I have a spreadsheet to answer “What’s for dinner”, a physical AND digital calendar to show all the soccer stuff and appointments (because I’m too lazy to try to merge them), an app to keep our budget on track, alarms for when it’s Early Out day and I need to pick up the kids early, personal appointments for yoga, and even reminders for when to return books to the library or what items I need to add to my shopping list. I even have a spreadsheet for measurements for the kids since they grow out of shoes and clothes so fast, it’s really handy to have when I’m shopping!

I’m sure there are plenty of other solutions to these very exhausting yet fulfilling times. What a blessing to have my kids learning in school, playing sports with a team, reading with them daily for homework or pleasure, being a part of our community and neighborhood where we count our neighbors as friends. I’m glad that instead of avoiding and shying away from my worries, Heavenly Father is helping me to meet them continually. What are you doing to keep up with a full schedule?


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