Burnout: 5 Steps I’m Taking To Recover

Life is overwhelming to say the least.

I’m someone who likes to keep herself busy, whether it’s work, school, spending time with family, hobbies, or passions (like this blog). And I’m usually really good at juggling it all, but recently I have been hit with what can only be described as burnout.

I’ve sat at my desk, just staring at the computer screen, not remembering — not wanting to shuffle through the pile of work in front of me. I’ve sat on the couch, thinking about deadlines for homework, doing nothing to get assignments closer to completion.

Life is ever-changing, and right now our lives are potentially about to shift in a major way… And of course I’ve taken it upon myself to take care of everything. Making the plans, doing the research, taking on the worry.

It’s all started to get too heavy. I’m worn.

I have had little interest in doing things that benefit my career, academics, and soul. Exhausted is not close to what my heart has been feeling.

So I’m taking a few steps to bring myself back to life, before I get too far gone.

This is the hardest one. I’m wired and I’m a born night owl. But it’s SO IMPORTANT to get  good rest. Getting adequate sleep helps level out that pesky stress hormone, cortisol, which is responsible for the body’s responses to stress, like increased heart rate. Sleep also promotes healing around the body, and (as a mom on a weight loss mission) I have found that I have more weight loss success when I’m sleeping well.

To help me get a better night’s sleep, I have been taking a magnesium supplement in the evening, which generally puts me to sleep in about 30-45 minutes. That’s a huge improvement on the usual 2 or so hours it usually takes.

I think I will also stop all electronics use 30-45 minutes before bed, to allow my mind to wind down and lessen the effects of blue light.

In the midst of taking on everything and anything, I tend to shove things away and out of sight — to be dealt with later or not at all. I’ve always valued honesty from others. I’m a huge supporter of talking out your issues in a civilized and open-minded manner, except when it comes to my own feelings. I’ve been letting things build up inside of me, and it’s just not healthy.

So I’ve tasked myself with being more open about what I’m really feeling, and trying to voice it in a calm and understandable tone. My tone is definitely something I need to keep in check, because I’m naturally snappy, especially when I feel like the world is on my shoulders.

I’m also making an effort to communicate with friends more. I’ve always avoided talking to others about the heavier things in life because I don’t want to be a burden, but I want to build strong and dependable relationships.

Yes. This is a cheesy one, but I really feel that it’s helping me keep a brighter outlook on life and our impending changes.

Fake it ’til you make it, right?!

But seriously, I’m really starting to believe what I tell myself. That’s a big thing for someone with a lot of insecurities.

I believe in my skills and abilities.

I am worthy of happiness and living in abundance.

My strength is greater than my struggle.

I am proud of myself and all I have accomplished.

This is a huge one for me. Yes, I take time away to work. I have a year left of school which is turning out to be the most assignment intensive year and I do things for the family business…but I don’t really take time away for me, aside from the odd blog post or article I take on — and I usually tackle these in stolen 5-10 minute increments over the course of a few days (or even weeks).

So I am making it a point to take at least a solid one hour block of time, one to two times a week, to do something for myself. Whether it’s writing an article, catching up on a TV show, taking a bath, reading a book, or whatever…I’m making time for it.

I’ve been working on this one for years. What good does it do you to hold onto negativity? It affects you mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. So, after I’ve enacted step #2, once I’ve said my piece, I will let it go. Especially if there is nothing that I can directly do to change the situation.

A bonus tip:

Take time to appreciate the little things, like days on the beach with your family or slow dancing in your bedroom with your partner. This can seriously put some good perspective into anything.

I’ve gradually been making a shift toward optimism over the last week or so (even though I’ve generally always been more optimistic than most), and I have to say that it’s really helping my outlook on myself and our lives. For the planner that I am, I am becoming more open to unknown possibilities and embracing drastic change. I am climbing out of the slump that I’ve called home for the last month, and am excited to see how these steps can further benefit me and my family overall.

Part Of My Mom Philosophy

It’s hard to find your mom groove, sometimes.
There’s so much judgement around how you choose to parent your children.

If I’m being totally honest, I thought I’d be much different as a mom than I am turning out to be. I’m not as overbearing, over protective, or overly cautious. I’m huge on trial and error, and letting my son try to work things out for himself (as much as a one year old can, anyway).

When I came across this topic on my BG editor’s topic list, I knew I had to write the article. It’s pretty representative of who I am as a mom. YES, there still are times when I make decisions to the contrary, but for the most part, I’m a ‘who cares’ mama, and a damn proud one, too.

Are you part of the ‘who cares’ mom tribe, too??

20 Signs Of A ‘Who Cares’ Mama

Who Cares

My Style Evolution To ‘Mom’

Style changes across the years, that’s totally understandable. I used to be quite the fashionista…not. Comfort over EVERYTHING!

I was one of those almost-goth-rocker type chicks. I wore a lot of mens’ cut Dickies. See baby me pictured below. I must have been 15 or 16. Oooooh high school. I didn’t think too much about clothes in high school. I wore what was comfortable and what was black. Even when we partied with the raving kandi kids. Black was it.

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It didn’t change much from there. Straight out of high school Kristen got a little bit better at dressing herself, pictured to the right. She dressed a little less baggy, and a little more…cleavage-y. Of course every look had to be paired with that classic duck face.

This was actually one of my more favored looks. It was still comfortable, but didn’t look like I just rolled out of bed and picked up whatever thing on the floor was closest.
196660_10150443051240298_3781425_nEnter douche-y hat phase Kristen. She was straight out of music college. Style got a little more lax, and even threw some color in there! Here she is awaiting her band’s first gig, at a run down bar in the Valley, in the middle of the afternoon. We got wild that day, y’all.

Now cut to the last…maybe 4-5 years:

This is where my style has landed for a long while. Baggy shirts, plain t-shirts, sweaters, unkempt hair, and horrible shoes. I even turned into one of those ‘leggings as pants’ people. I used to detest leggings as pants. But that changed once I got pregnant. I immediately took back all the mocking I did! SO. COMFORTABLE. The only real effort has gone to hiding the bits of myself I don’t like (hence my recent resolution to get myself fit and healthy).

My husband has never complained about the way I look. He loves me anyway I come, and I love him for it. But sometimes I girl needs to feel pretty, damn it! So in an effort to spruce up my wardrobe (and hopefully boost my confidence) I bought a few new work shirts — since that’s really the only time I get out of the house.

Imagine my dismay when modeling my new work shirts for hubby, and the first thing out of his mouth is, “…You look like a mom.” Let me preface that by saying, there is nothing wrong with “looking like a mom,” even though I have no idea what that means. Moms come in all different shapes, sizes, and styles. But there it is. Somehow my new found taste in clothing screams “I’m a mom!”

But I’m not sweating it too much. I like the new incorporation of patterns and prints. It makes me feel just a tad bit more girly and stylish.

Welcome to my mom fashion 🙂

Hand, Foot, and MF Mouth Disease.

Yes. That MF stands for an expletive. A dirty word. A curse word. Moms curse, too! And there’s just no other way to convey the frustration of the situation, because I thought it was so random and unbelievable. But I mean…leave it to me to contract a childhood disease, right?

Anyway, here’s the story about how I got Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease, and how it’s affected me as an adult.

My family and I recently took a trip to Hawaii. It was a really nice and relaxing holiday, and when we got home, all seemed like it was going to be back to normal (sleep schedules and stuff).

BOY WAS I WRONG.

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Dazed, confused, and fussy…but first, a selfie

We got back on the Saturday during Memorial Day Weekend, so we had an extra day to adjust to the time, get some rest, and do some laundry. We left for work on Tuesday, leaving the little guy with his grandpa (my dad), as usual. My dad even sent us a video of the tyke running around and acting like his rambcuntious self. But when we got home I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. He felt warm, and he just wanted to sit on my lap and cuddle.

 

Fresh out of the bath, waiting for the Tylenol to kick in

I took him upstairs to check his temperature, and BAM! 104.1. I started to panic, rushed to make a lukewarm bath, and give him some medicine. If there’s anything you can’t stand as a mother, it’s seeing your baby in pain. It was a rough night, so my husband and I both stayed home with him the next day. We used the Heal app to have a doctor come check him out, and the doctor diagnosed him with Hand Foot Mouth Disease. We couldn’t get him to eat or drink anything until after the Tylenol would kick in. He didn’t even want an otter pop, my poor baby!

I made a follow up with his pediatrician, just to double check him, and when I woke up that morning, I had a sore throat. I didn’t think much of it, as we had to get ready, have breakfast, and head out the door…

When his doctor confirmed that my poor babe did indeed have HFMD, I started to worry. She told me that I absolutely did not want to get it as an adult, and to make sure to be mindful and wash hands diligently. Well thanks doc. Too little, too late. The virus has an incubation period between 3-6 days, and my loving little boy enjoys hand feeding mommy and drinking from her water cup, and I WOKE UP WITH A SORE THROAT THIS MORNING.

We made our way to the pharmacy, because there was no way I was going to let this get me! I hoped taking extra vitamin d and vitamin c would help me stave off this infernal illness. But by the time we got home, my body started giving in. I was amazed at how quickly it came on, too. By 5PM that evening, I had a fever of 102 and couldn’t stop shivering for the life of me. Heroic doses of ibuprofen were the only thing that got me through the night.

Okay, maybe I’ll just get the mouth part of the disease like the kid did. I can deal with a fever and a sore throat. Bring it on! HA! Mother Nature slammed that door right in my face. When I woke up on Saturday morning, my hands were itchy and I could see the rash and blisters starting to form.

Not too bad yet. I can deal with this. I sometimes get eczema on my hands, so I’m used to a little itching and rash. But with a new day came a new symptom. The telltale HFMD rash spread up my arms and found homes on the soles of my feet. One blistered pretty badly, making it painful to walk. And those were itchy too! (Side note: the pediatrician said that when children get this rash, it generally isn’t too much of a bother for them. And now I’m think, “Well, I’m someone’s CHILD, doesn’t that count?!”)

Symptoms developed from Friday to Thursday. I had to stay home from work for the week, because there was no way I was going to be able to concentrate, let alone comfortably do all the typing my job requires. I also didn’t want to infect anyone at work. HFMD is highly contagious. By Tuesday, I was so frustrated by the itching on my hands, I had a full on cry. I looked at my son feeling so guilty for being so short tempered with him that day, making me feel worse, making me cry even more. I have never been so uncomfortable in my whole life. C-Section recovery included. The rashes on my hands just kept spreading, and the only way I could deal with it was either by wrapping ice packs around them or taking Benadryl — which, as an added bonus, made me sleep like a baby!

 

Yeah, my hands also ballooned up, as my amazing husband kindly pointed out, “Your hands are super swollen, babe. You should probably go to the doctor. Don’t touch me.”

Today is day 12 of this whole ordeal, which is supposed to last for 7-10 days. The blisters on my hands and feet have dried out and are beginning to peel. It’s super sexy.

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While scouring the internet for anything that would bring me relief, I found a total of maybe 6 blogs with adults recapping their experience with HFMD. One woman said that soaking her hands and feet in water boiled with guava leaves helped her, but I had nowhere to get them. A relative of mine got HFMD on her honeymoon. She said her doctor prescribed her some heavy duty ointment for the itching, but she had to sleep in a big jacket, knee high socks, and gloves to stop herself from scratching. Another person noted that washing with African black soap helped to dry out the blisters, and Amazon Prime came to the rescue on that one. I’m not sure if it actually helped. I’m still using it, though. It smells amazing. And the last post I found followed someone through 80 days of dealing with the illness and aftermath of peeling. EIGHTY DAYS. And here I am on day 12.

Moral of the story: don’t let your kid touch elevator buttons (or anything in a hotel for that matter), and don’t so lovingly accept when that same kid is trying to feed you with the hands that he’s been drooling all over. It’s not like we don’t wash the tyke’s hands, either. We are very diligent about messes and cleanliness, especially in public. But I guess sometimes it just slips through the cracks.

…at least the itching has stopped ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I Don’t Need My Husband.

You always hear the phrase, “It takes a village.” And I mean, from a sociological standpoint, I could absolutely agree. There are internal and external influences that all materialize in the person someone grows up to be. So I get it. It does take a village.

But I’m talking about the normal day to day activities. I know there are single parents out there, who live this life every day, and I wholeheartedly applaud them. It’s freaking tough. So when my husband went away for the weekend, for the first time since before we got married (and definitely for the first time since we had a baby), I was actually kind of scared. Of course I had had my son by myself during maternity leave and short trips to the store, but we’d never been by ourselves for prolonged periods of time. Days. The draft title of this post was, “It Takes a Village. Seriously.” I thought I was going to have a really difficult time with it, and I wanted to write about my experience.

The truth is…we were fine without my husband. was fine without my husband.

Our first excursion was out to Friday music class. We’ve been going to baby music classes since our son was 4 months old, so this was really no big deal. Bubs loves his music class and he’s a dance machine. It’s a good way to burn some of that robust toddler energy! We sang, we danced, we popped some bubbles.

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The wonder of bubbles!

After class, we hung out at home for a bit, before mommy got bored and decided a trip to Target was in order. We got a some stuff we needed…and a bunch of stuff we didn’t, as per usual. For dinner, I made the tyke a bean and cheese burrito, which he proceeded to eat like a savage — taking bites along the length of the burrito. But I mean, at least he ate it. He ate the whole thing.

Bed time was a synch, too 😏

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I’m a hot mess.

Saturday:

With husband out of town, I took the opportunity to do something that I enjoy, but he has no interest in, which is…The Renaissance Festival!

Don’t ask me why, I can’t explain the fascination. Maybe it’s the music, or the way they speak, or the way they dress…definitely the food. I just really enjoy cheesy stuff like that.

I loaded up the kid and made the 40 minute drive to the fair. I made the mistake of taking the wrong stroller, so my arms got a good work out pushing through dirt, gravel, and rocks (and carrying the kid when he found it better to whine about not wanting to sit or walk…).

We ate some food, looked at some of the cool vendor booths, listened to music, and danced. But then it got hot. Like, really hot. And my kid doesn’t ‘do’ hot. We were on our way to the other side of the park to watch some jousting, but the bubs was just getting too fussy. We turned back around to head to the exit. (Guess I’ll just have to go see jousting next year, husband!)

After being out in the sun all day, covered in dirt, sweat, and sugar, a bath was in order! My kid loves the water. I should probably look into some swimming lessons soon.

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Cheeeeeeeese!

Sunday:

Daddy comes home today, but first…let’s party!

My niece’s 4th birthday party was this day, and we could not have been more excited! It was Moana themed, so naturally we started the day with the movie. He’s the cutest freaking thing when watching musical movies. He dances and tries to sing. He even gets the timing right on the big “OOOOOOOH!” in ‘Your Welcome’! UUUGGGH, my heart. Seriously.

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My brother only lives about 2 miles from us, so we didn’t have far to travel, but we still ended up being late. I blame the kid. He’s often referred to as the kid who never naps, but magically naps when we have stuff to do. Or when we’re at Disneyland. I think he does it to spite us, but who knows.

I love my nieces. Even though we don’t live far from each other, we don’t see them as much as I wish we would. Anyway. The party was super fun. My amazing sister-in-law got Bubs the cutest Hawaiian shirt for the party, too! He matched with the newest addition, and if the two of them don’t warm your heart, then I don’t know what would! We had Hawaiian BBQ, the kids had a bounce house, Moana came and sang and danced with all the kids, and these were the most amazing cupcakes!

Of course the cupcakes came from my favorite little baker, Joy & Co. Cupcakes. Maybe I’m just biased, but they’re so good. She even made some extras with a tiny shot of rum…and uuuuggggh. The drool. If you live in LA and need some delicious and affordable cupcakes, definitely check her out on Instagram at @n.joycupcakes

Sometimes during the party, husband got home from his weekend away, so as things started to settle down, Bubs and I booked it home to see our missing piece. Picture messaging and FaceTime just aren’t the same thing, and we needed daddy cuddles!

Overall, the weekend was great. I wasn’t nearly as helpless as I thought I would be, and me and the kid had an amazing time together. While it was only a couple of days, it showed me that I don’t need my husband. I got through the weekend quite swimmingly. But I do want him. He adds to the joy and love in our days, and life just isn’t the same without him. I told him he’s not allowed to leave again! LOL.

I tried to do a little vlog type thing to track our weekend especially for Husband. I wasn’t planning to share it with anyone but him, but you can check it out too, if you’d like ’cause…why not?