Panel Discussion on Burnout and Fatigue: 3 Women Get Real About Their Struggles, Part 2

In the first part of this panel discussion, we focused on what led to a situation of burnout and fatigue, how the panelists recognized it, their signs and symptoms and more.

This time, I wanted to focus on the hopefulness that exists, even when we find that we’ve come to the end of our rope. Winter does not last forever. Spring is coming.

I chose this tulip image because it well describes that simple but strong hope that I have in my own personal season of slowly coming out of burnout. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. The Lord can do mighty things in us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness.

In this second half of the panel discussion, I am continuing my interviews with:

Crystal of Money Saving Mom

Kimi of The Nourishing Gourmet

Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up

Balanced?

Image by carbonnyc

5. What steps have you taken to bring balance and proper priorities back to your life?

Donielle :: For me the biggest step I took was realizing that this was not God’s will for my life or my family and that even as hard as I worked, it would become nothing without Him. Once I put that thought above everything I had going I was able to see the proper perspective on everything else in my life giving time to those things that he needed me to spend the most time on.

I say no a lot more! I’ve stepped down from a few things at church, I’ve said no a lot more to my blogging commitments and I spend more time at home with my family. I schedule my days more often than not and it’s brought a sense of peace in our home. While my house may not ever be sparkling clean right now, the functions that need to happen are happening again. In fact, today my husband has clean socks in his drawer and not in the “waiting to be folded” hamper where they’ve been for the last several months!

Kimi :: For me, I had to give up a lot of things that would normally be a proper priority. I had to keep my standards low for house cleaning, for example as my energy was so limited I could only do so much. We also decided not to have me teach piano again for a time so that I could spend my energy on healing.

Crystal :: Since my husband and I had that discussion, I did a major pruning of my commitments and responsibilities. I started saying “no” more than I said “yes” and truly evaluating an opportunity in light of our family goals and priorities before just quickly committing to it.

I also purposed to commit to undercommit, to do less and be more. In addition, I set up a time budget and blocked sufficient time for sleep, family time, exercise and margin in my life.

You can read more about the changes I made and things which have been a huge help for me in my series on Time Management 101.

Image by seabamirum

6. Which physical things (rest, exercise, supplements, diet, etc.) have been the most valuable for bringing healing and strength back to your body?

Donielle :: I started to rest more often and sleep when I felt tired. I went to bed earlier and took naps when I could on the weekends. Instead of getting up with my husband at 6am and working, I began sleeping until the children woke around 7:30. Just like our small children who we require to rest each day in order to help them with their mood and physical rejuvenation. On mornings when I began to feel more energetic I began doing a daily devotion instead of opening up the computer. Getting into the Word as soon as I rise has given me focus and purpose throughout the day as well as brought me back to the path the Lord set out for me. The extra rest after a month helped to to then focus on the next big changes – my diet and schedule.

I had been so tired and worn down that cooking and dealing with making foods from scratch became to overwhelming and we began to cut corners where we could, which of course made my issue worse! But I began to focus on giving my body cleansing foods in order to slowly get rid of the junk that I knew I had built up. I began to take extra supplements along with my cod liver oil, a couple of the most important for me being a dessicated adrenal supplement ad a vitamin B complex. The extra supplemental boost helped me “get over the hump” so to speak so that I had the energy and focus and drive to deal with the bits of my life that had crumbled and desperately needed help.

Kimi :: Rest, finding peace in a very simple lifestyle, and lots and lots of sleep. At one point I was sleeping as much as my infant. 10-12 hours at night with a 2-3 hour nap. Eating very nourishing food at regular times was also important (apparently it’s stressful on your body to eat sporadically). I was also placed on adrenal cortex which helped greatly over time.

I would say, sleep, good food, and taking adrenal cortex really helped me build back my health. It’s not that I feel completely “cured” at this point as I’ve had some adrenal issues come back after a very hard and stressful year, but I can say with certainty that I improved 90%,

Crystal :: Committing to making sleep a priority has been a great help for me. I aim to get no less than seven hours of sleep every night and shoot for eight hours, if possible. This means that I do my best to go to bed early and we rarely go places on weekday evenings in order to facilitate an early bedtime.

Taking 5htp and a good whole foods multivitamin have been very helpful to me. I also try to eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains and good protein. I limit sugar and processed food consumption to only a few times per week, if that. In addition, I’ve found that 30 minutes of exercise at least five days each week invigorates me and makes me feel so much more cheerful and energetic.

We’ve hired a mother’s helper to come in one day each week and assist me with laundry, cleaning and organizational tasks. This has been an enormous blessing and I’d recommend it to every mom with young children — whether you’re experiencing burn out or not!

Image by D. Sharon Pruitt

7. What are the most important lessons you have learned? If you could tell other women one thing, what would it be?

Donielle :: In most every way I feel like I shouldn’t be the one giving advice since I very much feel like I’m still stumbling some days! But what I can say is that it is important to take care of ourselves. When you begin to feel tired it’s time to step back and rest, when you can’t because of circumstances to cling to the one true hope we have and the strength that can only come from Him. We need to be careful not to overextend ourselves, causing internal stress and we also need to be aware of our husbands wisdom as many times they can be a better compass than we can over our own activities.

Things will be only what the Lord will let them be.

Kimi :: One of the many lessons I learned was to accept God’s plan for my life (which looked dramatically different from my own). I would have rather have had energy to accomplish many things, but instead I had to learn to accept my limitations and do the best I could with the energy, life situations, and resources I had.

Crystal :: You are not superwoman. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t seem to do what other people can.

Stop comparing yourself to other women who appear to “have it altogether”. Stop trying to be someone God hasn’t called you to be.

Seek the Lord with your husband to decide what your own family’s priorities are and then guiltlessly say “no” if an opportunity comes up which doesn’t fit within those parameters.

Image by photographybyjoelle

Resources and Suggested Reading

From Crystal:

The Worn-Out Woman

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Shopping For Time (Stephanie’s note: I second both this book, and The Worn-Out Woman!)

From Donielle:

Related to her answers to Quesiton #6: Vitamin B and Cleansing foods

And I’ve really been liking this devotional book that we got at Relevant: “Jonah; A Life Interrupted

From Stephanie:

I also loved Crystal’s Time Management 101 series and thought it was extremely helpful.

Tell Your Time (a fabulous ebook that is really helping me in the process of creating a new plan and schedule for the new year, honestly evaluating my time and capabilities, and giving myself a whole lot more margin and grace, without sacrificing productivity)

What would you add to these thoughts and suggestions? What has been helpful in your own journey?

Top image by kiwanc

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About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for this panel discussion.

    Stephanie, it is more an example to me that you have stepped back from some of your pursuits than if you were to plow ahead despite your fatigue.

    Kimi, I follow your blog because I love your recipes – but the fact that you’ve been posting less since your pregnancy started shows me you don’t prioritize your blog above your family or your own health. And I appreciate that and like that. I’m immensely thankful for all the time that you have spent towards making your recipes/info available to the world, because I know you battle fatigue and your resources are so limited. Thanks!

    I remember there was a Crystal who shut down her blog awhile back? Her reason was that she just wanted to concentrate more on her family and being a steward of all that God has entrusted to her (including her health, I’m sure). Is that the same Crystal as the one from this discussion? At any rate, while I’m sad I can’t read any archives of hers, it was a GREAT example to me to see her scale back like that.

    I don’t have a public blog, but there are ambitions and pursuits that I must constantly guard myself against, knowing the limitations that God has set in my life. I also know that if my health suffers any more than it presently does because of me overextending myself in non-essential areas, I will be accountable to God on that fateful day when He asks me, “Well, with the health that I did give you, how did you use it to steward the family I gave you?” “Oh, I used all that good health up on other pursuits….” Oh, the shame!

    I am also noticing that sooner or later, even those women who seem to “accomplish much outside the home, be it ministry or business” have their batteries run out eventually. They get sick, end up with some sort of diagnosis.

    I wish that we would be a more humble people, constantly aware and making others aware that “only if the Lord wills, shall we do this and that.”

    Thank you, ladies, for your gentle spirits! May we become more in the image of Christ, who never did anything to please others, but only what pleased His Father.

  2. I read The Worn Out Woman years ago. I really needed it! I was running myself ragged. And then I had kids. :) Four years ago I read Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent. It was life-changing for me. (My review here: http://kimberlys-cup.blogspot.com/2007/01/breathe.html) It was after this book I decided to take a one year sabbatical from all my leadership roles. It was during that year that more major changes began.
    That was three years ago. I am happier than I have ever been! I learned a lot about myself and evaluated my life and WHY I was doing everything. About a year ago I came across TWOW book and had to smile. I was no longer that woman. What an answer to prayer!
    I still have hard days and life has been realllly stressful do to a lot of upheaval and multiple moves, but it’s still so much better now.
    Hang in there!!! You can change your life!

  3. For me, getting more sleep, and also just rest times during my day, being less busy (which for me means going out only once or maybe even zero times other than church each week…my husband has taken over errands/groceries for the most part for now while I heal).

    Also a BIG help for me has been to change my thinking. I start to feel stressed about something and anxious and I try to think about how God would want me to view whatever it is. Then I meditate on scriptures that support more Biblical thinking towards the issue. I wrote out a whole bunch of scriptures on paper that speak to me about this time in my life and read them over and think about them every day, and pray after that.

    Ultimately I would love to also hire a mother’s helper once a week a season while I recover but so far have not been able to find anyone.

    Another thing that as I have begun to feel better is that I have been decluttering and its SO much easier to clean now and that is making me feel so much better. I cleaned my bedroom so fast today all because I didn’t have to shuffle so much around anymore and it was so nice. This makes me feel good and also helps me not to get into a place again of being overwhelmed.

  4. I am so glad to hear that some of you are/were sleeping so much. I need about 10 hours per night to get through the next day. And, I can easily take a nap at any point in the day, and sleep for three hours. I know this is a huge sign that I have issues that need to be addressed. I’m so glad I am taking Donielle’s Sugar Detox Challenge and her Fertility Workshop. I’m looking forward to figuring out my issues and living a fuller life with more “life”.

  5. While I don’t know that I have adrenal fatigue, I have suffered for most of my life from serious anxiety disorders that leave me pretty exhausted on a regular basis. I think I’ve finally learned to just accept it and go with it. I no longer use an alarm clock (I’m lucky I don’t have to work outside the home, otherwise I would have to use one) because I figure my body knows how much sleep it needs (and the answer seems to be 8-9 hours). So if that means when I have insomnia I sleep late, then that’s the way it’s going to be and I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

    I also really limit my social commitments. I’ve always been a loner, so this isn’t too hard for me, but sometimes it seems like everyone I know wants to do coffee or lunch in the same week. Our life is very labor intensive. Between the cooking from scratch, chicken chores, growing food, walking the dog, sewing, mending, etc. I really need to be home for much of the week. So I try to have no more than 2 social dates per week and try to do my errands while I’m out seeing friends. It’s not that I would refuse to see a friend who’s only in town for a few days just because I already have a lot going on that week, but I try to limit my scheduled activities. If I’m not here to do all that work, I feel stressed and overwhelmed and we don’t get great meals and I run out of clean underwear, etc! Fortunately my husband does his own laundry so he’s not dependent on me for clean underwear :-)

  6. Donielle wrote, “For me the biggest step I took was realizing that this was not God’s will for my life or my family and that even as hard as I worked, it would become nothing without Him. Once I put that thought above everything I had going I was able to see the proper perspective on everything else in my life giving time to those things that he needed me to spend the most time on.”

    LOVED that part! Thanks again for this series/resources, Stephanie. :)

    Tammy

  7. This has been such an encouraging series to read! I just blogging about my own struggles with adrenal fatigue. Trying to be a good Mom and struggle with fatigue, anxiety, etc. is hard. I just requested the books that were suggested from my library. Thanks!

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