The Burnout Trap
From coming out the other side of burnout a fair, few times over my nannying life and experiencing some tough situations, I want to share some of the really effective ways I have changed my life not only at work but in my personal life too.
My experiences with burnout were a mixture of feelings of exhaustion and being completely drained. My anxiety was really high every day from worrying about everything, I dreaded going into work, I wasn’t really sleeping and I would just wake up really irritable, upset and unhappy, even on my days off. Recognising burnout is the first steps to change, so if you or anyone you know is showing any of these signs or you’re not feeling yourself, you may be experiencing burnout!
As caregivers we naturally put the needs of others before our own, giving them all of our energy and love, yet we never talk about the silenced subject of how important it is to treat ourselves with the love and respect we deserve!
I now know how important it is for myself to allow time to unwind and recharge as it is impossible to continue putting in 100% of my energy to those that need me if I don’t look after myself first.
So here are some of the things that I do to keep on top of my wellbeing…
1. Have a Morning Routine
Creating a new morning routine was a complete game-changer for me, a few years ago, I was living a complete chaotic lifestyle!
I would get up 15 minutes before work, rush around trying to find something to wear, rummaged around for my lost keys, rage in traffic, miss breakfast and do my makeup in the car, before running to the front door!
If this sounds familiar to you, I would have a think of what little changes you could
put in place to make your mornings less stressful.
To start with, I just changed a few little habits like putting my keys where I could find them, setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier and planning my outfit the night before and it really made such a huge
difference to my overall mood. I now get up 2 hours before work, enjoy a whole list of things and have a whole calming routine just to have some me time and I love it!
If you set your mind up with a positive feel from the moment you wake up, your day will
automatically be less chaotic and you’ll find it easier to handle stressful situations.
2. Plan Time for Myself
Create a healthy balance between work and play. Nannying is a tough job and we need to make sure we are getting enough time for ourselves to unwind, have fun and take our minds off work.
Imagine your wellbeing as a glass of water (or wine!). If you keep sharing your water without filling it back up, your cup will run dry. This is the same for your wellbeing, if you don’t spend time doing things that make you happy, you’ll end up giving every last bit of energy you have and burning out.
Even if like me your self-care consists of just simply snuggling up with a Netflix series, getting your nails done or having a long soak in a bubble bath to unwind from the day, make it your priority. Do something for you everyday.
3. Have a List of Mood Boosters
Picture this… it’s 10 am, the kids are screaming the house down, you’re already on your 5th cup of coffee and you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to make it till 7pm, we’ve all been there!
Here are a few of the things I use regularly to change up my state of mind:
– Music; If I’m having a tough day and I’m feeling a bit low or lethargic, I stick on some music and have a little moment to dance around and belt out some lyrics.
– Gratitude; The brain finds it impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time so I
think of or write down 5 things I am grateful for and it always makes me feel good.
– Get outside in the fresh air; I get so stressed and not to mention bored, when I’m cooped up inside all day with the kids so I try to plan an outside activity every day even if it’s just a quick walk around the block, sometimes the garden just doesn’t cut it for me.
– Put a smile on my face; If I’m feeling like I’m going to go crazy (which feels like a lot during this lockdown) I just put on a fake smile. Although it can feel completely weird and cringy, it tricks the brain into a happy state so I always get a little boost of happiness, it’s so simple.
4. Make Healthy Communication
We all know communication is key as a nanny so if you’re struggling with certain things at work with the kids or at home talk to the family. From previous experience, I’ve had a lot of anxiety and fear about speaking to parents (especially as an introvert I don’t like confrontation) so found it much easier to suffer in silence. However I realised that if I don’t tell them about it nothing will change, so I might as well just put on my big girl pants and say something.
One family, I worked for never paid me on time. I used to get so stressed out every month and took it out on everyone else at home. One month it was 9 days late and I missed all my bill payments which forced me to say something. It turned out they were completely mortified that I hadn’t said anything for so long and ended giving me a bonus to apologise – result!
Sometimes families don’t mean to put extra stress on us, they probably have a lot going on too, but it’s no excuse. I now have a very open relationship with my family, even if I am having trouble at home I let them know so it gives them the heads up that I might be a little off sorts. Us nannies are only human at the end of the day, we have lives outside of those 4 walls.
5. Stop Being a People Pleaser
I cannot believe how many times I’ve cancelled personal plans to stay at work just to keep the family happy or saying the words “don’t worry, it’s fine” to things that I would go home and cry about.
Although it is not always easy to do, I now try my best to only say yes if I am happy to, otherwise, I feel the stress building and I get a little resentment feeling against the family, when actually if I’m letting them think I’m happy to help, they won’t know any different. So if you don’t want to do the extra hours or that extra chore, then don’t make yourself. You do not have to feel guilty about not doing everything that is asked of you.
It can be very easy for some parents to use us nannies to their advantage sometimes and not think anything of it. The worst experience for me was tuning up for work with no prior warning to five extra children for the day, yes, five! I felt I had no option but to say yes with them already being in the house. I spent the day feeling so used especially as the 3 mums stayed in the garden and enjoyed gin & tonics all afternoon!
Layout your boundaries, stick to your guns and know your worth. Happiness and having a stress free life is all about making things right for you and I hope sharing some of my stories and tips gives you the confidence and awareness to know your worth, set out
healthy boundaries with your families and gives you a few mindset hacks to keep yourself feeling good and preventing that dreaded burnout.
After pretty much feeling like I’d hit rock bottom, I became fascinated with mindset and self development which lead me to train as a Mindset Coach. My mission is to help support as many nannies as I can from burning out within their job roles, using positive mindset tools and techniques to live a happier, calmer life.