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Avoiding Burnout

As I sit here and write this article, it’s early in the morning (think around 4 am). My office is dark. I have my coffee. The house is asleep. The window is open and I get to listen to the songs of several varieties of birds.

I have learned, through trial and error, that as a busy, working mom of 3, I must have these hours to start my day. Hours where it’s just me. Where I belong only to myself and no one else. Where I get to relax and slowly get into the grove of my day. Have some quiet, calm work—of my choosing—before the kids wake up and my 8-5 starts and my house turns into a hectic ball of energy. But it took me a while to realize this part of my routine was a MUST.

Burnout is a very real thing in all our lives. I feel that in these past couple of years, it has gotten far too common. I've struggled with burnout all my adult life. I want to do so much. I think I can do so much and when I push myself to get it all done, I suffer severe consequences, all of which I keep to myself so as not to impact the different things I'm trying to get done or the people who depend on me.

Doesn’t that sound miserable? Maybe it sounds familiar? Are you on that same track? Have you been on that track for a while and looking for a way off?

If any of this reminds you of yourself, you've come to the right blog post. I'm going to share my experiences, how I’ve dealt with them in the past, and what I’m doing differently now to avoid future burnout so that I can be there 100% for the things that really matter to me.

my backstory

I've been married for sixteen years this September. Yeah, I know--that's a LONG time, but it's been great. I have alwa

ys been very active and prefer a crammed day than a slow one. Or so I thought. Turns out, I just had a habit of over-committing and over-extending, and didn't know how to use the word "no" with confidence and without feeling guilty.

Before kids, my days were filled with writing and competitive Irish dance (performances, practice, and competitions). Hubby and I were always having outings with friends, ourselves, or family. Fast forward a few years and add in three kids.

Currently my kiddos are 8, 4, and 7 months old. I'm no longer dancing, but I have a full-time, work-from-home job, it's summer break for my older kids, my baby is getting WAY more active, I write part-time, and we have family activities—all being scheduled around my burnout periods. Which were happening more and more often for longer and longer periods (I’m talking months, people).

This was NOT what I wanted from my life. So, what was I doing wrong? How could I stop it? I couldn’t, could I? It was all just part of a "busy life". Right?


My burnouts (for me) were entirely my own doing. Which was great because it meant I could change things; I had the power to go down a different path. And that realization was invigorating and gave me hope. But where to start? How to do it? This is how I started to solve my own burnout problem.

identify the parts (controllable and uncontrollable) that are contributing to your burnout.

As a mom and wife, I am always giving myself away to my family. Bending over backwards, double booking myself, overextending my mental and physical capacity. But I was doing this not because my arm was being twisted, but because I loved them and wanted to give them the moon and the stars. Have you seen the going rate of the moon and stars? Inflation has hit that sector hard: my sanity, my energy, my mood, my peace of mind. I never got to fully enjoy what I worked so hard to make enjoyable for everyone else.

Work was full-time and demanding. I was just coming back from maternity leave and had to “relearn” everything and figure out where I fit in again. Then there was doing all of that with a toddler in the house and a newborn added into the mix.

There was also my writing. One book with an editor, another book in my personal editing stages, trying to relaunch a series and grow my social media following and presence.

And how about our home to manage

and take care of? Do you happen to know how messy spaces can get when there are kids involved?

Then there was my extended family.

Where did it end? You need to identify the things you can control and the things you can’t. It gives you a sense of power and all of a sudden, you’re more than just keeping your head above water, you’re actually swimming.

Learn your warning signs and triggers

If we pay attention to our patterns, we start to learn warning signs or triggers that send us over the edge, or make us shut down, or make us lose just a bit more patience. As I started to understand what was happening to me—that I was doing too much—I was able to see the results of that.

The constant demands of my kids and job left me with shorter patience, even after my workday “ended”. Constant noise was also something that got to me in a way that it hadn’t in the past. I didn’t have the energy to do the things I really enjoyed. I filled my “me” time with sleep or squeezing one more thing in.

Learn to rest & ask for help

When you’ve learned your triggers and warning signs, it’s important to know you need to take a step back and let go of some things so you can rest. Is it reading a book? Taking a bath? How about just sitting in silence with no stimulation of any kind? Going for a walk? Find out what works for you.

If you have a partner or kids who are old enough, use your voice and ask for help. Don’t make it sound like a suggestion (that was my problem). Tell them with confidence and authority, “I can’t do this all by myself anymore, I need you to help me…” and then be specific with what you want them to help with. Bathing the kids at night, folding the laundry and putting it away, cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, etc. This has been a game changer for me.

identify your priorities and goals

When you’ve accepted that you can’t keep doing what you’re doing, you need to sit down and identify your goals and priorities. For me it was my family, followed by my writing. If what I wanted to do compromised either of those, it wasn’t an opti

on for me. Listing out your priorities is so helpful when it comes to parsing out your available hours to get things done.

Learn your actual available time and live within that allotment

This was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do more than what I was able to. My thought process was a) having a lot to do on my list will motivate me and b) this time will be the exception where I can get more done than I can.

I had planners. Lots of them. The problem was, I didn’t know how to use them properly and then I would stop. For me, the HB90 system from Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings was a GAME CHANGER. If you have an issue with setting priorities and managing your time, this may be the system for you.

Learn to say no

This was the most important part for me. I always said yes and found a way to squeeze something else in, even when it was at the expense of myself or my family or one of my goals. Now that I have on paper what my available time looks like, it’s so easy and effortless to hand out those NOs because I honestly have nothing to give. And I’m okay with saying no more, now because I can look at a piece of paper with my available time and see that it literally cannot work. My life is being lived for my family and my goals, not to make other people happy.

Being okay with not getting it all done

This last part was the key that tied everything together. Once I went through these steps and realized that I could only get so much done because of the priorities and goals I set myself, and once I learned to say no, it was so freeing to accept the fact that I couldn’t get it all done. And I became okay with that because I was seeing progress. I took my time and energy away from the tasks that were sucking my lifeforce but not giving anything in return and putting it into something that was much more rewarding for me.

Now that I’m better balanced on what I need to do and actually doing it, I can keep a better eye on my triggers and warning signs of b

urnout. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen; we do all still live in a world that’s moving at a bajillion hours per second, but I get to choose what I’m doing, and I have the tools needed to make healthy choices.

So, if your facing burnout, stop and take a breath. Maybe go through the points I listed out above and put your life on paper, figuring out what you can and can’t do. Then make the changes you need to so that you can breathe and enjoy what you were put on this earth to do. Share with others what you’ve found!

See you in The Writer Community!

Meet RaeLynn Fry

Rachel loves all things Young Adult. She writes and reads in multiple long as it’s YA. Her current dystopian series, The Corporation Series (Caste, Outcast, The Heir), is available now with the last installment coming out in 2021.

She lives in Idaho with her husband and two kiddos. She loves coffee, music, dance, the outdoors, and a good handbag and pair of shoes. And she is still in search of the perfect scary movie. You can follow RaeLynn on Instagram @RaeLynnFry or visit her website to learn more about her and her books.


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