If you are new to the show, I’m Jenny a fellow working mom and founder of Your Life Rocks an online resource for working Christian moms.  I hope you download the app, subscribe to this podcast because Your Life Rocks is all in for you. Both on the podcast and in the resources in the app you will find tip and inspiration to live your best life as a working mom all the while keeping your faith at the center of it all.

Today’s podcast is a bit personal for me, but I wanted to share this with all of you because what I am going through right now, I know so many of you might be as well or at least will be dealing with because I hear from you all the time when you do feel this way.  I see it in other facebook groups and hear it from my friends as well. And this isn’t my first time dealing with it. I’m talking about burnout, exhaustion, and working with an empty bucket and feeling out of balance.

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When we feel out of balance, crazy, overwhelming it can be two things.

  1.  An area of your life has been neglected and you need to shift your attention to create more balance.  
  2. You have been neglected.  Meaning that your bucket is empty.

I don’t usually talk a lot about taking care of ourselves because I think it is a slippery slope.  It can very quickly become self consuming, and even self worshiping if we are not careful. Right now the world is very much about looking out for you first, putting yourself first, ect.  

As Christians, we know that when we put anything ahead of God, it is idolitry.  This includes our fleshly needs.  

But with all of that said, I do think we need to talk about taking care of ourselves.  When we are giving our all at work, at home, in our communities, to our friends and extended families….we can be left empty if we don’t have anything that fills us back up.

So that’s what we are talking about today.  Balanced self care, how to fit it into your already full schedule and how to get yourself full so you can continue to serve in all the roles that God has called you to.  How to fill your bucket back up so you can continue to give.

Let me first say, this is something that I think we can all relate to.  The feeling of Losing ourselves, feeling empty, exhausted, is something that we have all experienced.  But I wanted especially to talk about this topic right now for two reasons.

  1.  We are going into a busy season with the end of the year activities both at work and at home.  This time of year we all are giving a lot of our selves. So let’s be proactive with our selves so we don’t get to Christmas and feel numb and tired.
  2. I always say that I am right in this working mom struggle and blessings right with you and right now, this is the message that I needed to give because it’s the message I need to hear.  The activites that we are going to walk through are things that I need to do for me.

If you listened last week or are in our Facebook community, you heard me share a little bit about what my family has been going through the last few weeks.  My youngest son, he is 10, has Cystic Fibrosis. He has been fighting a sickness since the first part of September and his lung function has been declining the last year and half with a serious drop after getting sick.  We tried treatments at home with the guidance of his medical team, and they failed. So, we were admitted into the hospital for a 10 day stay and then we did another 4 days of at IV treatments. After all that, he is still not where he needs to be with his health.  But at this point, he has been on antibotics for a very long time and it’s taking it’s toll on his digestive track. So we need to give it a rest for 4 weeks and then start the whole thing all over again.

This whole thing has been hard to deal with along side work, taking care of my other son, and everything else.  Luckily, I have a community of family and friends that are supporting us and praying for us. All that said, it has been emotionally and mentally exhausting and sleeping on the little bench bed in his hospital room wore me out physically as well.

I had other plans for topics for this week’s podcast but I have to tell you, I was too empty to record it.  For the first time in almost 4 years of this podcast, I was at a loss for words to speak.  

Literally, I knew I was at a breaking point when my husband was going to bring me home chips and guac from Chipotle and they were out of guac and I cried.  Yes, I cried because there was no guac. Really I cried because I was tired of the resistance. Everything feels heavier and everything that is a resistance seems bigger when we are exhausted.

If you have cried over something silly, know that it’s not silly.  You are having an emotional response to something bigger than whatever is right in front of you and it’s a sign that you need to fill your bucket.

One thing I noticed over the last couple of weeks is that no one else can fill my bucket for me.  At first I had the thought, “I am taking care of everyone elses needs, who is going to take care of mine?”

Truth is, I had friends and family asking what they could do and offering help.  But it wasn’t what I needed.  

If you find yourself here, empty, tired, depleated….here is what I found to be helpful to me.

  1.  Feel all the feelings and be honest with myself about them.  This was hard for me. I wanted to be brave, strong, resourceful and still do all  the things. To do that, I needed to move the feelings deep deep down so I could function.  But they were still there and trying really hard to come out. And they did. Crying over guacamole.  You can do all the other things we are going to talk about but if you don’t acconoledge your emotions and let them run  their course, they will push themselves to the surface.  I’ll also add that while I was feeling the feelings and allowing myself to experience them, I needed to feel these feelings with God.  When I tried to process them without God, it turned into a pitty party way to fast. But with God, I found comfort and permission to work through the emotions.
  2. Take care of your physical body.  Sleep, rest, go easy on yourself. Think about how you take care of a toddler.  I am not saying you are a toddler, but if you think about how you take care of a toddler, you keep them with a consistant bedtime, give them a nap when they need it, make sure they bath and get dressed, eat healthy, do something creative, and take them to a place where they can run and play and get their energy out.  This helps them sleep well. As adults, we are not that different than toddlers other than we don’t have an adult supervising us to make sure that all these things happen. When we find ourself depleated, we need to start taking care of ourselves with the most basic of these needs. It’s easy to eat what is convienet or eat out of stress.  Fight the urge. Make healthy choices and limit sugar, and take your vitamins.
  3. Test and try things that will fill your bucket.  When you find something, double down. It might be alone time, it might be time with special people, working out, reading, going on a walk, doing something creative, or something else entirely.  I am a total intavert. I thought I needed alone time, but when I scheduled a few hours of it and did it, it didn’t help. So, I tried something different. I went on a date night with my husband and reconnected with him.  I also deep cleaned my house….I know it sounds crazy but I think the combination of the physical activity with getting stuff done that felt productive really helped me fill my bucket.
  4.  Lastly, was the thing that I wanted to do the least but probably helped the most.  I listened to other people. I didn’t do anything for them and I didn’t talk about me.  I simply listened. Everyone is going through their own stuff and when we start to see that, it can change our prerspective and take us out of the pit we might find ourselves in.  This is one of the big reasons that when we talk about the 3 pillars of balance community is one of them. If you hav not heard me talk abou tthis before, the 3 pillars are 1. Putting God first in your life and everything goes through the filter of Jesus.  2. Building a community and 3. Setting up systems and habits that promote your definition of balance.

Community is huge.  Hearing my husband talk about his thoughts and emotions around our son being sick, what he was facing with work was huge.  So was talking with an employee that needed advice and mentorship with a situation and talking to my best friend about stuff that was going on in her family.  Again, it wasn’t me doing anything….I was too empty to do. It was just me listening to them to take my focus off of me.

Actually, I have one more thing.  (this is number 5) Going through this and slowly filling my bucket, it has me thinking of the things that I need to adjust going forward.  I almost said change, but that feels like too much work. But there are adjustments that I need to make to my SOPs and habits to keep my bucket full so I won’t end up so very empty again.  It’s hard to come back from empty. It takes time and grace. For our life balance members, I will be diving into monthly and Weekly SoPs for filling up our buckets on the exclusive member podcast.

I hope these 5 things help give you some direction if you find your bucket getting empty or like me, found the bottom of the bucket.  Tho it is not fun to experience, it has brought me to a deeper understanding of the grace offered by the spirit of God. His presence in this situration was felt even if it was not seen.  Whatever you are facing he is there with you. And I love hearing the stories of what God is doing in people’s lives. It’s powerful to spread the glory of God, to give hope, and to reflect on the things that matter most.  That’s why I am putting together a series of these stories of what Jesus has done or is doing in our lives. The series will air through the holidays so we can stay focused on the reason of the season. If you have a great testimony that you would like to share, visit Yourliferocks.com/walkingwithJesus or send me an email at Jenny@yourliferocks.com

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