As busy parents, we are constantly pushing ourselves to ensure we met the demands at work and home but what we don't realise is that prolonged stress and pushing through the fatigue can have a significant impact on our bodies. It's easy to live in a state of denial where you tell yourself you will be fine but I can tell you from personal experience that it can happen to the best of us and even those of us that have always been in perfect health.
The bottom line is that we are not designed to remain in a constant state of 'fight or flight' and if we stay there for long enough, our body function will change and can result in everything coming to a grinding halt. If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms then chances are you need to step back and assess your workload
Aches and pains
Changes in libido
Frequent colds and infections
Inability to focus
So you are now probably thinking that you may need to find some more balance in your life but the thought of letting go of some of the tasks or asking for help is extremely overwhelming. The hardest part is getting started so here are a few suggestions to get you feeling more in control.
1. Make a list of all the tasks you complete on a daily, weekly and adhoc basis then categorise them in terms of priority, must/nice-to-haves and whether they need to be done by you. This exercise really puts things into perspective and you may realise there are some tasks you are completing too often or not very efficiently.
2. Think about the things you enjoy doing and make a realistic plan to increase the frequency or reintroduce them back into your life. It's okay if you don't know what you want to do because let's face it, it has probably been a while since you had some free time so give a few things a try like picking up a book or going out for a walk and see how you feel.
3. Research ways to complete tasks more efficiently so you can free up some time. There are several resources available that won't cost you a cent such as how-to blogs and YouTube videos of people sharing their tips and successes. All it takes is a simple internet search!
4. Talk to friends and family or engage an expert. Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed that you can't see the wood through the trees. Consulting with someone on the outside that can see things more objectively can help as we are understandably so emotionally invested we can't see how we can change. Don't be too embarrassed to talk to someone as it is likely they have been through it themselves or have helped dozens of people in similar situations to you.
I am sure you have heard the saying "you can't help others if you can't help yourself" so if you want to make sure your family will always be taken care of, make sure you are healthy enough to be there for them. Don't live in regret of missing out on the things that make you happy because you are always too busy. It may not happen overnight but making small changes everyday will improve your quality of life.