Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Momism: An Hour a Day Keeps Burnout Away

I just need a few minutes to myself. Let's see what's on the computer. My Facebook friends seem to be having a good day. Wow, look at all their activities, wish I had some me-time. I love my family, love my veteran but is it selfish to just want a little time for myself?

The answer to that is NO. In fact, a little time for yourself could even help. An hour a day can keep you from feeling closed in. What some people don't realize is, that hour could cover a wide variety of things. The key is finding what makes you feel good. It could be a hobby, reading a book, writing, coaching a soccer team, power-walking, playing dominoes or cards online, or even window-shopping at the mall. How do you figure out just what to do with that hour?

Let's start with a little bucket list, not due to aging or illness but a list of things you love or enjoy. What are five things you would do if you could right this moment in time? Sure, it could be traveling, breaking a record in some field. Put those on the list. Long-term goals are good to have; they help with motivation.

Now, what else did you write down? Something you might consider as small or “silly” could actually be the secret to keeping you from burnout. Maybe your desire is to write a book. Maybe you want to paint a picture. Maybe you just wish you had time to play a game or two of dominoes, Phase 10 or pinochle but there's no one around to play. Perhaps you want to put together those scrapbooks for your kids or grandchildren you've been promising yourself you would do.

The thing is, you don't have to change the world or spend a lot of money that you may not have. You just need to remember that another important person in your life is YOU. Now, the other half of this equation is usually “When do I find the time?” For most people with a veteran suffering from a brain injury and/or PTSD, the days are filled with emotional roller coasters.

Are you a morning person? I am. It actually started when my son was in Iraq. I found myself getting up early and having my coffee on the front porch while writing poems and essays. People think that's neat when they hear it but the truth is, I was getting up early “just in case”. If a car pulled into my drive with a Chaplain and/or an officer in uniform, I wanted to make sure my younger two children were not awakened by a knock at the door. Thankfully, that never happened. Still today, years later, I get up early and I write. It is my quiet time, my hour a day keeping the burnout away.

Look at your schedule and find in it one hour to put aside just for you. Get up an hour earlier or do something in the afternoon while the kids are at school or with friends or do something for an hour after the family has gone to bed. Some people even break it up into two half-hour sessions of alone time. It just depends on what works best for you.

Take that hour and fill it with whatever fulfills you inside. Work on something creative, relax and read a book, get some exercise in, play a couple of online games. You will find that having an hour to yourself each day will help you when you are dealing with the aftermath of having a loved one come home from war with PTSD, a TBI or any type of injury whatsoever.

Do not feel guilty taking that hour for yourself because you will find that by doing so, you will be making yourself stronger and more patient when you are needed by and for your loved ones. An hour a day keeps burnout away. Try it and you'll see.

If you need any help figuring your little list out or how to fine tune your me-time, feel free to email me at Your emails will remain confidential.

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