Have you ever felt homestead burnout is real, and this is a hard life to live? Encouragingly, you are not the only one who has felt this way. The good news is we can manage ourselves and the perspectives we have to avoid and manage when we are feeling burned out.
Do you feel like you know what you want and believe in the life you are trying to build, but also feel overwhelmed and unsure how to keep up with the energy your homestead dreams require?
I understand this. This is called burnout.
In fact, I would say the edge of burnout is how I have lived most of my adult life, moving to a homestead sort of compounded that.
My burnout factors
Kids, babies, breastfeeding, home-cooked meals, homeschooling, kids activities, housekeeping, livestock and homestead animals, gardens, preserving foods, expanding the homestead, and renovating an old farmhouse.
Sure homestead planning and goal setting is a big part of things. However the jobs are never-ending, and things aren’t even close to how I want them.
In the past, I dealt with this being a falling apart, half-slept, over-caffeinated sorta mess. But I guess growing up (and becoming more mature) has its perks. Now I just want solutions.
Recently I began to search for answers. With some research and soul searching I found my ah-ha moment. I realized my priorities are sort of turned upside down.
Metaphorically speaking, I am working from a building with a crumbling foundation.
Take a look at this picture. It is an ideal prioritization pyramid. Not ideal because of what is on it, but ideal in its structure and balance.
I am not telling you what needs to be on your pyramid (this isn’t exactly mine either) just simply use this as a guide.
At the foundational level, these will be priorities that are of significant value to you. Takes time and energy from you but in the end, gives you more time or energy as well. These keep you functioning as a happy and healthy human and, give you more time or energy for your other endeavors in life. However these mainly just serve you.
At this mid-level, these are the priorities that are significant for both you as well as others. Think of these as both taking and giving resources to you. Value is felt on both sides of this exchange. This level requires your time and energy but serves both you and others.
This level is only taking resources from you, but we still feel value in them. This level requires time and energy from you and mostly serves others. Even though these serve as more of a service to other we get a feeling of accomplishment and contribution from them.
The burnout problem
I began to realize that whenever I am in a pinch I cut more out of that foundational level because let’s be honest that is the level that seems selfish. The foundation simply serves me. Taking time to work out, eat healthy, or meditate makes me feel good, but doesn’t really serve anyone else.
So when time, money, or resources are low I (and many other people out there, maybe you) pull that foundation apart thinking that is the good place to pull from.
However in the end we are just taking more of our solid foundation away. Much like a Jenga tower soon we will fall, being top-heavy from all the priorities that take from us. All because we didn’t mind our foundation.
The answer to the dilemma of how to avoid homestead lifestyle burnout is to look at those priorities and see where we are cutting ourselves (our foundation) short.
Not building enough of a foundation is just as much a problem as putting too much on the higher levels.
So think of burnout as 1 of 2 problems and you can fix it by adjusting these two things to fit better together.
- Not enough foundational priorities
- Too many higher-level priorities
Can we cut something off the contribution level, until you feel replenished? Can you cut back something on the reciprocal level while you add back to that foundation? Can you delegate something? Can you push something off to a later time in life? Can you let something that’s acting top-heavy go?
I am the type of person that has a hard time letting things go, and putting “me” back in my priorities.
But I am also realizing if I am doing all these other things, I have to be a strong foundation to hold it all up.
Learning that without me being the foundation of the priorities in my life, and working to make sure that the foundational level is strong, none of the other levels will get accomplished either.
I have decided to start focusing on those things, they must take more of a priority. So with that, these are the things I try to do to make sure my foundational level is proportionate to the rest of my pyramid.
- eat healthy food at all times (fast/convenient food is a fast way to crash)
- workout regularly
- time to have downtime (meditation, journaling, personal growth time)
- getting away (date nights, weekends, or overnight away)
- cut from my top level when feeling low, not the bottom level
Homestead burnout is a real thing. No one who first dreamed of this picturesque life assumed that this would come up. We, homesteaders, are dreamers, workers, doers, and never-quitters. In all that we don’t realize we are suffering and feeling fried and coming apart at the seams. Interestingly enough, when we step back and look at the dreams and then the priorities we can see we just need a little shift. After we make those shifts the burnout lifts and the life, dreams, and joy come back into view.
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.