View Full Version : Is it burnout, or is it perimenopause?

01-24-2019, 12:03 AM
Hi everyone,
Wanted to ask older homeschool moms (especially those who may have experienced both and therefore might know the difference or offer advice) whether they felt a big shift in attitude along with the onset of things like hot flashes, mood swings, and other signs of changing hormone levels associated with perimenopause or being 40-something.

I have heard of homeschool burnout too, and don't know how much of this is that, or whether it's the hormones, or both, but basically, my older two are in school, in 10th and 5th grades, and my younger two are at home, being 8 and 4. And I have a wealth of books, curricula, resources, manipulatives, a fair amount of experience and hindsight, and now, no one to care for at home but my younger two. So why isn't this feeling like OH JOY! and a cakewalk?

Instead, I feel like doing the bare minimum. I think about all the resources, manipulatives, experience, etc. I now have, and just can't bring myself to do it.
Also, socially, I feel exhausted by having to be outgoing, even when the other person is interesting and I seem to keep talking. Thinking about how free I am to go pursue new social contacts and find activities and friends, sounds exhausting.

I keep telling myself "wait a while: get your house organized, and the sun will come out, tomorrow!" but then keep thinking "and what if DS8 would actually be happy at school? What if he's missing something he'd like? What if things don't actually pan out better 6 months from now? And why wait to try it...after all, if school turns out to be a mistake, you can always go back to homeschooling. You already have all the stuff!"

So can anyone relate? Is it hormones (I also seem to have more of an impatience with everythng, even a greater reluctance to do chores), or is it homeschool burnout?

01-24-2019, 02:08 AM
I can relate to just feeling overall drained and unenthused. For me, its an issue with multitasking and feeling like nothing is ever "done". I am a perfectionist, and it gives me great satisfaction to finish things off in an exemplary fashion down to the last little perfect detail. Yet here I am in the midst of things that are never finished or done well: work (e.g., just sent a job in and reopened it later and saw an errant comma and double up on a word—these things make me super anxious and imposter syndrome-y), cleaning/chores (always seems to be a rolling list of stuff to do but the house is never 100% clean so I can just sit and enjoy it), homeschool (planning the coming year, trying to finish off past year portfolios), career development (half finished books and plans), and so on.

I totally get the being exhausted by social things too.

So yes it sounds like you are feeling over it, and maybe depressed as all that can be symptoms of depression too. And depression is totally unpredictable and can just hit you even if you don't think it should. You recently had a lot to deal with related to your mother right? Even if it was kind of expected and you feel you have dealt with it, you may have become depressed without realizing it. Does it really matter where it comes from though? To me, what sounds like it matters is that you need to do something to rejuvenate yourself, and then maybe you can figure out what it is once you have the space to recover. But I would not keep on keeping on the way you are and hoping that it will right itself.

Maybe sending DS8 to school would help but maybe it would not. Maybe you need to talk to someone, or get some time on your own each day/week (if that is possible). My mental health thing is my once a week horse riding lesson and it helps keep me on track.

I hope you find something to do that helps, and in the interim, please chat on here about it if you feel comfortable doing so.

01-24-2019, 02:08 PM
Hugs, Crunchy!!! You’ve been through so much lately, maybe you need a break from responsibility for a month or two? Im sure taking care of your mom was draining, and youre still going through grieving from her passing.
You descrcibe the malaise from several facets of life - that sounds like general depression from this armchair psychologist.
Maybe you need to do that deschooling thing for yourself, to reset things and get in a mindset to put your life back in order? Take a vacation to change your scenery, even if you just visit some distant kin or friend for a week.

I personally dont think your younger kids not getting schoolwork attention from you for a couple months is catastrophic - there is always the summer! If you want to put them in school to help give yourself some time, that isnt the end of the world, either. They might like it, they might hate it, and you arent afraid to pull them if it doesnt satisfy you.

Hugs!!! Hang in there! Youve just been through a lot, its a lot to bear.... plus that whole menopause thing!

01-24-2019, 03:05 PM
As someone who has been dealing with peri-menopause for what seems like FOREVER (at least 6-7 years), I struggle some days because hot flashes during the night just won't let me sleep. It waxes and wanes, but over the past two weeks, I can't get any more than 2 hours of interrupted sleep before I wake up, scorching hot and drenching wet. In turn, I feel like I'm walking through a haze some days, and don't get as much as I wanted to done. If that is an issue, there are some things you can do to alleviate them, from prescribed meds to natural methods. I only do natural, and even then not everything. I just can't give up my 2 cups of coffee every day.

This lack of sleep can be causing your blahs.

In terms of homeschooling, I agree with the others that taking a break, or maybe shaking things up, may jump start your feelings about the homeschooling process.

If I can think of anything else, I'll pass it along. I hope life gets better for you!

01-24-2019, 03:13 PM
Yes, you've had big changes lately. Lots going on.

I would suggest scheduling an appointment with your GP. Some blood work will help rule out any thyroid changes (which can impact your mood and energy). They can also help address any perimenopause and / or depression issues that may be going on.

And seconding what NZ and AM said about sending kiddos to school for a bit or just taking some time to not school.

01-24-2019, 07:55 PM
Carol, did you experience nausea and motion-sickness when you were first going into perimenopause? I'm wondering if this is what's happening to me. I'm in my mid-40s. I notice that I have started to feel anxious when I drive my car, and once I had pull over to the curb because the road was bumpy and I almost felt a little out of control, like I was going to pass out. But then when I stopped the car, I felt fine.

I've also been experiencing nausea, particularly in the mornings and when on an empty stomach.

Crunchynerd, maybe you are still grieving and adjusting to the changes of no longer being your mother's caretaker. That is a big change. My family also helped take care of a neighbor who had MS. He passed after Thanksgiving. We are now dealing with the affairs he left behind and missing him. So I think it will take a while.

01-24-2019, 08:05 PM
Carol, did you experience nausea and motion-sickness when you were first going into perimenopause? I'm wondering if this is what's happening to me. I'm in my mid-40s. I notice that I have started to feel anxious when I drive my car, and once I had pull over to the curb because the road was bumpy and I almost felt a little out of control, like I was going to pass out. But then when I stopped the car, I felt fine.

Actually, something similar. I started getting panic attacks when I perceive traffic is bad when I'm on the interstate--4 lanes, lots of semi-trucks. I worry that I will pass out, so I'm the annoying driver in the far right lane actually going the speed limit. I had never done that before; I've driven that area many many times in my life.

But no nausea. I think this effects everyone a little differently. A funny yet discouraging answer my own mom gave me when I asked her how long this lasts was her reply of "Oh, honey---forever."

01-25-2019, 04:36 PM
Vicsmom, what is your blood pressure like? Mine is relatively low and (100 ish over 60 ish) and its very easy for it to drop low enough that I get nausea and feel like I am going to faint. First thing in the morning and when hungry are common times for this, as your blood pressure is naturally lower at those times. Also, when I get hot (exercising etc.).

01-25-2019, 05:55 PM
Thanks, Carol, for making me feel like I'm not going crazy. I am also getting anxiety when I am driving roads and freeways that I have driven hundreds of times. Your mom's quote actually puts things in perspective. LOL

NZ, my blood pressure is normal, but also on the low side. I had not thought of that. Are you consciously doing something to keep it in a normal range?

I went for a walk yesterday with another mom, and I was so nervous about how my body would react, that I carried a thermos of coconut water/water and a string cheese. Last thing I wanted was to double over in the park retching. We went a couple of rounds and I actually felt pretty good. This was late in the afternoon, though. Earlier this week, I had two bad reactions while running/walking due to unwisely timing my food intake.

01-25-2019, 08:49 PM
Sorry for thread detour Crunchy.

Vicsmom, I just don't restrict my intake of salty food. Its kind of a running "issue" in our family. Myself, my sister, mother, and grandmother have all been the same. My grandmother's got lots worse as she got older. Her main old age accidents were all due to drops in blood pressure and falling over because of that. My mum seems to be the same and now has to carry snacks with her everywhere just in case.

02-08-2019, 08:43 AM
In my mid-40s here. Been homeschooling since K for about 8 years now. There is no way I can answer your question unless I was a doctor and/or knew a lot more about your life—and even then?

I *was* in a place like that, however, about a year or two ago. Turned out it was a combo. I made small changes. The two best changes I made were working on my hormones and changing our friend group. The other homeschoolers we spent time with were very clicky and there was a lot of pressure to do everything together and spend as much money as possible. Not surprising, these people were burnt out, in failing marriages and had money problems.

I had enough. I left our COOP and stepped away from the group. This took very little energy to do, but it made a big difference. Suddenly, I had more energy. Apparently all that silly drama had been causing me a lot of stress and sucked up lot of energy... :D:

Then I started putting my kids into classes that were later in the day so we had time to have a regular schooling schedule at home. This has really enabled it so we can get work done without struggling. I also have them do a fun art class on the weekend through a local arts council. The kids love it, and because it's a couple hours long, DH and I have time for a lunch date.

I've also taken time to learn to cook. A big problem our family had was not being able to sit down together at the table regularly. Regularly eating out and/or prepped freezer food was expensive and unhealthy.

As for the hormone part, I took time to figure out what was going on with me and talked with my doctor. Sometimes it can help to see an endocrinologist. I may be doing that at some point. The biggest issue some women have can be progesterone deficiency (which I've always battled—even when I was younger), and supplementing for that has helped me.

When you think about it, menopause is really a lot like adolescence. We get tired, moody, have crazy cycles, and can break out like teenagers. Sometimes it can make you "hormonal" in other ways as well (which totally can confuse poor husbands). ....So we should treat ourselves the way we care for our teenagers. ...like getting good nutrition and sleep can't be stressed enough at this time (our bodies need a lot of rest—as well as protein, magnesium and calcium). I made self-care a priority. :D:

But all that said, the accumulated small (and some not so small) changes I made helped me pick up a lot of energy. Sure, I still get grumpy and tired, but it's become manageable, and I actually feel healthier than I have in years! It's not just been positive for me but the whole family (goes back to the saying "if mamma ain't happy").

So step back and assess. Then take baby steps to finding things to make your life easier... You'll probably find it's more than just one thing causing it. If it ends up including redelegating your work (including putting a couple kids in school), go for it and let go of the guilt.

You know what's best for you. If you are worried about it impacting your kids, keep in mind it's so very important us parents are happy for our kids' sake. It helps us be more grounded and models for our children how to deal with stress (which can equal happier kids in the future). ;)

02-09-2019, 05:04 PM
No problem! Thread detours are welcome. And I seem to be having a problem with hypertension...all my life before, I had fairly low blood pressure and pulse. Groan. I did have pre-e with my last pregnancy, and I am overweight, and who knows what all else. But I will be tracking my BP daily to look for a pattern in case it has to do with hormone fluctuations (it seems worst at that midcycle madness period). Meanwhile, I have to avoid salt, as I find it seems to go up now even minutes after eating something salty. Salt sensitivity, I found out, seems to go along with midlife BP increases. DASH diet, here I come. At least I'm familiar enough with low-sodium diets from when my hubby had to be on one.