10 Strategies to Avoid Parental Burnout
Parenting burnout is among the most common parenting dilemmas out there, and what’s more, most parents don’t even know that they are suffering from it. While parenting is an extremely rewarding experience, it brings with it a string of responsibilities that can slowly start to take a toll on your overall health. Have you ever felt exhausted in every way, and gotten annoyed at little things? Are you living in a perpetual state of supply and demand, where you are constantly taking care of your children’s needs ahead of your own?
If yes, then it is likely that you are dealing with parental burnout. First things first, this does not make you a bad parent. It is natural and humane for anyone, especially mothers, to feel exhausted after working around the house all day and caring for the children. Parenting is rough on the body. There is very little sleep, erratic eating schedules, less socializing and more stress. You somehow make it through everyday routines simply because you have to. Doing this over and over every day can undoubtedly leave its mark on you. Just remember, it is never too late to ask for help.
Let us talk a little about why parental burnout happens, and how to avoid falling into this vicious circle.
What causes parental burnout?
When a caregiver experiences complete emotional and physical exhaustion due to continuously putting the needs of the child before their own, parental burnout tends to happen. In order to understand how to counter this, it is important to first observe the patterns that cause burnout.
Children can be exhausting to keep up with at any stage of life. It is quite fair for parents to feel like they have to give their everything to raise their children. In this process, however, the children’s needs are always put first, and there is barely any time for the parents’ needs to be addressed. Other than this, there are many other reasons that can cause parental burnout. Some of them are:
The need to be ‘perfect’ as parents
- Lack of external support in the form of family members, nannies, and so on
- Single parenting
- Hectic work routines
- Financial constraints
- Excessive participation in activities surrounding the children
While this list is not exhaustive, it highlights some of the most important reasons that can lead to parental burnout. Some factors may have a greater impact than others, but they all ultimately add up to lead to a form of extreme burnout.
Now that we have looked at what leads to parental burnout, let us examine some of the ways in which this manifests. Most parents have reported the following:
- Extreme loneliness
- Anxiety and depression
- Crying spells
- Mental clutter
- Short temper
In addition to these, parents often find themselves criticising their parental abilities for not doing as much as they should. They focus on perfectionism and if anything goes out of plan, they can flare up. Sometimes, parents often find themselves fantasizing about escaping the situation they are in. This can even lead to negative feelings towards their children.
10 ways to avoid parental burnout
Do you find yourself feeling this way from time to time? There is no shame in asking for help. Try out these strategies that can help you avoid parental burnout while caring for your children.
#1. Always take time out for yourself
It is very important to make enough time for yourself every day. Even if it is five minutes, make sure that you reflect on the day’s activities to recognize how you are neglecting yourself. Once you make out the patterns, try to right your mistakes by giving yourself the mental space you deserve. Simply sparing ten minutes every day for self-care can make a significant difference in your life.
#2. Go easy on yourself
There is no need to be perfect. You might be a parent, but you are still a human being and you will make mistakes. Beating yourself up for every little thing here and there will take a serious toll on your mental health.
#3. Ask for help
Sure, we all like it when things are under control, but when they spiral out of control, there is no shame in asking for help. Inform your family members that you need their assistance with taking care of the child. If you feel your mental health deteriorating, do not hesitate to talk to a professional.
#4. Socialize more often
While it is a very fulfilling experience, parenting can also be extremely isolating at times. Spending every wakeful moment with your children can result in strained or fading friendships, making your social life difficult to maintain. Remember that spending too much time with your children exclusively cannot be good for you or them.
#5. Channel your anxiety in creative ways
Go back to pursuing the creative activities you enjoyed before you became a parent. This is one of the best ways to let out your suppressed emotions in a healthy manner. What’s more, this way, you will be setting a wonderful example for your children.
#6. Make sure to get some exercise
Make an effort to spare some time every day for exercise. Bodyweight exercises are great for parents because they help in building strength, which is certainly a necessity when it comes to raising kids. Exercise can make you feel better instantly.
#7. Practice mindfulness
Doing this will reaffirm your faith in yourself. It will prove to you that you are doing the right thing and will help you make minute behavioral changes that can alter your very outlook on parenting.
#8. Learn to rein your emotions
Try not to act upon your emotions. If you are in a fit of rage, try to calm yourself down before making any hasty decisions. Remember that children can mirror behaviors, and if you do not practice controlling your emotions, you will eventually set a bad example for them to follow.
#9. Do not compare yourself to other parents
It is very important to not constantly compare yourself to other parents and feel inferior to them. Tell yourself that everyone has a set of skills and you are just as equipped to raise a child as anyone else. You are doing your best.
#10. Support your child’s needs
Some children just need more attention than others. There’s nothing wrong with it. If your child needs extra care growing up, instead of taking it as a sign of bad parenting on your end, learn how to adjust to your child’s needs.
Parenting is a lifelong process filled with ups and downs. It is quite natural to feel overwhelmed and overburdened at times. With these tips, you can learn how to navigate parenting better and take care of yourself as well as your children.