Have you heard of parental burnout? Most parents can relate to the feeling of being overworked and overtired, and we are so often expected to do it all and to be it all.
There are times when parents become totally and utterly exhausted due to work or family commitments and caring for their children, constantly feeling pressured to do everything, forgetting your own health in the meantime -this is known as "parental burnout".
There is no doubt parenting is extremely hard - it is twenty-four hours a day with little time for rest or relaxation. However, if you are finding it increasingly difficult to cope and are finding it hard to juggle everything properly you may be hitting the “burnout” phase and now is the time to recognise you need help.
We all need it sometimes. Here are a couple of symptoms of burn out and a few tips on how to aid your path back to a refreshed less stressed parent.
Signs and symptoms of parental burnout.
- Extremely exhausted and drained- All parents get tired but there is a time when you feel shattered and no amount of rest is helping. It may be that sleeping all night you still feel tired and are experiencing headaches and your body feels sore and achy.
- Irritable moods and lack of interest in anything- You may find yourself moody more often than not and have little interest in going out for dinner or a few drinks with friends or going on your weekly cycle with the kiddies.
- Feelings under pressure and burnt out- At work, it is always extremely pressured and then upon arrival at home, the kids need to go here and there. You may seem to feel more emotional than usual and have a feeling of being unable to cope with what is expected of you.
- Not sleeping well and lack of appetite- You may be tired and dying to go to bed but once there, you are unable to settle as you are overthinking everything and re-running lists of things to do the next day. Having little interest in food may strike and not eating a healthy diet will only hinder your well-being.
- Being irritable with those close to you for no reason- The kids may cause ructions at home but no more than most days, however, you are shouting more than usual and it isn’t a side of yourself you like. Due to this you find yourself arguing with your spouse and your children and the house is like a ticking time bomb, not the way you envisioned parenting.
If you are recognising any of these symptoms and you want to improve your mood, here are a few tips.
How to beat parental burnout.
Make healthy choices.
Take care of yourself and put aside time to enjoy a past time and exercise with the kids or alone, and take a healthy approach to eating.
Try to slow down throughout the day.
Instead of hurrying all the time, relax and slow down and realise that things won’t fall apart if you don’t rush through everything.
Ease up on the housework.
The house doesn’t have to be a show home and the kids can help around the home with chores to ease the load on yourself.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Ask for help and talk to your spouse about your worries and together find a solution, whether you hire a babysitter or get family to help mind the kids once a week. The golden rule here is to look after yourself as you need to be in full health mentally and physically to care for your children.
Take a break.
If something isn’t working change it, if you are volunteering at a local club and feeling stressed take a back seat and let someone else take the reins even for a short period while you recuperate.
Be honest with your kids.
Be honest with your kids and tell them that running around every day after them is tiring you out so you need them to do their part, cooking dinner and helping with their siblings will go a long way in aiding the family.
If weeks pass and you feel defeated still, consider talking to a Doctor or a Counsellor about your feelings and work together to solve the problems. Be positive and while this is a setback and a difficult time there is help available and there is light at the end of the tunnel.