Parents have always struggled to balance work and family life, but the pandemic has pushed many of them to burn out. A 2021 study surveyed 1,285 working parents and found that 66% of them meet the criteria for having burnout. The pandemic has brought new challenges, like homeschooling and working from home, that have made it difficult for parents to find time for themselves.
In addition, economic uncertainty and the stress of caring for sick loved ones have added to their burden. As a result, many parents feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If you’re a working parent, it’s essential to take some time for yourself and find ways to relieve stress. Otherwise, you could end up facing burnout.
Recognizing the Signs and Identifying Causes
It is not always easy to be a parent. Sometimes, it can feel downright exhausting. Parental burnout can come from feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for their children. They may also feel pressure from society or their families to be perfect parents and provide everything their children need. Additionally, many parents struggle with balancing work and family responsibilities, which can lead to feelings of exhaustion and stress.
It can take many forms, but some of the most common signs include: feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, irritability and anger, forgetfulness, brain fog, isolation and hopelessness, trouble sleeping, and physical symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, taking a step back and assessing what might be causing them is vital. You could be overwhelmed with the demands of parenting, or it might be something more serious, such as depression or anxiety. It’s essential to be self-aware of the symptoms of parental burnout and seek help because if you ignore them, they can lead to serious long-term health problems.
Parental burnout can significantly impact both the individual and family unit. For the individual, parental burnout can affect how you emotionally and physically feel. It can also affect how you think. They may struggle with a chronic illness that can affect how they interact with the people around them.
For the family unit, parental burnout can lead to conflict and tension, especially when parental burnout has led to changes in behavior. It can be challenging to cope with a parent struggling with burnout. It can put a strain on relationships and negatively impact the children. Such an environment may make children struggle with behavioral problems and have difficulty in school.
Take Steps for Prevention
The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent parental burnout from happening in the first place. Here are three of them:
Take a break
It’s one of the best things you can do when you feel like you’re starting to hit your limit. You can take a few minutes each day away from the parenting duties and do something you enjoy by yourself. If you want your children to learn while you take a break, you can send them to daycare or pre-school, where they can socialize with others and be under the care of professionals. But if you prefer they stay home, you can hire a babysitter to watch them for a couple of hours.
Set realistic expectations
Trying to be a perfect parent is a surefire way to end up feeling burned out. Instead, focus on setting realistic expectations for yourself and your family. Know that there will be good and bad days and that it’s perfectly normal. This will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed by the day-to-day parenting grind.
Have a support system
Parenting can be a lonely endeavor, but you don’t have to go it alone. Seek support from your partner, family, friends, or even a therapist or parenting group. Talking about the challenges of parenting with others can help you feel less isolated and more capable of handling whatever comes your way. You can also rely on your support system to watch the kids when you need a break from parenting duties.
Moreover, parents can get help for burnout by talking to their doctor, joining a support group, or reading articles and books on the subject. No matter how parents choose to get help, it is essential to remember that they are not alone in this. Many other parents have gone through the same thing and have come out the other side. With help, parents can overcome parental burnout and be the best parents.
Parental burnout can be a never-ending cycle of stress, exhaustion, and emotional turmoil. However, by recognizing the signs and symptoms, you can take steps to mitigate the impact of parental burnout on your family.