8 Ways To Deal With Parental Burnout

Do you know if you’re burnt out? 

Parental burnout is real because parenting is hard and none stop.

It might be the best job you’ve ever had or one you’re not too happy about all the time, and that’s OK. But it’s the same as any job – it can be bloody stressful at times! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Whether it’s a ‘job’ or not. It takes up A LOT of time and with anything that takes up a lot of time, burnout can happen.

You might be burnt out if…

  • You have difficulty concentrating or staying focused
  • You’re feeling cynical about parenthood
  • You lack energy even when you just slept
  • You act irritably – you might snap often
  • You have physical symptoms like headaches and digestion changes
  • You’re doubting yourself often

Parental burnout is tough and unlike other forms of burnout, like work burnout or exercise burnout, where you can take a step back from the thing that’s causing the burnout for a while and even take a holiday away from it, that’s not so easy with kids!

As I write this I’m acutely aware that some of these points just aren’t an option for some of us. This is where parental burnout gets really tough but I hope that there is just one thing on this list that can help.

And as with anything, finding the thing that works for you is really important. Forgot everyone else – focus on you!

Here’s what you can do to help reduce the mental and physical strain.  

And as with anything, finding the thing that works for you is really important. Forgot everyone else – focus on you!

  1. Acknowledge that you’re burnt out – This is THE first step.  When we acknowledge that there is a problem, our bodies and brains take a sigh of relief that we’re aware of it and we start looking for and seeing solutions.
  2. Let go of perfect parenting – we all love our kids and want to do the best by them but being burnt out doesn’t help them at all so set realistic expectations and stop comparing yourself to others who seem to have it all together ‘perfectly parenting’ their children.  Decide on 3 things that are important to you when it comes to parenting and go with those – everything else is a bonus. Parenting is really that hard and that’s OK.
  3. Get active – Getting active doesn’t mean having to find someone to watch the kids which can be a full-time job in itself.  Find classes you can take your kids to or involve them in getting active if they’re old enough or go for long walks – hopefully your little ones will sleep and then you can stop and sit on a bench for a while and just be.
  4. Set boundaries – take a moment on a Sunday morning while making breakfast to think about how you’re feeling and what you’re able or willing to take on for the coming week. Say no to anything outside of those boundaries. Know your limits and stick to them.
  5. Let go of unimportant tasks – following on from point 4 about setting boundaries. Does it matter if everyone’s bedding and clothes are ironed?  Nope. Does it matter if the house is tidy and clean at the start/or end of each day. Nope.  Find the tasks that really do not matter to anyone but you and let go of them AND let go of the guilt of not doing them too. If they matter to someone in the house then they will find a way to do them themselves
  6. Call in support – Talk to your other half and others around you – do they see that you’re burnt out and struggling?  What are they able to do to help?  

    Can your parents, siblings, in laws or your other half stay with the kids at home for an hour or so on a regular basis so you can take some time for you.  Even if it’s popping out to a café or to the park with something yummy to eat and a hot drink with a book in hand to sit for 30 mins to an hour and do NOTHING. Away from home so you don’t start doing all those unimportant tasks.
  7. Sleep – Pahhahahaha.  Sleep, yeah right, with kids?!?!  This doesn’t necessarily mean more sleep cos we know that’s not always possible with kids! (Although if you’re staying up to get some alone time, then this is a good time to prioritise sleep instead.)  Getting better quality sleep when you’re able to sleep can help though. 

    Set yourself up for quality sleep – ensure you have a dark, cool bedroom, have a night light for when you need to get up in the night rather than anything really bright, like the torch on your phone or a bedside lamp, reduce caffeine intake or cut it out altogether after 2pm, forgo the glass of wine or alcoholic tipple in the evening. Get outside and get as much natural light in the morning as you can even if it means standing at your front door with it wide open at 9am.  If you can get actual sun on your face for 10 minutes even better!
  8. Seek professional help – there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a professional for help. Talking things through with someone who isn’t involved in your life and who will just listen and not pass judgement or add to your worries can be extremely helpful.  Feeling heard can make things feel a whole lot better.
  9. BONUS point – Check in with yourself often – spending 10 minutes checking in with how you feel every week.  Think about what’s working and what isn’t.  This can be helpful in understanding what to let go of and what’s important. And we’ve come back full circle to point 1, acknowledging that you’re burnt out and working through the list again to find areas to create change.

If you’re feeling like it’s all too much or you’re not sure how you feel right now, come and chat to us at DILAM. Fridays are drop in any time between 9:30am and 3pm and I’m always there to listen with a non-judgmental ear with a hot drink on hand.

Charli

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