Understanding Parental Burnout: The Signs & Solutions
Parenting can be wonderful and stressful, and when parents lack the resources needed to handle the related stress, they may develop parental burnout. This is characterized by an overwhelming exhaustion related to one’s role as a parent, and a sense of parental ineffectiveness.
Parental burnout is normal, but not permanent. It comes with a set of specific signs and symptoms. But what makes the problem worse is that parents are often ashamed and guilty about being stressed or burnt out. They hide what they are going through and don’t reach out for practical and emotional support.
Sharing with you all the usual signs of parental burnout:
1 One of the early sign of parental burnout is extreme physical and mental exhaustion. This leads to increased frequency and intensity of conflict between parents.
2 Losing interest in things you once loved doing.
3 Feeling resentful towards your baby, your partner or the world and experiencing emotional outbursts like sadness, irritability or anxiety. If we are socially withdrawn, irritable, and struggling to show empathy, we don’t communicate well and miss opportunities to strengthen the parent-child bond.
4 Being emotionally detaching from the child or avoiding them. The constant feeling like you need a break keeps on erupting.
5 Constant guilt and shame on realising that they are not being the parent they would like to be, .
6 Wanting to be alone, not socializing. Having trouble controlling your worries and being less hopeful.
Recovering from burnout first requires noticing the symptoms. Once you do that, there are different solutions to help you heal from parental burnout. Try these :
1 Strengthen your support and resources.
Seek support from friends, family or neighbours. Share the load at home with your partner. Be open to asking help from loved ones. If need be, hire a helper or a nanny. Strength your support, share your work load, reduce the stress and take some time out for self.
2 Talk your heart out to someone
If you are finding things challenging, talk about your feelings and emotions with someone you trust, who will hear you out in an accepting and non-judgemental way. Pouring your heart out is an important outlet when feeling overwhelmed.
3 Do something for yourself
Indulge in activities that make you happy. Be it yoga or meditation, dance or music, etc. Spend some me-te everyday and seek moments of joy in small tasks.
4 Manage your expectations from self
Lower your expectations and the standards you have set for your self. It’s ok if the house is a mess. It’s ok if you didn’t cook an elaborate meal on the weekend. Give yourself a little grace. Do our best- and let that best be good enough.
5 Seek professional help, if need be.
If your symptoms last for long and no other solution works, it is time to reach out for support as you might be need professional help. Do not hesitate to visit a doctor or consult a therapist. It won’t make you a bad parent. If would rather make you a wise one.
Finding a way to take care of ourself as a parent can be a challenge, but it is possible. Do things that nurture you rather than all the other things that ‘must’ be done. If you give yourself some time there is nothing to feel guilty or anxious about. Remind yourself that you are attempting to be a better parent, and that you can set an example for your child and show him/her the importance of self-care.
This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge run by Blogchatter
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