Every day, you devote your life to caring for your child as a parent. You've been helping them learn and grow for years, taking care of their physical, mental, and emotional needs. However, the incredible joys of motherhood are accompanied by frustration, questions and emotional strain. Remember, it’s impossible to meet everyone’s needs if you don’t meet yours first!
Parents who are the primary caregivers for children with special needs are at danger of burnout - particularly if they do not receive assistance and time alone. Anxiety, depression, exhaustion and isolating are symptoms of burnout. Get creative especially now, just a few days away from Christmas. Time alone can look like booking extra time for your kiddo in therapy, take that extra time for a walk outdoors and the music you like!
Burnout over extended time can lead to chronic illness and overwhelming dread. Self-care requires deliberate effort and not just allowing teamwork, but creating it by surrounding yourself with people who share your values. Building a solid support network for yourself can give you ideas you wouldn’t have come up with alone, especially exhausted and warrioring! a dependable therapy group for your child. Parents may feel as though they must do everything themselves, yet asking the aid of others is critical - support groups, socializing with friends, and even carving out time for a hobby and protecting that time for yourself each week.
What does parental burnout look like?
Basically, parental burnout occurs when a caregiver is emotionally exhausted, mentally and physically tired, and they feel like they no longer have anything to offer. This happens when a parent is preoccupied with their child's demands, causing them to become more stressed and disregard their own needs, leaving them weary in many areas of their lives.
The basic truth is that when parenting pressures get more intense and compound over time, they can have a significant impact on your capacity to be the best parent you can be.
Some mental and emotional symptoms of burnout may look like:
- Emotional fatigue
- Feelings of ineptness
- Lack of concentration
- No longer sensitized to others
- Mood swings or increased irritability
- Isolation from others
On the other hand, physical symptoms include:
- Having difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Tension in the muscles (usual areas are the jaw, shoulders, and neck)
- Digestive problems
- Immune system dysfunction
- Clenched jaw or teeth grinding
You may be suffering parental burnout if you identify with these symptoms. First, you will benefit from some stress-reduction tactics to help you get a little relief from the spectrum of anger, physical pain, gastrointestinal discomfort, poor sleep and sadness. You can get back to appreciating the gift of motherhood with small steps.
How can we manage parental burnout?
Parental burnout will be avoided if a network of support and self-care are established. Although parental burnout is not a problem that can be solved immediately, there are certain activities that may be taken to assist in creating greater emotional space and availability.
Openly discussing emotions of burnout may lead to social support which is a valuable resource for stressed-out parents who lack coping skills - although it may seem evident, your spouse might be one of the most valuable resources for preventing or curing parental burnout. It's crucial to realize that no one can read your mind even if you've been together for years and have a terrific connection. You have to be precise when you ask your partner (or anybody else) for assistance. However, acknowledging that you're having difficulties isn't always simple - burned-out parents frequently feel lonely and humiliated which makes it difficult for them to have productive conversations with supportive individuals.
There's no reason you should have to deal with the stresses of parenting on your own. Surround yourself with family and friends who understand the hardships and rewards of being a parent. You may support one another during difficult times and celebrate one another's accomplishments during times of progress. Making time for family, friends, and your significant other a priority is incredibly useful. While it may be tempting to isolate yourself when you're stressed, spending time with your friends and family can really help you relax.
Practice general self-care.
It's reasonable that you would overlook some responsibilities during difficult times. It is fine to order meals or prepare a modest dinner. It's fine to take a longer shower than usual just to get some alone time. If you're a night owl, set aside time after everyone has gone to bed to unwind, meditate, or practice yoga - whatever soothes you. Get up before the rest of the family and enjoy some "me" time.
When you're fatigued, the last thing you want to do is exercise (and if you're suffering from extreme burnout, excessive exercise must be avoided), but staying active may help you feel more energized, elevate feel-good hormones, and more. Exercise doesn't have to be an hour a day at the gym - it may be as easy as taking a walk with your pet, playing tag with your kids, or stretching your body on a regular basis. Combining exercise with your support system is another excellent strategy to improve your self-care!
What you put into your body might also aid or impede parental burnout. When parental burnout strikes, parents typically turn to caffeine and sweets for a boost of energy, but eating nutritional, balanced foods can offer your body with better fuel than a cold cup of coffee and your kids' leftovers in the morning. Ordering groceries or meals online, asking a family member or friend to prepare a meal for you, and/or working with a qualified dietician (sometimes reimbursed by insurance) are all options for ensuring nutritious food is accessible when hunger hits.
Things are tough right now, and self-care for you and your child should be your top concern. The Holidays add even more tasks. Give meaning to what you choose by prioritizing and letting go if something just doesn’t fit today.
Take small breaks.
Taking breaks is an important part of recuperating from any form of stress, but it's not always possible for everyone to schedule a stress-free escape. Even little breaks can help - for example, closing the bathroom door for 5 minutes to take deep breaths or listening to a guided meditation in your car after grocery shopping can help you be more resilient as a parent. Focus on finding chances for relaxation and enjoyment in ways that are manageable for you, rather than taking an entire weekend off or even an hour.
It might be beneficial to reconnect with your ideals and refocus yourself to the significant components of parenting when you feel distant from something you care about. We can get lost in the routine, and making special times with your children to remind you that parenting can be fun takes effort.
Even if it feels overwhelming, arrange a simple, low-stakes activity with your child, a trip to the park or viewing a treasured movie - to practice behavioral activation. Remind yourself of your child's excellent attributes throughout the event or afterward, as well as the talents and qualities you bring to the table as a parent. When tiredness and anger return, remembering the meaning you've felt as a parent in the past may be a helpful resource.
Seek professional support when necessary.
Parental burnout requires attention, especially around the holidays. Given the severity of the effects for both parents and children preventive actions will make a big difference.
Pacific Solstice is here to assist you if you are having trouble going through this on your own. If you think that you might be showing signs of depression, please visit our page here to know the treatment options available. If you're interested in receiving treatment from us, the first thing we'll ask is that you complete this assessment and verify your insurance. We know what it's like to be a parent especially if your child is struggling with mental health issues. It is not a sign of weakness to seek assistance when you require it. Keeping all of this to yourself might have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health which would be detrimental to you and your child who depends on you. We will be here to help.