As a parent we concentrate all our energy and time towards our children and there are days we are left with nothing else to offer and that is when we feel the burnout. A parental burnout is an exhaustion syndrome where in one feels overwhelmed and exhausted as a parent.
Parental burnout saw a rise specially during the COVID and lockdown situation where parents had to work from home and manage kids at the same time. Well some parents feel it’s okay to have a burnout, other feel guilty to admit that they are stressed and tired fearing that they fail as a parent by accepting this.
But hiding the feelings and covering them up is not going to help in the longer run. Parental burnout needs to be handled in such a way that it fades out gradually as over the period of time, it can take a toll on your mental health.
So first let’s see how parental burnout can impact your mental well-being;
Parental burnout can leave you feeling overwhelmed, tired, a sense of being an ineffective parent and create an emotional distance with your child.
First let’s see what causes parental burnout?
One of the reason to cause parental burnout is the level of stress on feels while parenting specially alone with no support from family or spouse. You may be dealing with a sick child or a special need child for a very long time which is making you feel exhausted to the core but you know can’t stop being a parent while it continues to drain you out completely. You may be a new parent living in a nuclear setup and the changes that comes in life with a baby are not going down well with you.
Most of the parents either shy away or hide in the pretex of work stress due to the fear of being judged by others. But if not dealt with at the right time, this burnout could distant you from your child as you will get annoyed and irritated with your child and would want to be away and yell at them.
So depending on your level of burnout, these may be the red flags that you may experience;
- Low tolerance level: You easily lose your patience with your children and family members or friends.
- Foggy Brain: You start losing focus and there is no clarity in your thoughts and decision making ability.
- Headaches: You go to bed with a headache, wake up with an headache and sometimes it lasts throughout the day.
- Anxiety: You start feeling anxious and get irrational thoughts.
- Feeling of Isolation: You get a sense of being alone despite being with your family.
- Increase in conflicts and arguments: This is especially with your spouse or other family members and friends.
- Short temper: You start snapping at your children, spouse and others. Things that didn’t matter in the past now ignite your anger.
- Feeling confused: Lack of sleep, poor diet and depression could leave you feeling confused over everything.
- Being sleep deprived: You wake up early, get disturbed sleep and keep tossing around at night.
- Crying: Your eyes well up for no reason and you just feel like crying at times.
- Higher stress levels: You get easily stressed over trivial things.
- Use of food, alcohol or drugs to cope: You start finding respite in food or maybe alcohol or even drugs at times.
- Obsessive compulsive tendencies: you get obsessed over things like washing clothes again and again to make sure they are absolutely clean or getting obsessed over the safety of your loved ones.
These mental issues can impact not just the mind but the overall body as-well like hormonal imbalance and lower libido. You will feel distant from your spouse and children which could mess up for family life.
So while you may feel the burnout, this is how you can help yourself to cope with it.
- Ask for help: Be it spouse, family or friends, ask for help when you need it.
- Self-Care: Only when you are well, physically and mentally you can care for your child, so take out time for yourself.
- Workout: Any form of workout, Zumba, Yoga or hitting the gym helps to relax the mind and body.
- Realistic Expectations: We parents want to do the best for our child but it doesn’t mean you go beyond yourself to do so. Do things you can accommodate and rest of the work can be delegated to others around you.
- Delegate: Continuing from the above point, from child to other members of the family, delegate work. Ask your child to pick up the toys and clean up while your spouse can do the grocery run.
Read my blog Parenting is not what you imagined? Here is how you can cope with it which speaks in elaborate on how to deal with parenting related stress
Raising a kid is both, rewarding and challenging. You will experience immense happiness at times and there will be days you want to just run away from everything and be alone. It’s all about striking the right balance and like I mentioned earlier, do what you can and not stretch beyond your ability to please others.
This blog is a part of Blogchatter’s #Halfmarathon and #causeachatter issue where I chose to talk about mental wellbeing this month.
30 replies on “Parental burnout and how it affects your mental health.”
You have summed it up quite nicely……every problem has a solution, and you have listed the remedies quite well……enjoyed reading your post.
Nicely summed up with all problems and solutions
This a topic that certainly needs addressing. Really good pointers
We have been talking a lot about mental health but Halley anyone talked about mental health of parents. Yes parents have and are undergoing stress, burn out. And it is very obvious. Last one year has been tough of parents. And timely handling is very important
yes parental burnt out is real and we all suffer from this time to time. I feel keeping realistic expectations and taking out some quality “Me time” can help a lot to reduce parental stress . also, it is equally important to delegate household chores among family members to avoid a state of over exhaustion.
I really loved the way you have shared the kind of stress someday or other every parent faces, but yes with some ‘Me time’ bounce us back.
Handling kids on right time is important and as a mom I know it’s so difficult to manage kids and sometimes it becomes stressful and impact on mental to.. Good that you have shared some solution points which will be helping us out
A mother always wants her child to be disciplined and when she alone takes care of the house and the child, a stressful situation is bound to happen. To organize all this, it is necessary to take care of yourself because if the mother is happy then the family is happy. And the things mentioned by you are really important, which every parent should follow.
Oh yes most of the parents do face burn outs but not everyone accepts it. You have rightly said asking for a help and delegation can make things much simpler and easy.
You have covered this topic very beautifully. And I am sure as a parent somehow we all go through stage sometimes. And the points which you have mentioned to handle the stress is quite good. I am sure it will help me in future
Parental burnout is a reality in pandemic. As such working parents are struggling, as their job hours have increased several folds and on top of that, their children are seeking more attention than ever. This can be overwhelming at times. My suggestion is to maintain a good work life balance.
Parental burnout is a reality, after all, parents are human too. The current times have taken their toll and tested the limits of tolerance of parents. This is a very relevant topic of these times, and parents need to look out for the burnout signs.
Thats a beautifully penned article… Mental health is definitely a base of happy living.. Parental burnouts are real. With current scenario, the torelance level of parents. This is a relevant topic in current scenario
Yes absolutely the lockdown has added to many parents burnout with kids, wfh and family to manage
Each one of us has faced parenting burnout during the past few months with online schools and never-ending responsibilities. Spending time on self and delegation worked for me as well.
Oh god. This was me!!! I slowly turned towards workout before kids woke up. And then of lately I realized, this is actually helping me. This workout time is my time and without anyother thought I just be focused.
Wonderful to know you found your way of this.
I guess, more or less all have gone, or are going through this situation in this pandemic times. It is great that you spoke about it.
Ya the lockdown added to the burnout for many parents
You have spoken what exactly I was feeling from a few days now. In fact by the time weekend arrives I start to feel the burnout. But thanks for those simple tips.
We all go through this. Specially in this lockdown situation when we are stuck with kids and can’t step out too.
While reading this post I could so well relate to the burnout that I have been feeling for almost 2 years now. As a parent we do go through so many things and it affects the mental health immensely. I have off late started to get help as much as I can to get rid of this unwanted pressure.
Hugs to you. Yes I’ve been through the same phase and chose to prioritize me and roped in my husband when I needed my breaks
right after c section till the first month i faced this burnout and was going crazy. Thankfully had family’s support. DOnt know what I would have done without the support.
Yes the support matters a lot
I get burnt out frequently trying to do too much in too little time. Then I do nothing but lie in bed the entire weekend to recover.
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