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.