In this time of COVID-19, social distancing, and digital learning, it’s become increasingly clear that parents are under a lot of stress. Unfortunately, this stress can often lead to exhaustion and burnout, which is extremely harmful to both parents and their children. If you’re worried that you might be approaching the point of burnout, here are some tips that can make coping with stress and exhaustion considerably easier.
Take Care of Yourself
Oftentimes, parents feel obliged to dedicate all of their attention and energy towards their children — in other words, they feel that taking time for themselves is selfish and harmful. This could not be further from the truth. In order to make sure your family’s needs are met, you have to meet your own mental and physical needs, which means practicing self-care. This self-care can take a variety of different forms.
For example, if you enjoy the traditional version of self-care with bath bombs and scented candles, then you should schedule set times for you to sit down and enjoy those products on your own. On the other hand, if you don’t like those things, then you might practice self-care by going for walks, reading a book, or just finding places to sit silently for a minute.
Regardless of what you do for self-care, you should actively make time in your schedule for it. After all, caring for your mental health is every bit as important as feeding your family and putting children to bed.
Create a Strong Support System
The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” holds true today. No matter your familial situation, trying to be the sole person who meets both your needs and your child’s needs will leave you frustrated and exhausted.
You should attempt to develop a reliable support system to help you in times of trouble. These support systems can include relatives, close friends, or anyone else who genuinely supports you and your family. No matter what form your support system takes, remember that the best systems are reciprocal. In other words, just as members of your support system help you when you struggle, so too should you help them when they encounter challenges. This will help all of you to avoid burnout and exhaustion.
If you are raising your children with another individual, then your partner should be the cornerstone of your support system. Successful co-parenting depends on both partners taking on equal amounts of work and helping out when the other partner is stressed. Accordingly, if you’re feeling close to burnout, you should talk with your partner to see if there’s a healthy way for the two of you to rebalance the workload.
Learn to Just Say No
Above all, the best way to prevent burnout is by remembering that you have control over your schedule and your family. You may feel like you have to rush your child to every club, extracurricular event, and social gathering in order for them to succeed, but this is not true. In fact, spreading yourself and your family too thin will have serious negative effects on the mental health of everyone involved. Thus, you should learn how to say no to overscheduling, and should teach your children to do the same.