Doesn’t it always seem like, as a working parent, you can never really find the time to have a moment for yourself. You tend to your children, friends, partners, and even your responsibilities at work. You have so many roles in your life that it feels like there are never enough hours in a day to focus on yourself. This overload can impact your overall mental health and physical wellbeing and lead to what’s called, parental burnout. Explore the four best ways to avoid parenting burnout.
Parental burnout occurs when a parent has difficulty functioning and completing daily tasks. During this occurrence, parents can experience exhaustion and anxiety and even feel a lack of connection with their children. An increase in this phenomenon occurred during the pandemic, and it was discovered that, during that time, many parents experienced a significantly higher stress level than they had experienced in the past. Even after things have returned to the more familiar shuffle of day-to-day life some parents continue to struggle while in search of balance.
Sometimes, this burnout can pour into your work life and other relationships because too many areas of your life require pieces of you. This article will explore a few ways to help alleviate some of that stress and identify ways to find a moment for yourself. It would be nice to say let’s get a babysitter, take a week off from work, and head on vacation. However, that is not feasible for many working parents, so here are some alternatives that can give you a few moments to yourself in a day.
Take a break and a10-minute Walk or Movement Break
Taking a quick movement break is a great way to decompress or find a second for yourself if you have a break. Fresh air and a bit of sun can do your body well and give you some activity to improve your mental and physical health, which really are one in the same. Taking a break can also allow you to clear your mind of all the “To-do’s” and focus on the moment in front of you.
Meal Prep to Maximize Downtime in Your Evening
This is a popular term to simply go back to what worked in the past. Make a large meal and enjoy leftovers. You are still a good parent even regardless of cooking a brand new meal daily. Meal prepping at the start of your week is a great way to expedite your end-of-day routine and purposefully give yourself a few extra minutes that are dedicated to you, yes you, after you’ve settled the house. That spare time can free you up to take a bath, read a book before bed, even tune in to your favorite TV show, or call back that loved one whom you’ve been missing having in your community
Watch or Listen to your favorite Podcast or Audiobook
A great way to get a mental escape is to consume yourself in a good book or a podcast that interests you. This can be done while you are cooking, meal prepping, taking a walk, and even at work while completing tasks. This is an excellent way to mentally reset your mind and allow you to think of something other than what needs to be done. Our favorite is Breaking the Couch where you can learn about trauma therapy, mental health recovery, parenting, and so much more.
Talk to Someone
Above all, if you feel like you are struggling with parental burnout or may be unsure, talking to someone and finding a community of parents going through the same thing can help. As a busy parent, it may sound daunting to think of adding something else to your plate, like therapy or “play dates,” but having a community or a trusted person to talk to can help address your mental health concerns. It can make all the difference in helping you gain the resources needed to recover and move through the burnout. While these are just a few options that can give you a moment to yourself, they are also great ways to give your mind clarity and peace when you have so many roles to fill for everyone else. Therapy really does do wonders. You can find support and healing in ways that you have only wished were possible.
Parental burnout really is no joke. It can impact the way that you show up in the world, but more importantly, it can negatively impact how you show up for yourself and your children. Let's get ahead of it by reminding yourself that you matter. Here's a recap of just how to do that from today's article.
Taking a break and a walk can get you some fresh air and allow you to include some physical activity in your parenting and work life. It can also give you a moment to decompress.
Meal prepping is great for maximizing free time at the end of the night and allowing for an opportunity to do some relaxing activities.
A video, podcast, or audiobook is a great way to mentally escape the day. It can be combined with cooking, your daily walk or break, and possibly while completing tasks at work.
Most importantly, connecting with someone or becoming a part of a community when experiencing parental burnout is a great way to help you identify resources to get the help you need.
Meet the Author
Ms. Khamara Harris, BS is a mental health counseling intern clinician at PlayfulLeigh Psyched. Prior to finding her passion in helping parents and children heal from generational and developmental trauma, she worked to keep us safe in the digital world. She currently resides in Maryland and mostly only misses her home in California on cold days. Ms. Khamara may have an opening to work with you or your child. Contact us if you are interested in working with her.
Are you struggling with parental burnout or have a young child with explosive tantrums? If so, Ms. Khamara is on our dynamic parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) team and she has an immediate opening to help you and your child start enjoying your time together again.