Parental burnout is an exhaustion syndrome; the overwhelming emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that comes from parenting. Burned-out parents often emotionally distance themselves from their children and start feeling a sense of ineffectiveness as a parent.
How To Deal With Parental Burnout and Stress?
Though parenting is a wonderful experience, it can be equally stressful and hard. Here are some effective ways to deal with parental burnout and stress.
Talk About It
Burned-out parents often feel ashamed and isolated. To begin with, every parent must know they are not alone because most parents experience burnout at some point. So never feel ashamed to talk about your experience. Talk about it with supportive people, like family and friends or share your experiences in a non-judgmental space, such as moderated virtual communities. It helps reduce the severity of the syndrome.
Re-examine Your Stress
Revaluating stress can help parents cope with their parenting difficulties. For instance, during lockdown, some parents saw it as a perfect opportunity to spend time with their kids, while others considered it a nightmare. Negative perceptions increase the exhaustive feeling in parenting. So, try to reframe your difficulty into a challenge rather than seeing it as a threat.
Don’t be afraid to make small changes by rebalancing your stressors, as parenting does not offer you any vacation. It can be a little time for self-care, sharing some of your home chores with your partner, or scheduling a carpool with other parents.
Take microbreaks for self-care and self-compassion to reduce stress. It can be a physical activity like walking in your front yard, relaxing in the bathroom or listening to your favourite podcast inside your car or bedroom.
Find a Purpose
At times of exhaustion, remember your special moments with your child, the moments that give you a sense of fulfilment as a parent. It’s you who bring out those positive qualities and skills in your child to the table. So even at exhausting times, try to take kids to the park or watch something with them and make it meaningful.
Stop Saying “Should”
Stop saying “should” as it only adds to your stress. For instance, if you think you should be spending more time with your kid and if you couldn’t make it up, you are only going to feel bad and guilty. So, try saying, “maybe it would be great” to deal with your current circumstance positively.
Improve Your Parenting Skills
Enhancing your parenting skills gives you the confidence and skills to manage the disconnect or inefficiency in dealing with your child, which reduces parenting stress. You can always get help from counsellors or therapists to help improve your parenting skills.