Tips for Fighting Parental Burnout

Tips for Fighting Parental Burnout

Post Date: Jun 19, 2024
Parent Support

Constant exhaustion, bad moods, snapping and lashing out, emotional detachment, lack of interest in activities you used to love, and increased substance use can all be symptoms of burnout. It often starts from a place of accumulated stress that can come from work and life events like parenting. If you feel like you’re experiencing burnout, or you’re hoping to avoid it as you enter a new stage of parenthood, here are a few tips for fighting parental burnout.

Move your body

Physical exercise can do a lot to help you feel better when you’re struggling with burnout. Going to a free yoga class at the library, taking a walk, or doing a 10-minute YouTube workout video in your living room can all be easy ways to get a little movement into your day. Don’t think that only having a few minutes here and there means that it’s not worth it to get in some movement. Any small amount can still have benefits for your mental and physical health.

Make time for you

This might sound easier said than done as a busy parent who already feels like it’s difficult to keep your head above water with parenting challenges and burnout. But do your best to make some time for yourself. You’re always busy caring for your child, but you are important too. And when you take the time to care for yourself, you can be a better parent to them. There’s a reason that airlines tell passengers to put their own oxygen masks on first before helping others. If you don’t look out for your own well-being, you won’t be able to be there for your child in the ways they need you.

To give yourself a little time to yourself, you might need to hire a sitter for a few hours or find a low-cost childcare option at the YMCA or another local organization. Or maybe all you have time for is a few minutes of deep breathing while your little ones are down for a nap. Be intentional about taking time for yourself, and make time when you can.

Check-in on your sleep

A good night of sleep can seem like a distant memory for many parents, especially when living with little ones. But especially when you’re feeling burned out, do all that you can to prioritize your sleep. When work and household chores need to be done, it can be tempting to skip sleep in favor of checking off your to-do list. But if you’re feeling burned out and you’re not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, see what you can do to rest

Be realistic with yourself

Look at all you’re doing as a parent, a friend, an employee, and a family member. It’s likely a lot. And your expectations of yourself tend to be higher than anyone else around you. You don’t have to do it all—and it’s not possible to. Set realistic expectations for yourself and what you can do. We all have limits, and it doesn’t help you or your family to push yourself past the point of burnout.

Remember that it’s not your fault

When you’re feeling burned out, it’s easy to blame yourself for not feeling better or being able to do more. But often, the systems we live in work against us. Not having access to financial stability, a strong support system, or consistently affordable childcare all make it more difficult to get through burnout or avoid it altogether.

Ask for help

Your support system of family, friends, medical care providers, and community organizations and programs are all there to help you. But they might not always know what you need unless you ask. Maybe you need a night of babysitting a week to help you get some time to yourself. Maybe it’s support for a child who is going through a difficult time at school. It could be as simple as asking a friend to drop off dinner for your family one night a week so you can take a break from cooking.

If you’re struggling, discuss it with your primary care provider at your next appointment, or consider signing up for a free CHP program like Parents as Teachers or Parent Liaisons. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.