6 Ways You Can Fight Parental Fatigue So You Can Love Your Family More

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health, Treatment & Therapy  
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Young mother holding her baby and smiling

Is there anything more exhausting than raising children? Of course, being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences a person could ask for, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that it comes with difficult times, too.

Being fatigued as a parent is a sure sign of love. The emotional, physical and financial resources you invest in your kids points to how much you really care for them. Your effort likely goes unnoticed, and this can leave you feeling unappreciated and spent.

1. Accept that you are exhausted

“Compassion fatigue” might be a new phrase to you, but it will surely ring true. Compassion fatigue is when we feel worn out and unable to show empathy, because our stores of empathy have run dry. As a parent, always offering compassion to your children and other loved ones can leave you feeling empty.

Accepting that you are worn down is the first step in fostering change. Denying your own needs will only drive you further into a hole of weariness. If you want your energy back, you’ll have to acknowledge that you need a break. Talk about it with your partner and other support people in your life. Find ways to relax and take care of yourself.

2. Improve time management

Taking breaks may feel impossible if you don’t have a good system to manage your schedule. Parents are often overloaded with responsibility – driving kids to appointments, watching soccer games, attending school events and a million and one other things. 

Although everything may feel crucial, it’s likely that you can cut a few things out of your busy life. Prioritize what matters most to your family, and consider minimizing the rest of your priorities. When you make good use of your family’s time, you’ll find more enjoyment and feel less worn out.

3. Learn some strategies to handle behavior

More days than not, it’s probably the thing you love the most that takes the greatest toll – your kids. Your children and their unique personalities can wear you down and make your question your parenting. Learning a few strategies to help manage difficult behaviors can make the hardest moments easier.

There are hundreds of theories and styles that you could consider, but don’t let them bog you down. Start by adding one new parenting tool to your plate.

4. Model healthy habits for your kids

One of the best ways to teach our kids is through modeling healthy habits. Children pick up on everything we do, whether we notice or not. From the way we express our emotions and apologize, to the way we socialize with people different from us, we are teaching our kids how to interact with the world around them.

Taking care of yourself can be a two-for-one in parenting. Not only does it encourage you to support your own health, but your kids will pick up on why it’s important and how to do it for themselves.

Whether this involves taking a walk every morning or having an honest conversation about your emotions at the dinner table, your kids will mimic the habits that you model. Use that time wisely, so you teach life skills and take care of yourself at the same time.

5. Participate in local community

Whether you call up the school social worker or take advantage of the free babysitting at your place of worship, using the resources already available to you can take off some of the load of parental fatigue. Community centers, churches, libraries, schools and local clubs are all great ways to let the village raise your children, as the saying goes.

Your kids will majorly benefit from social time with other children, and you’ll get a break from entertaining them. You may even find parent friends who you enjoy spending time with as much as your kids enjoy the playdate.

Your whole family has a need to feel connected to others, so take care of both at once. Just keep in mind your new time management strategies and don’t over-commit.

6. Online counseling

To best take care of your family, you have to take care of yourself first. Accepting that you are exhausted and need support could very well mean it’s time to start counseling. With your busy parenting schedule, it may seem impossible to add one more thing to your week, but the time you put in will pay off tenfold.

When you engage in counseling, the rest of your life improves as your mental wellbeing follows suit. You’ll find more enjoyment in daily activities and feel a greater sense of purpose.

Pyramid Online Counseling can offer you the support you need, to love your family to the best of your ability. With flexible scheduling and the convenience of online counseling, there’s no reason not to start today. Call 833-525-3077 or reach out online today, to get the help you deserve.

Three Ways to Stay Sober in Early Parenthood

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
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Multiracial family, young boy sitting on his father's shoulders with help from his mother

When you’re welcoming a new baby into your family, the world feels like it’s turning inside-out and upside-down. Leaning into the good moments and learning how to cope in a healthy way with the bad are some of the most important lessons you can soak up in early parenthood.

Although birth classes and parenting classes can teach essential skills, they sure aren’t teaching ways to handle substance use in parenthood. It can be a taboo topic, but there’s no denying that the stress of a newborn, sleep deprivation, financial concerns and strain on your relationship could be a trigger for substance use.

Even if your drug and alcohol habits are casual, in a time of major transition and stress substance use could spiral. Put yourself on guard and get the support you need to manage drug and alcohol addiction during parenthood.

As you’re welcoming into the world a new bundle of joy, keep in mind these four tips to help you stay sober in early parenthood.

Pay attention to your stress levels

That new baby is going to give you a run for your money. You are going to reach levels of exhaustion you didn’t know existed, and your finances might be stretched thin. All this is proof of your love for your new baby, but that doesn’t mean you escape without suffering the emotional toll.

Anticipating and acknowledging your stress is going to be important to stay sober in early parenthood. Don’t deny or hide it if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your partner probably is, too, and having an open conversation about how you both need a break can be a relief.

Enlist the help of friends and family, or hire a babysitter or housekeeper to give you and your loved one a break. Babies are a lot of work, and letting the stress build up is not healthy for you or your family. Accept help wherever it is offered and ask if it is not.

Do some prep work

There is a lot of preparation to do before the baby comes. Getting a nursery set up, preparing baby supplies and educating yourself on labor and delivery can make it feel like you’ve got another job before the baby is even born.

In addition to this prep work, you’ll also want to prepare for potential weak spots and triggers to substance use. Consider some common parenting worries that could come up and how they will affect you. How will you feel when your in-laws invade or when the baby won’t stop crying? Lots of parents face feelings of insecurity when they’re taking care of a baby for the first time- consider how this will impact you.

Chat about these difficult moments with your partner and decide on a possible course of action in tricky moments. You are not the first one to struggle with substance use in parenthood, and there are resources to help you in this time of change. Schedule extra appointments with your substance use counselor or tell your sponsor to be ready for a late-night call. You’ll be glad you did some prep work when the time comes.

Maintain a healthy outlet

Before the baby is born, and even during pregnancy, you’ll need to set up a system where you can escape from the pressures of life without falling into bad habits. Expecting perfection of yourself could result in a rushing out the door with nowhere to turn to but old substance use habits.

When you know triggers are bound to arise, you’ll be able to cope with those urges in a healthy way. Anticipate that you’ll need an outlet and have a couple ideas in mind when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Identify places you can go that won’t compromise your sobriety and offer calming or distracting activities. Go shopping, go to the gym, see a movie, grab some food at your favorite restaurant, or go to a friend’s house. You’ll need to have a couple healthy activities you can do when you need to get out of the house. If you have no outlet to release stress, that’s when drug and alcohol use can creep back in.

Get professional help

If you don’t have a mental health professional on your team already, it’s time to get started. Substance use in parenthood is a twofold issue that you’ll want to address before it takes a toll on your family. Taking a step back from parenting duties to get yourself help is better in the long-run and your partner will thank you for it.

Drug or alcohol addiction in parenthood is not a battle you should face alone. This is one of the most exciting times of your life, and you don’t want to be clouded with substances for those memories. Get the support you need by reaching out for professional help.

Even with your new busy parenting scheduled you can get the help you need with Pyramid Online Counseling. Pyramid Online Counseling offers convenient and easy options with teletherapy that can help you end your drug and alcohol addiction in parenthood. Reach out today or call 833-525-3077 to find out more.

How to Continue to Prioritize Your Spouse after Having a Baby

Pyramid Online Counseling      Relationships  
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Young Asian mother holding up her newborn for a portrait

Whether you’ve recently welcomed your first baby into your family or your third, you and your spouse probably experienced a bit of upheaval and a large amount of change. You might be thinking “You have no idea…it’s never going to be the same again.” 

You’re not wrong. 

Having a baby completely changes the reality of your relationship with your spouse, not to mention your entire lives. Suddenly, you have a little human demanding all your attention and care. You aren’t sleeping, every inconvenience is a challenge and you can feel yourself clashing more often with your spouse.

If this sounds a little like your reality, don’t panic. Every couple experiences this. The key factor to remember, though, is that even though post-baby stress is totally normal, it’s the methods used to handle the stress that will determine the future of your marriage through parenthood.

Recognize that a new baby is a huge change 

A new human in the house is a huge change. Suddenly your ‘two is company’ switches to ‘three’s a crowd’ and if you’re not mentally prepared for that reality, it can severely catch you off guard. Talking about this reality is a vitally important thing to do with your spouse. Brainstorm together the ways you think your routine, life and habits will change. Be open with each other about your expectations. Come up with a game plan on how you’re going to ask for help and how you’re going to handle moments of high stress. 

The more you understand about the other’s expectations, hopes and fears regarding the new baby, the less likely you will be to feel misunderstood or afraid to talk.

Search for ways to be grateful

A lot of parenting happens behind the scenes. While you might be focused on rocking the baby to sleep, your spouse might be walking the dog, folding laundry, mowing the lawn or prepping the kitchen for dinner. So when you come out of the baby’s bedroom and notice the mess of toys on the living room floor, don’t comment on what didn’t get done – comment on what did get scratched off the checklist. By focusing on the positives and gearing your comments towards gratitude and not negativity, you both will build an environment of encouraging and supportive teamwork.

Split the tasks

It’s likely that at some point or another, one parent will feel like they’re pulling the weight of household tasks. Odds are that if one of you feels this way, both of you are probably feeling it. This could be due to a lack of communication, a lack of asking for help, a habit of noticing what still needs to be done versus what has been done, or simply overlooking the truth that the other spouse accomplishes much when you’re not looking. 

A simple fix here is stating your needs (“I feel like I’m doing a lot of the housework and baby-work and am feeling overwhelmed”) and asking to talk about it. Come up with a game plan together of who is going to do what. It might seem elementary, but a simple chore chart that the two of you work through together on alternating days/weeks will help alleviate some of the weight while being of visual representation of everything getting done around the home.

Date each other 

Because your life becomes “baby this” and “baby that,” you don’t have time or energy to invest in each other the way you used to. While this is a tough reality, it’s important to not let it become a permanent reality. It might take some time, but it’s important to do the things you used to do pre-baby (within reason, of course). If you used to make dinner and watch a movie on the couch once a week, try to continue that. Perhaps you spent Sunday afternoons hiking together. Ask the grandparents to take the baby for a few hours so you can have that quality time together. After all, you’re still partners – you need to continue to foster that relationship because it isn’t going to do it by itself.

Communicate and communicate some more 

People can’t mind read – if you’re not being direct about how you feel, how can your spouse know? And taking it one step further, how can they be expected to help? It is your job and your spouse’s job to communicate your needs to each other. If you feel like you’re going to hurt someone if you don’t get a nap, say it. If you really need a night off, ask for it. If you really miss your spouse and want to spend intentional time just the two of you, communicate it. Over half of your problems can be solved if you simply voice them kindly and respectfully.

Nurture your relationship with your spouse

All the attention on the new baby might leave you or your spouse feeling a little neglected. In order to keep resentment from breeding, make sure you’re checking in on each other frequently. By communicating with each other, being grateful towards each other for the work they are doing and making little sacrifices out of love for your partner, you can continue to nurture a healthy relationship between the two of you, even when kiddos are screaming for Mom and Dad. 

If you find yourself really needing help or guidance during parenthood, especially in its early stages, plenty of counseling services, including those offered by Pyramid Online Counseling, can provide support, encouragement and concrete advice in handling parenthood and maintaining your marriage no matter the trials. Call 833-525-3077 to get started today.

How Counseling Can Address All Kinds of Relationship Issues

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
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Couple receiving counseling together

Humans are inherently social. We can’t help but connect to others and build communities and families wherever we go. Whether you believe it stems from a biological imperative or an emotional connection, it can’t be denied that we seek out connection to others.

Even so, being in a relationship is never a simple path. Every couple encounters ups and downs as they progress through different stages of life. It’s normal for romantic relationships to encounter conflict. In fact, it might be a red flag if a couple has never argued. And although these issues may seem like personal matters, enlisting the help of a professional counselor is one of the most mature decisions you can make as a pair to invest in your relationship.

Online counseling takes numerous forms, from individual counseling to couples or family counseling. Depending on your situation, one may be more appropriate than another. In this article, we’ll explore the different avenues for online relationship counseling and the benefits of each.

Counseling for relationships

Couples counseling takes place when a couple is dating and encounters issues that are negatively affecting the relationship. When a couple is committed to staying together and wants to pave the way for addressing issues in the long-term, couples counseling can help build a foundation of healthy communication patterns and mutual trust.

Online counseling allows couples to communicate openly about issues with the added advantage of having an objective third party in the mix. A counselor won’t take one person’s side in a disagreement, for several reasons. First, the couple probably wouldn’t return to a session if one person felt unheard. Also, the session wouldn’t be productive, as one person would likely become defensive and shut down.

In couples counseling, the counselor will listen to both parties and help to illuminate to the couple the other person’s perspective. They’ll ask questions and point out pros and cons to each side of the argument and let the couple come to their own resolution. In a way, the counselor will take both sides and let the couple process the options together.

Counseling for engaged couples

For couples who are engaged and preparing for a lifetime together, it’s important to already have strategies to share openly, compromise and look out for each other’s best interests. With an impending marriage comes many life changes: potential moves, joint finances and shared responsibility for each other.

Learning how to cope with challenges and still prioritize each other’s well-being takes some ground work. The period of engagement is an excellent opportunity to prepare not just for the wedding day, but for all the days that follow.

Counseling for engaged couples may include talking about some crucial life questions. Some things that may be brought up in online sessions could include talking about kids, career plans, financial planning and what you both want out of life as individuals and as a family. Regardless of your decisions, it’s important to talk them through at this stage in your relationship so you can manage expectations once you and your loved one are wed.

Counseling for married couples

While marriage has its fair share of fairytale moments, there are bound to be struggles, too. Having issues in marriage is to be expected. If a couple never has conflicts, it’s likely that one or both individuals are being passive about big topics. Expressing and discussing difficulties is important, and there’s no shame in asking for help.

Reaching out to start online counseling for your relationship may be one of the best choices you make in your marriage. Married couples have to make tough decisions every day, especially if kids are involved. Counseling can offer an outside perspective on issues that you’ve only considered from the inside.

Online counseling for marriage, like traditional in-person marriage counseling, will help you to assess how you’re doing as a spouse and what you can do to both compromise and benefit more in the relationship. Some topics you might discuss: How am I doing as a husband or wife? How am I doing as a parent? What can I do to show appreciation for you? How can we refocus on connecting emotionally?

Often at this stage in life, couples also want to reinvest in intimacy, both emotionally and physically. After spending years with someone, the blissful feeling may seem to have worn away, but counseling can help bring those sentiments back to the surface. Your counselor has worked to restore romance in dozens of relationships, yours could be next.

Counseling for divorced couples

Online counseling can also take the form of counseling for divorced couples. Counseling for divorced couples often happens during the process of a divorce or immediately after. Most often, this occurs when the couple has children and wants to work out disagreements around parenting or custody. Raising kids in two separate houses comes with a host of challenges, but they can all be overcome with the help of a professional counselor.

Divorced couples may also want to continue to work on their relationship. Whether they plan to reunite or simply want to be more civil with each other, divorce counseling can help to address the most contentious of issues and allow for both individuals to find healing. 

Online counseling for relationships has all of the pros of traditional counseling, without the hassle of commuting to an office. Taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in your relationship has never been more convenient. Even when things are going well in your relationship, you’ll find the communication strategies and trust that has built up in your sessions is well worth the time you spend in counseling.

Your relationship deserves support, and you may find yourself more in love than ever when you engage in online relationship counseling. Pyramid Online Counseling offers online counseling services for individuals, couples and families to address all kinds of relationship issues at different life stages.  Get started today when you reach out, or call 833-525-3077 for more information.

Everything Your Child Can Expect from Online Counseling

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
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what your child can expect from online counseling

Making the decision to take your child to therapy can be intimidating. For a parent, it might make you feel that you have failed, or that you’re unable to care for your child in the way they need it the most. All of these thoughts are lies, and it’s important to discredit them as such. Taking your child to see a counselor, therapist or psychologist is a brave step in humility and genuine care on their behalf, because there are some things a parent just isn’t equipped to handle. 

If your child breaks her arm, are you expected to know how to put that bone back together and apply a cast right there in the kitchen? Of course not! It takes someone with years of medical school and experience to know how to do that. The same method of thinking can, and should, be applied to cases of mental health.

If your child experiences a dramatic change, suffers from anxiety or depression, or is undergoing an overwhelming situation like a divorce, trauma, grief or loss, you as a parent aren’t, and should not be, expected to know how to handle it. This is why pediatricians and counselors exist – they have been educated solely to understand and help during these times. 

Easing nerves

When you choose to enroll your child in counseling, it can be nerve-wracking both for you and your child or teen simply because of the unknowns. Counseling has a bit of a connotation floating around it, that someone seeing a counselor is “crazy.” This concept, which might be more familiar to a teen than to an elementary level child, should be disproved as quickly as possible. Speaking with a counselor doesn’t mean one is crazy; rather, it means that some things that happen in life which we simply can’t deal with on our own, not because we are weak, but because we haven’t been given the right tools to handle the situation. 

You can explain counseling to your child like this – if you’re building a house, tools like a frying pan and a hair dryer are useless for hammering nails into the wood. But, when given a hammer, you can build a much better home than when you were trying to use a hair dryer! When a counselor gives you the right tools to build strong mental health, you can create a healthy, peaceful life for yourself. 

When a child understands the situation, it isn’t scary anymore. This holds true with counseling. Once they understand what it is, the nerves desist and they might show active interest in talking with someone who will give them the right tools to handle all the emotions swirling around in their head. 

Online counseling for children and teens 

The current trend for counseling is online – teletherapy or telepsychiatry, it’s called. Teletherapy has many great benefits, including the ability for people to receive counseling who previously could not, whether because of distance or inaccessibility. It gives people the chance to talk with a counselor in greater privacy, without worrying about bumping into people you know in the waiting room, as well as simply enjoying the comfort of your home for the duration of the session. When conducting an online counseling session for a child or teen, these benefits hold true. 

In addition, parents have the option to be in the room during an online counseling session. For some children, this might be an added benefit, especially if they have difficulty speaking with strangers without mom or dad’s presence. For others, they might have no problem chatting with a counselor on their own – however, it’s comforting for some parents to know they have the option of sitting in on the first session or two to calm the nerves of their child. 

The flow of the session 

A teletherapy session works much in the same way as an in-person counseling session. The counselor will ask your child or teen questions about themselves and slowly learn about your child, from your child. Some child psychologists engage their clients in play therapy, which will look slightly different depending on each therapist (talk with your child’s therapist ahead of time to learn more).

Others might practice art therapy, helping engage the child in their emotions through their creative expression. Again, these modalities might look slightly different with the inception of teletherapy. It’s always a good idea to chat with the counselor ahead of time to know exactly what to expect, both for your peace of mind, and your child’s.

No matter what method is used, the ultimate goal of child counseling remains the same – to give your child the tools they need to healthily cope with difficult situations, both now and in the future. 

Starting online counseling for your child today

Online counseling can be an important step for your child’s mental health. Trained child psychologists not only know how to talk with children, they are also experienced in understanding their ways of displaying their emotions and feelings without them explicitly disclosing information.

If your child as age 14+ and needs to talk with a counselor, reach out to Pyramid Online Counseling. Promising privacy, security and, of course, compassion and care, our counselors can help you help your teen back to a life of freedom and security. Call 833-525-3077 to connect with an online counselor for your teen today.