Parents, especially new ones, might be wondering if there’s 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 challenges, too.
Being fatigued as a parent is a sure sign of love. The emotional, physical and financial resources you invest in your kids point to how much you really care for them. But your effort likely goes unnoticed, and this can leave you feeling unappreciated and spent.
How can I recover from parental burnout?
Exhaustion is part of the package, but there are things you can do to help fight parental burnout symptoms and find joy in your family.
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 . . . the list never ends.
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 eliminate what’s extraneous. 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 take the greatest toll on your energy—your kids. Your children and their unique needs can wear you down and make you question your parenting. Learning a few strategies to help manage difficult behaviors can make the hardest moments more manageable.
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 at a time, determine if it’s effective and add or reevaluate as needed.
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.
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 the 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 can help ease symptoms of parental burnout you may be experiencing. Community centers, churches, libraries and schools 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 overcommit.
6. Consider online counseling
To best take care of your family, you have to take care of yourself first. Accepting that you are exhausted and want to recover from parental burnout, but not knowing how could very well mean it’s time to consider 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 well-being follows suit. You’ll find more enjoyment in daily activities and feel a greater sense of purpose.
Pyramid Online Counseling can offer you the help you need as you fight parental burnout. 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.