Being a parent is not easy. You have to focus on the child’s needs and this in itself can be quite difficult to do. You end up putting so much energy and time into your little one that you end up neglecting the needs you have. As a result, you end up with what is known as parental burnout. This is a condition that implies being exhausted to the point at which you feel it is impossible to give more.
Parental burnout does seem simple and so many simply see it as a part of being a parent. They see it as something that is completely normal. This is quite a problem since it might make you feel guilty or ashamed because you are tired.
When you do not deal with parental burnout, it will take a huge toll on you and your mental health. You should understand that this is actually normal and there are things that you can do.
Your Mental Health And Parental Burnout
The biggest problem with parental burnout is that it almost always leads to facing overwhelming exhaustion. Also, it makes you distance yourself from the children and you start to feel that you are an ineffective or poor parent. All of these will directly impact your mental health in a very bad way.
Based on how much parental burnout you feel, you could be faced with several problems, like:
- Having a short temper
- Brain fog
- Feelings of isolation
- Very high stress levels
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
- Poor sleep
Due to the negative mental effects of parental burnout, your overall health will also be affected. Burnout will progress and can end up having to deal with severe hormonal imbalances. This would cause decreased sex drive.
When your sleeping becomes poor, you are at high risk of developing some serious health conditions. This includes diabetes and heart disease. Very high stress levels will also make it much more likely you will have to deal with serious health problems.
As you can easily imagine, parental burnout can so easily affect the relationship you have with your loving partner. Your communication will break down and tensions will appear. Then, miscommunication is very common, together with resentment and arguments.
The last thing you should know is that parental burnout will affect the relationship you have with children. You will lose your connection and you will feel that you just go through motions, all without any real feeling. Emotional distance appears and this is very bad since it can impact the development of a child. This would in turn lead to serious problems down the line.
Make Smart Changes Now
Parental burnout is something almost all parents experience, but at mild to moderate levels. This is especially true during the early years of the child. When you notice symptoms like those mentioned above, it is very important that you start making changes. Some examples of what you can do are:
- Communicate What You Feel
When burnout appears, it is imperative that your partner learns about it. You should let them know since support can get you through this. Many assume that the partner can read their mind but this is not possible. When you are single, talk to family members or friends that you can trust so you are helped.
- Be Careful With Your Nutrition
Be particularly careful with what you consume when tired. What you eat and drink can make the situation a lot worse. For instance, it is quite common to start drinking coffee when you feel very tired and not able to function properly. You might even consider sugary snacks. Such foods work as they offer that temporary boost you need. However, this can also lead to a crash in the future.
What you should do is fuel the body with the use of foods that are nutrient-dense. Try to balance out your diet with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. When you need a snack, fiber-rich carbs are perfect.
Your energy levels can easily be boosted with physical activity. This will also raise the body’s good hormones. You would end up finding it so much easier to deal with depression and stress. And you do not even need to go to the gym every single day. Even moderate increases in exercise levels can do wonders.
- Do Not Feel Guilty
Take time for yourself and do not feel guilty about it. You are not a bad parent simply because you focus on the needs you have once in a while. Self-care will help you to become a much better parent. This is something most people do not understand.
Treating Parental Burnout
You need to recognize symptoms and stop them before they become very bad. You have to take the time you need and ask for help. When things get too tough, it is time to look for mental health professionals capable of aid. They can give you several tips about how to manage symptoms and even prescribe medication if this is what you need.
Parental Burnout Prevention
Remember that it is completely normal to get burned out. It will happen once in a while. When you are a parent, it is actually more common than you might expect. While treating is possible, it is always a lot better to try to prevent the condition from appearing in the first place. Do this by following these really simple tips:
- Hire baby sitters
- Ask for help to get some time off for yourself
- Practice self-care since you need something nice for you
- Start exercising
- Set completely realistic expectations
- Do not take it too hard on you if you are burned out since it happens
- Make sure your child has some age-appropriate chores so you have some free time
Parental burnout does exist and you need to get ready for it. Prevention should be your priority and you should never think that it cannot happen in your case. Then, in the event that it does happen, the best thing you can do is to get help from a qualified mental health professional.