Why Do Parents Burn Out



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Do you have trouble sleeping or beat yourself up always for parenting decisions and choices that you make? If you’re tired all the time, you might be a victim of burnout. Most parents are unaware that they might have a real problem, and often brush this aside as being overwhelmed. Burn out sneaks up on them over time. By the time they sought help, it has bled into all areas of their lives. This is why it is crucial to understand how a parent’s burnout looks like and how to fight it.

For many new parents, the transition to parenthood is jarring. Most of them believe they are the only ones struggling, which makes it impossible for them to confide in a friend about their struggles. It becomes something to be ashamed of. Instead, they attribute it to being “stressed out”. However, it is not the stress that is the issue. Acute stress, which is the kind we usually experience, is confined to a specific experience and has an end. With burnout, a tension persists beyond the initial stressful event. It’s the kind that you can’t ever turn off—victims of burnout experience the same persistent pressure, which wears down their bodies.

To combat burnout, you have to identify your stress style. This refers to your fight or flight response when placed in stressful situations. When you know your stress style, you can better determine when you need to act to alleviate it. Your physical health and sanity rely on keeping single stressful events from turning into chronic stress.

The next step is to compartmentalize your life. Create time boundaries so that you are not doing everything at the same time, all the time. This is especially important for working parents, to avoid home life and work time bleeding together. Rushing around all the time only increases your tension. Instead, plan proactively. You will be surprised to learn that by doing so, you make a few extra free hours a week for yourself.

How we perceive everyday frustrations has a lot to do with how we manage our stress. The next time you feel your pressure rising, take note of how you are looking at the situation and see if you can reframe it in a more positive light. Optimists manage stress better. Stay optimistic, and you will deal with burn out better.


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