Burnout is a very real issue among parents, especially parents of babies and toddlers. A single baby seems to double the amount of laundry and general housework that needs to be done–and that doesn’t include the baby itself. So it’s no wonder so many parents are feeling the effects of parental burnout. What’s more difficult is figuring out how to avoid parental burnout–and, at least as important, what to do when you get burned out. This quick guide will give you all the tips you need to avoid parental burnout and recover when you’re feeling burned out.
Take Time for Yourself
One of the most important ways you can avoid parental burnout is to take time for yourself. It’s important to make your kids a priority, but you also need to take care of yourself, and that includes taking time to unwind and relax, especially after a hard day. Of course, you can get a sitter and go get a haircut or a manicure out of the house. But if that’s not an option for you, it’s still possible to take time for yourself without leaving your home. While your kids are taking a nap or occupied with a movie, sit down for once and pamper yourself. Indulge in a cup of tea and read a chapter of a good book, or treat yourself to a home foot spa. Something like the Kendal ms0809m is a great tool for making your home spa feel luxurious.
Focus on Nutrition
If your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to power through the day, it starts to shut down and run on energy reserves. This is when you feel sluggish, grouchy, and out-of-sorts. Unfortunately, many parents feel so overwhelmed that they don’t bother making themselves nutritious meals, instead stealing a few bites off of their kids’ plates or skipping meals entirely. Eating nutritious meals doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Simply keep a stock of healthy grab-and-go snacks, like baby carrots or pre-cut fruit, on hand for when you’re really busy. The rest of the time, rely on quick staples like avocado on toast or Insta-Pot dinners with tons of vegetables. Just a few changes to your diet can cause you to feel a huge difference in your energy and temperament. This can make parenting, in general, seem less overwhelming and leave you feeling less stressed at the end of the day. And, of course, when focusing on nutrition, be sure to ditch your sugary drinks for good old fashioned water! And smoothies are always a great idea. Click here to learn more about the best superfood powder.
So often, we send our kids outside to play and get fresh air, but we take that time to clean our house instead of taking our own advice. Fresh air isn’t just for kids! Parents need daily outdoor breaks just as much as their children do. Vitamin D, which you can really only get from the sun, is critical for your energy levels as well as for improving your absorption of other nutrients. That’s why vitamin D is often prescribed in the winter months when seasonal affective disorder is such a common problem. Going outside can ensure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient. Making yourself go outside daily also offers a great opportunity for taking walks, doing outdoor yoga, or just playing actively with your children. All of these activities can help you let off some steam and remember how to relax again!
Get Enough Sleep
Ask any parent what advice they get most often–and follow through on least often–and they’ll tell you it’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is critical for the whole family to run effectively. But when you’re running on empty, getting enough sleep can feel like a Herculean task. If the kids aren’t waking you up in the middle of the night, your mind is making lists and can’t seem to settle. This can become an endless cycle. So what should you do about it? First of all, stop believing that getting enough sleep is out of your control. Next, do what you need to do to correct your habit, whether it’s sleep training your child, cutting out caffeine after noon, stopping screen time after a certain time of night, or all of the above.
Ask for Help
There’s no such thing as a super parent. The hard truth of parenting is that no one can do everything, and if you try to stay on top of everything all the time, burnout is inevitable. It really does take a village to raise a child, and for that reason, it’s important to ask for help when you need it. Whether that means asking your spouse to pick up more of the work around the house, asking relatives to watch your kids sometimes so that you can have a night to yourself, or hiring someone to assist with cleaning or yard work, do what you need to do to offload the work that’s stressing you out the most. And if you do feel burnt out and these tips aren’t pulling you out of your funk, don’t be ashamed to talk to a certified mental health specialist. Sometimes, admitting that you’re struggling is the best thing you can do to help yourself and your children.
Parental burnout is a very real thing, and not to be taken lightly. But by taking care of yourself as well as your children, you can prevent this from happening to you. Taking care of yourself and avoiding burnout is the best way to provide a low-stress environment your children can thrive in. This means that by taking good care of yourself, you’re taking good care of them, which will make the whole household feel better and run smoother.