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5 Ways to Avoid Parental Burnout this Holiday Season

Before becoming a parent and caregiver, you didn’t know the joy you could experience from a tiny human. A beautiful soul that teaches you the preciousness of life, as you guide them through their own journey.


It’s a role you both treasure and hold sacred for its’ beauty and wisdom.


Yet, as blissful as it can be, you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Mainly, by the pressure of the holiday season.


A holiday season that’s different from previous ones.


The 2020 pandemic changed our yearly celebrations. Parties and get-togethers were paused to leave room for health considerations, leaving holes in dearly loved family and community traditions.


Luckily, we’re in a better place.


The positive health conditions have sparked inspiration in you to make up for the lost time. To fill the hole of what once was…


You’ve been putting all of your efforts into making it memorable. Trying with all your might to re-introduce the holiday traditions that you treasure. Making sure to pass along generational holiday rituals to your children.


You want to do it all, for yourself and your family…yet, you’re so.very.tired.


The truth is, you’ve been going non-stop for years. Raising a child in a society that has massive flaws when it comes to parental support and caregiving. These flaws were present before the pandemic, but have increased tenfold since 2020.


The constant parenting demands you’re experiencing aren’t sustainable. What’s more? It can be impossible at times to take a break in your own home.


Yet, as disruptive as it may feel, creating space to reset is of the utmost importance for you and your family.


When you don’t create the necessary space to center your energy, you run the risk of burnout.


Once you’re in this mental state, you lose the ability to be present and show up fully for your loved ones. Furthermore, left untreated, burnout leads to more severe mental and physical illness.


It’s time to look inward and ask yourself what you truly need to be happy and thrive.


Symptoms of Parental Burnout



Getting overstimulated and fatigued to the state of burnout looks different for everyone. It’s not the same as being tired or having an overwhelming week. Unfortunately, at times these symptoms can be overlooked as “normal parenting stress” when in fact, they’re signs of burnout.


That’s why it's important to understand the signs and symptoms so that you and others can seek the help you may need.



Signs and symptoms can range from -


  • Constant Fatigue and emotional exhaustion


  • Detachment from children and loved ones


  • Irritability


  • Signs of hopelessness, doubt, and despair


If you’re feeling any of these symptoms it may be time to talk to a medical professional. When left untreated, burnout has the power to morph into addiction.1


What’s more, your mental health has a direct effect on your children’s mental state.


Research has shown that there are higher levels of depression and anxiety in children with parents who are experiencing burnout. Specifically, these results were seen when adults used less autonomy-supportive parenting methods with their children. However, the negative effects of burnout were not passed onto children when parents applied the use of cognitive reappraisal to regulate their emotions.2



If you’re feeling like you’re on the brink of burnout, it’s important to know you’re not alone.


In fact, it’s estimated that 3.5 million U.S. Parents are struggling and suffering from parental burnout. 3 Women are at an even higher level of risk – with 68% of women reporting symptoms compared to 42% of men. 4


With these numbers, it’s very possible that you or someone you know are facing a level of parental burnout.


This is mainly due to the added stress of the pandemic. Over the past few years, parents have faced loss, isolation, financial stress, homeschooling, and a lack of childcare options. All of these stressors have directly affected parents, and not for the better.


The good news is there’s hope for those experiencing this mental state.


Psychologists and health experts are now reporting effective ways to cope with and prevent burnout.



Ways to Avoid Burnout

Once you know the symptoms you can assess your own mental state to see the level of care you may need. This can include seeking professional intervention or support from a licensed therapist, or trusted spirit guide.


Finding activities that’ll bring you peace might take a little bit of trial and error. Please remember to be compassionate towards yourself in the process. It will get easier.


I invite you to evaluate your current lifestyle when reading this list.


Look inside yourself and simply notice and name what’s not working well. Once you know the missing link in your peace and fulfillment, it’s easier to find the solution.



Rest

Sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Psychologists agree that a lack of sleep is directly connected to a rise in negative emotional reactions from stress. 5


You may be tempted to stay up late wrapping presents, baking, or putting together toys. But if it’s causing you a lack of sleep then it’s not worth your effort.


It’s crucial to remember that our children learn by our example. If all they see is their parents never resting and stressed, that’s what they’ll assume as normal and emulate.


Recharge

Take time to do something that's rejuvenating. This could be anything from meditating to exercising to journaling.


While it might feel selfish at first to create time for your fulfillment, it’s the exact opposite. When you do something that’s fulfilling, you’re a happier person. This happiness will nourish and color your actions with your loved ones.


Get Support

Sometimes there’s too much on your plate. No one can sustainably do everything for everyone. When your to-do list is causing you stress, find places where you can ask for help.


Ask friends or family members to aid in childcare tasks so that you can finish your work or errands. Consider contacting your local community center to see if they offer a parent's night out or other familial support. I also recommend checking out my services page for additional options.


Quality over Quantity

You may feel like you HAVE to do every holiday outing when you look at a calendar. Yet, I offer you to say no when it’s causing you stress. Sometimes the person we’re emulating to be for our children isn’t sustainable. There’s great wisdom in offering freedom to change our minds in front of our children.


By prioritizing less, you make space for joy and presence.


When you’re feeling like you’re not presenting your best self, think about the memories you want to share with your family most. Then make those activities or rituals a priority.


If possible, ask for help from a trusted family to make them as special as you envision.



Visit Your Happy Place

When everything is messy and overwhelming stop and take a moment to breathe. Travel to a joy-filled place in your mind. When you're in this mental place, connect to your senses – focus on the smells, air, noises, and how you feel in this particular space.


When you use meditative practices you can help calm your mental state, find peace, and receive clarity.





Some of these suggestions will become a practice in your daily life. I encourage you to explore all of them to discover which ones feel true to you.


Remember, where ever you are in your journey, know that there are ways for you to receive help.


How to Recover

You understand and accept the profundity of parenting. It’s the reason behind everything you do for your family. Yet, sometimes, it’s extremely disruptive to do it all and have time for yourself.


I completely understand.


Please remember, that taking time to reset and cope with stress isn’t a luxury, it’s imperative to your mental health. It’s necessary for you to take time to rest and recharge so that you don’t get or stay in burnout.


True relief starts by making yourself a priority.


That’s why I work in partnership with you as an extra set of hands – offering ways and systems for your family to achieve success. I will hold space, offer support, and share my expertise from my years of working alongside families.


Let me ease some of your stress by fulfilling your needs for parental relief.


It’s my mission and hope for all parents and caregivers to find the village and support they need to thrive.




*Please note – if you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or an extreme mental state please seek help immediately.






Endnotes

2. Yang, Beiming, et al. Impacts of Parental Burnout on Chinese Youth’s Mental Health: The Role of Parents’ Autonomy Support and Emotion Regulation, Journal of Youth & Adolescence, vol. 50, no. 8, August 2021, pp. 1679-92. EBSCOhost, https://doi-org.northseattle.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s10964-021-01450-y

4. Pearson, Catherine, New Report Confirms Most Working Parents Are Burned Out, NY Times, Published May, 5, 2022.

5. Dr. Zakarin, How Sleep Deprivation Impacts Mental Health, Columbia University Irvine Medical Center, March 16, 2022











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