The countless responsibilities of parenting can cause a lot of stress. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your daily routine with your child. So, should you be worried about it? Although a little stress can be beneficial, a lot of stress can push a parent to exhaustion. Before resigning yourself to burnout, try these methods of preventing exhaustion and recharging your batteries.
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes. As parents, we’re allowed to make mistakes. In fact, some are inevitable. So why do we often feel like making mistakes means failure? Lowering our expectations of ourselves allows us to feel less guilt and learn to accept the aspects of life we can’t control.
- Don’t be a ‘super parent’. Trying to be a super parent puts us at risk of exhausting our reserves. It can be tempting to intervene in everything our kids do, but it’s really not realistic. Why not pick your battles instead?
- Laughter and imagination. Having an imaginative mind and a good helping of love for ourselves can help us get a new perspective on things. Sometimes, learning to laugh and finding the humour in a situation can help ease tension! It’s okay not to always take ourselves so seriously!
- Find ways to feel fulfilled. That fulfillment can help us feel restored. Finding ways to distract ourselves and relax, as much as possible, can be an effective strategy for recharging our batteries. For example, take up a sport or go for walks, enjoy a hot coffee or a nice bath, or read a magazine! Simple time management tricks can also make a huge difference. For example, think about reviewing the morning routine, planning or preparing meals in advance, encouraging the co-parent to get more involved, or sharing certain household duties with the kids.
- Remove the sense of peer pressure as much as possible. Many parents feel vulnerable to criticism and judgment from others, which can feed existing internal worries. Why not choose messages that help rather than harm?
- Recognize your teen’s best qualities. All teens have their own innate personality traits, and it’s important to recognize them. It’s easy to recognize the qualities of an obedient, studious, or cautious child, but it’s also important to acknowledge the qualities of a child with a wild imagination, a remarkable sense of empathy, the confidence to try new ways of doing things, a love for spontaneity, and other unconventional qualities.
- Hold on to special moments with your child. Those special moments between parent and child can do a lot of good for both. All you need is to plan simple activities that your child will enjoy without stressing yourself out.
- Add new strategies to your toolbox. Because the challenges of raising a child are constantly changing, it may be particularly useful to diversify our parenting tools and methodologies, and to see what other parents do at home.
What Do I Do when Exhaustion Strikes?
“I can’t take it any more, I’m at the end of my rope!”. Feeling overwhelmed all the time and struggling to get through the day are signs that burnout and exhaustion could be on the horizon. Not to worry; the first step to recovery is recognizing that we’re exhausted!
There are many signs that can clue us in to our level of exhaustion. Some people will feel physical symptoms, while others tend to feel more mentally and emotionally exhausted.
- One hour at a time. When all our reserves are depleted, the best thing we can do is to take life one step at a time, one day at a time. It’s all right to reduce our workload and add extra breaks to the day.
- Listen to your limits. This might be an opportunity to review our expectations and the objectives we set for ourselves. Are those expectations realistic? Do we expect ourselves and our children to be perfect all the time?
- Leave room for your emotions. There is freedom in allowing ourselves to feel our emotions and even talk about them. Finding a good space in which to do so, whether that’s in a therapist’s office or with friends, can make all the difference.
- Seek comfort and support. The support we receive from our surroundings can come in different forms (e.g. emotional support, reprieve, etc.). Don’t hesitate to ask for support not only from the people around you, but also from professional resources (e.g. psychologists, physicians, nurses, psychoeducators, etc.). Getting out of our own head is essential! And remember that you can always reach out to LigneParents at any time.