The limitations and uncertainties imposed by the COVID19 pandemic have forced parents to respond with new behaviours, routines and habits. Whilst these changes may have provided practical solutions, emerging from the pandemic you might notice a toll on your mental health. Burnout refers to the aftermath of a mental or physical overload, also referred to by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘a result of chronic (work related) stress that has not been successfully managed’. Whilst the context of burnout is in reference to work, burnout symptoms as a result of juggling several roles including that of a parent will include:
- Feeling exhausted, irritable and overwhelmed
- Feeling separated or alienated as a result of the new parenting role
- Reduced productivity and an inability to meet the demands of daily work and life
- Reboot your body by regulating high levels of stress hormones, specifically cortisol and adrenaline. This means prioritising tasks and avoiding overload in order to provide your body with some rest. Eating a balanced diet, sleeping at least for seven hours and ensuring you get rest breaks all help.
- Avoid system exhaustion further by cutting down on ‘junk overload’. This includes having less caffeine, nicotine, sugar and alcohol and reducing ‘binge behaviours’ such as watching multiple tv series and programmes, often late into the night.
- Move away from a results-driven mindset to one that focusses on enjoying the process. This may mean picking your family battles and focussing on the big picture.
- Challenge perfectionism. Go with the flow of what’s good enough.
- Seek therapy help. Burnout leads to or accompanies depression.
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