COVID has caused stress and burnout for a lot of parents. Lockdowns and home-schooling had us scrambling to keep our kids safe and entertained while we tried to hold onto our own sanity.
And even as restrictions ease and vaccine rates rise, the domino effects of COVID are still taking a toll on parents.
Raising kids is tough enough without the added challenges of the pandemic. You might be weighed down by uncertainty about the future. Maybe you have a newfound anxiety around your children’s health and hygiene. Or perhaps, like many, you’re simply exhausted by the increased time spent together in close quarters.
We hope this advice helps if you’re struggling with parental burnout during COVID.
Signs you might be struggling
While parenting is innately tough a lot of the time, these signs may indicate your mental health is suffering and you need some extra TLC.
- Feeling tired and overwhelmed most of the time
- Feeling more irritable and impatient than usual
- Emotionally distancing yourself from your children
- Feeling like you’re failing at parenting
- Changes in your usual sleeping and/or eating patterns
- Losing interest in hobbies and interests you normally enjoy
- Wanting to isolate from the people around you
- Having a strong lack of motivation and/or energy
- Feeling hopeless and/or depressed
- Using alcohol/drugs more than usual
- Neglecting your own hygiene and appearance.
Looking after yourself
Here are some ways to manage stress and avoid burnout when you’re feeling overwhelmed as a parent.
Lean on your support networks
It’s not always easy to stick your hand up and say you need help – especially when it comes to parenting. But asking for and accepting help from loved ones can lighten the load and make a huge difference for you and your whole family.
Maybe you need a hand with practical day-to-day tasks, or maybe you just need another parent to vent with. Whatever they can do to make things a little easier, don’t be afraid to reach out and keep your support network close.
We get it: parenting is a 24-hour gig. But self-care doesn’t have to take up hours of your time.
Even just a 30-minute read before bed or 10-minute meditation and/or cup of tea in silence can make all the difference to help you feel grounded and calm your nervous system.
Making the time for self-care is half the battle – feeling guilty about it is a whole other ballgame. Try to remind yourself that you’ll be a better parent for it, and you’ll be modelling the importance of self-care to your children.
Seek professional help
If you’re struggling to cope on your own, speaking to a counsellor can be a positive first step to addressing your mental health.
Talking to a counsellor in person, over the phone, or over Zoom can help you make sense of your feelings and identify potential solutions. You can learn more about our confidential counselling services here or call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment.
You can find more tips to manage your mental health during COVID in this blog post written by one of our mental health professionals.