This one goes out to all the parents in the room. I see you with the coffee in your hand, forced smile, and circles under your eyes. I am you. We are going to dive into ways that parents can fight burnout shortly. First, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that parenting in this day and age is absolute insanity.
I love my children AND I did not sign up for this. Take the expectations from society (and ourselves), the work schedules, keeping up with each kid’s school and learning needs, and then add in the sports and activities and what do we have? A classic recipe for burnout. Add in a global pandemic, social unrest, and political calamity and now what do we have? Extreme burnout verging on the edge of physical, emotional, and mental breakdown and despair.
I don’t say this lightly or jokingly. I am so very serious. The mental, emotional, and physical repercussions of this common lifestyle are going to have some serious repercussions on us in the not-too-distant future. On an individual, community, and larger level, burnout hurts us all, especially the generation we are raising. Not only are we not showing up as our best and healthiest selves, we are teaching them how to feed into the cycle as well.
Top 3 Ways Parents Can Fight Burnout
- Immediately, like right after you read this, cleanse your social media accounts of all accounts that make you feel like you need to “Keep Up With the Joneses”. Whether it is that professional photographer that says we need to get family photos 4 times a year, the home decor account that regularly posts unrealistic and unaffordable kids rooms before and afters, or the friend from high school that has the “perfect” looking family with kids excelling in sports and school but never posts real life stuff.
- Sit down and really take a deep look at what you and your family value. When I do a values check in, I like to use this list of core values. I print it and and I go through and circle any that stand out to me. Then I go back through those that I circled and I pick the 3-5 that speak the most to me. This is how we determine what our lives look like and how we spend our time. Remember, we are done feeding into the burnout cycle. Living by our values is a MAJOR step in this.
- Make time for yourself. Period. Get the childcare. Whether it is daycare, a babysitter, a grand parent, a neighbor, or a friend you trade with, GET THE CHILDCARE! Schedule a CONSISTENT time for yourself each week. Multiple times a week if you can. Then you take this time to do anything you want. This IS NOT time for running errands though. This is time to feed your soul. You want to sit on the couch with a hot cup of tea in absolute silence, go for it! Maybe you want to go for that run you haven’t made the time for, perfect! You want to go to dinner with a friend or try out that rec sport or read a book or paint or bible study… the options are endless. The important thing is that it is something you want to do.
These 3 practices have been life-changing for me and for several of my lifestyle coaching clients. Do you have anymore suggestions for ways parents can fight burnout? Comparison via social media has played a major part in creating unrealistic expectations for what our lives should really look like.
Truth is, we are not robots, and we are not meant to live cookie-cutter lives. We all value different things. If we live our life by our values, not only will we be more fulfilled, but then we can offer something new and different to our children and communities. Each of which do not need us to fit in, they need us to be our authentic selves and bring our unique gifts and ideas to the table. Lastly, we need to actually live our lives. Taking time for ourselves and doing things we enjoy will help open the doors to a fulfilling life.
Wow, this series is just getting warmed up. I have so much more to say about burnout and breaking free from its cyclical grip. Ladies, I have something in store for you next week. Stay tuned…