Whether you are a working parent or stay at home with your children, many of us place the needs of our family and/or job above our own. Not taking time for ourselves can lead to parental burnout. As a working mother of two active boys, I find many days I move nonstop from the moment my alarm goes off in the morning to the time my head hits the pillow at the end of the day.
As we strive to meet the needs of our family and employers, sometimes we can forget to take time to rejuvenate ourselves. While a weekend at the spa sounds quite inviting, this doesn’t always fit into the schedule or budget. There are some simple steps we can take each day to help our body refresh and be better able to face the next task whether that is at work or at home. Taking care of ourselves makes us better parents and better employees. It also models this behavior to our children.
Some suggestions to prevent parental burnout include:
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- Take short breaks throughout the day. Take 10 minutes behind a closed office door or in quiet room at home to close your eyes and relax. Take a short walk even if just around the office building or up and down the sidewalk.
- Take a few minutes at the end of the workday. If you feel overwhelmed the moment you return home from work, allow yourself a few minutes to unwind before entering the door. Your children will be happy to see you so try to put the stresses of the day to the side so you are ready to hear about their day.
- How can your family help? Look at ways you can have your family contribute to the responsibilities at home. Have the entire family work together to complete a task. Not only can this decrease your workload and finish the job faster, it can be enjoyable to work together as a family. Even a 2-year-old can help clear the table of dishes. Older children can put away food and help wash dishes.
- Look for time saving conveniences. Consider options that can decrease your workload like having groceries delivered, buying items online to prevent need for additional errands, hire someone for a few hours to help clean or do other household tasks.
- Be realistic in expectations of yourself. Some tasks may need to be put off until another day.
- Schedule some “you time” on the weekends. Everyone needs and deserves time to relax and refresh.