Three top tips to manage the stress of being a parent

Aditi Shrikant
The Nightly
2 Min Read
kids, clouds, children
kids, clouds, children Credit: Chuotanhls/Pixabay (user Chuotanhls)

The word “burnout” is usually associated with career-related stress.

But, the often invisible work of parenting can take just as much of a toll on one’s mental health as a paid job. In fact, 62 per cent of parents feel burned out by their responsibilities as a parent, according to a new survey by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This burnout can lead many caretakers to self-isolate, as they don’t feel like they have the energy to maintain relationships outside their family.

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Two out of three parents say the demands of parenthood sometimes or frequently make them feel lonely, according to the survey.

“When we’re out of energy, we retreat,” Mercedes Samudio, a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of Shame-Proof Parenting, a company that offers mental health resources for parents said.

To curb burnout at home and in the workplace, take these three steps.

1. Tap into your support system

Talking to a friend or family member about your feelings of exhaustion or loneliness can help you feel supported.

Sam Carr, a self-proclaimed “scholar of loneliness” and a professor at University of Bath says many people suffer more because they try to wish away or ignore feelings of loneliness.

“There is the potential for connection in loneliness,” he told CNBC Make It. “It provides the potential for us to have compassion for each other, for us to embrace each other’s vulnerability.”

2. Set realistic expectations

Make sure your to-do lists matches your energy levels.

One way to put this into practice, Samudio said, is to write down your goals and reassess them each week to see if they are working or if they need to be tweaked.

Holding yourself accountable to an unrealistic task list will only add to your burn out.

3. Take small moments for yourself

Create rituals in your life that give you energy.

Aliza Pressman, author of “The 5 Principles of Parenting: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans,” told CNBC Make It that small meditation can help you better regulate your emotions.

If you have time to meditate for 20 minutes every day, that’s great. Most parents don’t.

Instead, try reflecting during your everyday tasks, like brushing your teeth or walking to the mailbox.

This can help you curb burnout and be more present at work and for your children.

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