How to Avoid Burnout: 6 Ways for Parents to Practice Self-Care Daily

You take care of your children and family all day, every day. If you don't take care of yourself, the burnout will come - here's how to prevent it!

     The more burnt out you are, the less effective of a parent you will be.  Empowered Parents learn what their limits are and take proactive steps to keep from getting there.  This means including self-care in the daily routine to help recharge the battery rather than having it drain to dangerous levels.

     Empowered Parents know that they have limitations and need to do something to keep themselves running.  There is nothing selfish in taking time for yourself as long as it is balanced within the context of your other responsibilities.  To help get you started on adding self-care into your daily routine, here are six powerful practices!

Self-Care Practice #1:  Assessing Your Responsibilities

mom with her baby

     The burnout comes when you are overwhelmed with your responsibilities and just can’t hold onto all of them anymore.  It’s like spinning plates on top of sticks; the more you add, the harder it is to keep every one of them up.  Here’s the tricky thing, though.  The more overwhelmed you feel, the more your responsibilities become one big blur.  It’s hard to know what is what and which is a priority.

     Spoiler alert: there are also times you take on responsibilities that you do not need to because it needs to stick with your children.  Sometimes you pick up their clothes, get them dressed, take the garbage out, brush their teeth, and other tasks like this because it is easier for you to do them.  Unfortunately, this adds to your burdens while taking away valuable learning opportunities.  If you continue to do this, you will create a child that depends on others while burning yourself out.

     It's time to make the large blur a little more clear!  To do this, list out all the responsibilities you have, no matter how small or large.  Which ones on the list are top priority?  Make sure you are also listing responsibilities you are taking on that others can, and should, be doing.  Give up the tasks you don’t need to be doing and that someone else in the home can do.  You don’t need to be superhuman and get it all done.  Share the load!

Self-Care Practice #2:  Give Yourself Permission to be a Priority

mom and baby giggling

     One of the first steps to making self-care part of your daily routine is to give yourself permission to be a priority.  With all your different roles and responsibilities, it is easy to forget yourself in there.  After you have gone through your different responsibilities and given up some of the ones that can be given to others, it’s time to add yourself to the responsibility list.

     Be prepared, and warned, guilt can be a common feeling when you start to take care of yourself.  You might start thinking you should be giving that time to others and that you are selfish for not doing so.  This is why giving yourself permission is one of your self-care practices and is absolutely critical.

     Without taking care of yourself, you will not be able to do what you need to do.  Giving yourself permission lets you know it’s okay to be a top priority at times to recharge your batteries.  We’re talking a few minutes here and there, not hours upon hours.  A bonus tip, if you parent with a partner, help give each other permission to make yourselves a priority!

Self-Care Practice #3:  Be Realistic in your Expectations and have Self-Compassion

dad playing with daughter

     One of the reasons the responsibilities of life, and especially parenting, become overwhelming is having unrealistic expectations.  Empowered Parents are aware of the goals they have for themselves as parents and the expectations this puts on them.  What are you expecting for yourself as a parent?  Do you need to do everything perfectly?  Is there room to be human?

     You are going to make mistakes as a parent.  There will be times you raise your voice more than you wanted to or cut your child off instead of listening.  Have some self-compassion and know that this happens because you are human and not some super-being from Krypton.  Make sure your expectations are realistic, so the stress of reaching the impossible doesn’t burn you out.  For the times you don’t reach the level you wanted, recognize you're human and learn from the moment to know what to do differently next time.  Guilting and shaming yourself will only burn you out more!

Self-Care Practice #4:  Exercise and Eat Healthy

lifting weights

     Stress and emotional exhaustion will take their toll on you physically.  It releases hormones in your body that make you feel sluggish, messes with your appetite, throws off your sleep, and can make you eat too much or too little.  One of the best ways to combat the effects of stress is to exercise regularly and eat well.

     It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do as long as you get your heart rate up a little bit and get out of your body’s comfort zone.  Eating healthy gives you the fuel you need to knock out your responsibilities and get done what is required.  Get out for a walk, run a little bit, hop on a bicycle, lift some weights, eat extra fruits and veggies, cut out sugars, and watch and feel the differences in your life!

Self-Care Practice #5:  Grow in your Personal Development

goals for personal growth

     Being a parent is a fantastic role in life; however, it is not the only thing that makes you, well, you.  If you neglect your personal development, you will feel there are things in life missing and you will start to burnout.  If you are letting your children be the center of your universe, you are going to burnout.  If you are not doing anything to help yourself grow on an individual level, you will not grow into the parent you want to be.

     Empowered Parents continually grow on a personal level to help reach higher levels in their life’s journey.  Your goals and hopes should not center around just parenting and your children.  There is a lot more adventure out there, take the time to work on personal goals you’ve had around your growth.  If you are not sure where to start, check out our blog post on starting your personal revolution.

Self-Care Practice #6:  Draw on Your Support Network

parents working together

     The more you feel overwhelmed with your parenting responsibilities, the more you might guilt and shame yourself.  As you start to do this, you withdraw from others and try harder and harder to reach the impossible expectations with less and less enthusiasm and hope.  Withdrawing from your support is one of the worst things you can do in this situation.

            The truth is, many parents feel the burnout, not just you.  Also, humans were not meant to be islands.  The more you withdraw from your social support, the more you can start to feel depressed and overwhelmed.  In essence, pulling away from your support network will only create more of what you do not want.

     Connect with the people in your life that recharge your battery.  You can let them know about your struggles in life, and most will not mind as long as that is not the only thing you talk about (which if it is all you talk about, take that as a definitive sign you are burnt out!).  Connect with your support network for those boosts of positivity and hope.  This can be as simple as a few text messages, meeting up for a few minutes to talk, or getting some food together.

     Getting burned out is a common experience in parenting; however, that does not mean you have to cave into it or just wait for it to happen.  Empowered Parents do what is necessary to add self-care into their daily routine to keep their batteries charged.  No one else is going to take care of you, that is your responsibility!  Remember:  self-care is not selfish, it is essential!

Categories: Empowered Parenting