Parental exhaustion pandemic – The Portugal News
Previously, it was associated with heavy work and burning the candle at both ends, but now “burnout” is felt by more and more parents.
Being a working parent can feel like a never-ending cycle of babysitting, rushing into work to pick up kids, more babysitting, catching up on work you haven’t finished, sleeping, before let him do it again. And stay-at-home parents don’t have it any easier, often feeling as though the entire responsibility for the home and the kids rests entirely on their shoulders.
The pandemic has been particularly hard on parents; from the care of newborns without external support to home education in addition to a job. And even as we reach (hopefully) the other side of the Covid crisis, a recent survey by the charity Action for Children found that more than four in five parents (82%) are still grappling with at least one of the warning signs of parental exhaustion. The charity found that many of the 2,000 parents surveyed felt “drowned” and “isolated,” and other symptoms included anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression and overwhelming mental exhaustion.
What is the difference between fatigue and burnout?
“It’s the degree of fatigue,” says Dr. Nihara Krause, consulting clinical psychologist at Bloss, “so if you take fatigue on a spectrum, then being exhausted is absolute exhaustion, emotional and physical. And it is. not exhaustion that could be helped, for example, by going on vacation or getting a really good night’s sleep, it’s the build-up of fatigue and stress and the impact of those things.
There are also cognitive implications; Parental exhaustion can be accompanied by “loss of growth, a feeling of disillusionment with where you are at, a distancing from the people who are important to you – and as a parent it can be really painful if you feel estranged from your partner or kids, ”she says.
This can lead to a loss of self-esteem, where you feel like you’ve lost who you are, “especially if you compare yourself to the parent you were before the burnout, which can lead to mood and anxiety ”.
“Then you can also have physical symptoms like disturbed sleep, disturbed eating, some people will increase substance abuse to try to cope – this stuff is called exhaustion syndrome. professional. A step beyond burnout is where people really left off.
“It’s kind of like having a system and sending a massive load, or electricity through it and inevitably, you could very well have a fuse, which then tends to blow,” says Krause.
The comparison, of course, makes matters worse – if you think other parents are also juggling a lot and (apparently) adjusting.
The pandemic effect
The Covid-19 has affected everyone in very different ways. “For some people it was actually a chance to take a break and reconnect with family, for others it caused them a lot of juggling,” says Krause. For those who do not have a lot of practical support from their partner, single parents, or parents of children with additional difficult needs, the stress may have been much greater.
“When we first experienced the pandemic, one of the first players it influenced was our sense of security,” says Kruse. “Safety is a raw human need – if we don’t feel safe, our level of anxiety absolutely increases. Parents in particular, because of the added layer of responsibility, would have been completely up to speed. “
On top of that, she says, the boundaries have collapsed because of working from home. Parents taking on multiple roles to educate and entertain their children as well as to do their own jobs and roles as we knew them are gone. “The structure also creates security, as does having goals and predictability,” so for parents the lack of sense of security – and their inherent responsibility to provide that – was really impactful. So it’s no wonder that parents are still feeling the effect long after we’re out of lockdown.
How to start getting back on track
The first step, says Krause, is to take stock of what’s going on. “I think it’s really, really important to recognize how you feel. Because if you are suffering from burnout, even with the best of intentions, you won’t be able to achieve what you want to do.
Think of yourself as an athlete who has suffered an injury, she suggests, “There’s no point in saying, ‘I have to go and play this game’ – you have to let the injury heal, you have to fix it. law.”
Then examine how it affects you in terms of food intake, sleep, energy, and thought processes, and get help, “whether that’s telling a loved one you’re feeling exhausted or looking for something.” [professional] support – I think it’s always a good thing because it’s hard to step back and feel more positive when you feel like that. See someone who can support you as you start to relive yourself again.
Check to see if practical help in relieving yourself is possible, perhaps from your partner or another family member. Could work be more flexible with your schedules? Could you share the school collections with someone else? Could you reorganize your household chores and responsibilities?
Isolation is a key symptom and effect of parental exhaustion, so reach out to your friends and try to make time for these relationships. “Our social relationships are such a resilient factor,” Krause points out, “so reach out, reconnect with friends, share some of the challenges you might all be going through and see what you could do to support each other. “