For over 20 years, I’ve been working with parents, and the issues that always come up in discussions are overwhelmed, beat, tired, and burned-out; many of them are feeling this way due to the “too much to do/can’t stop now” or ” I got to keep pushing through” Syndromes.
Are you one of those parents who can’t seem to stop “doing?”
I have yet to meet a parent who hasn’t felt overwhelmed from time to time. Since it tends to feel uncomfortable, if not downright unpleasant, we tend to view it as negative and as a weakness. We don’t dare to admit we are overwhelmed, not enjoying parenthood, or dare to talk about it even with friends and family, which can leave us feeling isolated and alone, further exacerbating the feeling. We often deny we are overwhelmed because we do not know how to stop the frenetic behaviour that leads to this feeling. So we do nothing.
This stressful pattern is telling you to change your life! Once you get this message, it is easier to identify the steps you need to take to shift out of the behaviour quickly.
Following are some helpful strategies gleaned from my personal experience, my work and interaction with parents who are burned out, growing cranky, frustrated and even depressed. These strategies immediately diminish feelings of being overwhelmed so you can refocus and make some work/life balance decisions. However, you have to be consistent in your effort to change things around for you and your family.
- Stop what you are doing for a few minutes and take a break. Go for a short walk, sit outside under a tree, meditate or breathe deeply. Connect with nature.
- Schedule time for yourself on your calendar. You need time to decompress and re-energize.
- Practice asking for and receiving help. All parents need help. It’s not weak to admit that. Build a support village
- Say yes only to things you absolutely need or want to do. You’re not being rude if you decline invitations that don’t work for you or your schedule. Guard your energy.
- Assess your friends. Friends are nearly as essential as food and water to your life, so have healthy ones. Do they support and honour who you are? If they are negative and don’t share your vision for your dreams, don’t spend another minute with them.
- Decide what is most important in your life. If you want a balanced life, you will have to make changes in your life to allow this to happen. That takes some time and planning; it will be well worth the improvement in your life!
Take an action step today to start changing your life! Call a friend who will support you, or work with a Life coach who will uplift and motivate you to have a more balanced life.
Put your oxygen mask first!