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Parenting is stressful at the best of times, but the summer holidays can be especially challenging. A survey by the University of Oxford found that during the pandemic when schools were shut, parents reported being spread too thin by the demands of meeting their child’s needs, along with home-schooling and work commitments. During the summer holidays, parents face many of these same strains, and therefore, a similar struggle.
The opportunity to spend more time with your child can be a really positive thing, but it also means more cooking, cleaning and entertaining, often while juggling childcare with work. There’s also the added pressure of giving your child a memorable summer break that’s packed with fun activities. Trying to balance all of this can be overwhelming and it might be hard to find time for yourself, which can lead to parental burnout.
What is parental burnout?
According to Mental Health UK, burnout is the state of feeling emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. Burnout usually follows a period of intense stress, where you don’t have the resources to get on top of the situation.
This is something that many parents will resonate with, as taking care of a child can be incredibly demanding and requires a lot of energy. According to research, nearly half of parents feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. This can make it really difficult for them to find time to switch off and relax, which is key to managing and reducing stress and preventing burnout.
It’s important to address burnout quickly as it can lead to further issues, like low mood and depression. Find out more about burnout here.
Signs of burnout
How to cope with parental burnout
While the answer may seem obvious (have a rest), parents know it’s not always that simple. A recent study found that 60% of parents do nothing to relax and re-energise, presumably because they struggle to find the time to do so. However, focusing on your own wellbeing doesn’t only benefit you, it also benefits your child, as when you’re well-rested, you’re able to be more sensitive and responsive to their needs.
Here are some tips for how to cope with stress and burnout as a parent:
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