Anyone who has watched a small child run after bubbles floating through the air or giggle with glee as they play knows that parenting and caregiving are roles that are filled with joy, fun, and love. And they are also hard, challenging roles that can lead to feelings of loneliness, frustration, and burnout. If you’re a caregiver who is having a hard time “enjoying every moment,” you’re not alone.
There’s a lot of talks out there about parental burnout, and also a lot of talk about parental self-care. Sometimes recommending self-care can feel like it’s adding another item to the to-do list, or can seem to imply that you’re doing something wrong or missing something if you’re feeling stressed or burned out.
So I’m here to remind you that sometimes feeling weary, stressed or burned out is part of the human condition and that you’re not doing anything wrong.
If your family has been significantly impacted by the pandemic or if you experience oppression or marginalization because of your identity, things may be extra challenging. So, I want to encourage you to ask yourself how you are doing and what you need.
Consider checking in with yourself about how you are feeling in these areas:
- How am I taking care of my health?
- Am I eating foods that serve me?
- Am I getting enough movement? Enough rest?
- Am I kind and loving toward my body, with all its beauty and strength?
- Am I engaging my mind enough? Too much?
- Are my thoughts helpful and accurate, or are there thoughts that I would benefit from gently shifting?
- Am I practicing gratitude? (See this post for an explanation of why this is helpful).
- What am I choosing to focus on?
- How do I feel most of the time?
- Am I kind to myself when I’m not feeling well? (If meditation is your thing, you can find self-compassion meditations on Kristin Neff’s website here.)
- Am I spending time with activities that bring me joy?
- Do I engage in activities that are meaningful for me? That bring me awe?
- Why do I choose to do what I do every day?
- Do I feel like I make a difference in the areas that are important to me?
- How am I contributing to making the world a kinder, more just place?
- Am I spending enough time with people in my community? Too much time?
- Do the people around me lift me up, or bring me down?
- Am I aware of the events impacting my larger community? Or am I too aware and need a break from information overload?
If any of these areas seem to need support, consider adding something, saying no to something (always an important option to consider!), or asking for help from someone you trust. I think that self-care isn’t about squeezing in time for one more yoga class or bubble bath. Instead, it’s about finding the areas where we have some control (knowing we don’t have control over everything), and structuring our life in those areas in a way that is sustainable and meaningful for us.
As a caregiver, you are your child’s greatest support, and how you are doing is important for yourself and for your child. Your wellbeing is important. You are important.
If you or your child are struggling and need additional support, we’re here to help. Feel free to reach out to schedule a free consultation.
 Abramson, A. (2021, October 1). The impact of parental burnout: What psychological research suggests about how to recognize and overcome it. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/10/cover-parental-burnout