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Tips for Fighting Parental Burnout After 2 Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic

0 2 years ago

With 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview, many parents are feeling the burn of virtual school, canceled playdates, strained spousal relationships, and other challenges. If you’re parenting through the pandemic, you’ve likely experienced a sense of frustration and helplessness.

And though we seem to have rounded the bend on the worst of SARS CoV-2, you may have nagging fears about what the future holds, leaving you still feeling overwhelmed.

Feeling at the end of your parenting rope? Here’s how to cope.

What is parental burnout?

While everyone’s experience may look different, researchers have actually defined the concept of COVID-19-related parent burnout.

According to a 2020 research review, this state is “a chronic condition resulting from high levels of parenting-related stress due to a mismatch between the demands of parenting and the resources available for parents to meet those demands.”

In other words, you’ve been carrying a very heavy burden for a very long time — and it’s taken a long lasting emotional toll.

How parental burnout affects parents

Living in a heightened state of stress for years on end isn’t natural, so don’t be surprised if parental burnout has far-reaching effects on your daily life.

You may feel extra lethargic or have diminished interest in activities you used to enjoy. Perhaps you’re irritable, forgetful, or simply feeling numb. Guilt can also creep in if you begin comparing your current parenting with what it may have looked like in the past.

Additionally, parenting burnout inevitably affects relationships with your spouse or partner. “I have observed a drastic increase in the reporting of spousal tension and conflict since the beginning of the pandemic, especially in couples who are parents,” says psychotherapist Haley Neidich, a licensed clinical social worker.

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