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5 Ways to Identify and Prevent Parental Burnout

Every Friday, we bring you five related things, ideas, facts, or practices that we hope will make your parenting journey a little easier. This week, it’s five ways to start getting a handle on parental burnout.

Everybody’s heard of “burnout” at work. From the World Health Organization (WHO) to the New York Times to Goop, “occupational burnout” is well recognized. The WHO defines it as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Less attention is paid, however, to parental burnout. Most parents recognize these feelings of exhaustion, negativity, and overwhelm around raising children, being a parent, and keeping it all together. So, is parental burnout just as real as workplace burnout? Absolutely.

While it’s perfectly normal to experience stress from time to time (It means we care and are invested in our family!), parental burnout is a special, more intense, and long-lasting form of this stress. So how do you know if you have parental burnout? Here are the symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: parents feel exhausted by their parenting role and in turn begin to detach emotionally from their children.
  • Irritability: Parents experience irritability and annoyance towards their children and their parenting role.
  • Loss of pleasure: They may experience feelings of resentment in their parenting role and simply not enjoy spending time with their children.
  • Disruption in sense of self: Parents may not recognize the parent they have become and may experience seeing themselves as unrecognizable.

These symptoms may be experienced by any parent on occasion, but we should be concerned about parental burnout when symptoms keep going beyond an occasional occurrence and they impact our ability to be the parents we want to be. One of the biggest reasons to take the symptoms seriously is that parental burnout can have long-term negative effects on our relationship with our kid(s).


So what can parents do? The source of parental burnout is an imbalance between the demands a parent faces and the resources a parent has:



If our resources can’t match our demands, burnout is likely. For most of us, we can’t reduce the demands of parenthood, so our best bet is to increase our resources. Here are five steps to identifying parent burnout and healing through increasing our internal resources.

Step 1: Don’t avoid, resist, or ignore.

Often when we start to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or irritated, we’ll find ways of escaping. Everybody has different strategies but common ones include social media, drinking or other numbing substances, or TV. Downtime is important, but these modes of escaping make it hard to see when our tank is running on empty. Alternative downtime activities that allow us to reflect and take stock are walking, taking a long bath, journaling, and talking with your partner or a close friend.

Step 2: Parent burnout check-up.

Take a step back and reflect on how familiar and persistent the symptoms of parental burnout are for you. How intense, frequent, and long-lasting do you experience exhaustion, irritability, loss of pleasure, and a disrupted sense of self? If you’re unsure you can take this quick burnout quiz and get a score in just a few minutes.

Step 3: Schedule mindfulness into each day.

This can be as small as scheduling in a 4-7-8 breathing exercise a few times a day. It can also include scheduling in 10 minutes for Inanna Moon’s Monday Meditations or 15 minutes for Justin Wilford’s emotion-focused Wednesday Wind-Down meditations. Both can be found here in the Recordings Topic in the Flourish Pillar Pathway.

Step 4: Move your body.

The research is clear: exercise gives us energy and fights depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that low to moderate physical activity reduces fatigue and improves energy levels in a wide variety of contexts, from healthy adults to pregnant women, from multiple sclerosis patients to cancer survivors. And hundreds of studies have mapped the pathways by which exercise reduces depression and anxiety, from molecular changes to brain structure changes to positive mental distraction.

Step 5: Reach out to someone who loves you unconditionally.

Research shows that social stress and isolation substantially increase our risks for a wide variety of health problems including burnout. The good news is that this whole process can be completely reversed through deep, loving social connections. This happens by bringing the body’s “rest and digest” healing system online when we sense social safety.

Final note:

We strongly encourage finding professional help if you feel close to parental burnout. All of these steps can definitely help, and friends and family can be a powerful support system. But finding a psychologist/therapist can open up new perspectives on potentially deeper sources of burnout for you.

Above all, trust that change is always possible, and all patterns and habits can be re-wired. Parenting is a continuous growth process with no finish line. We just keep finding new ways to resource ourselves so that we can show up as the parents, and one day, grandparents, we know we can be.

5 Ways to Identify and Prevent Parental Burnout

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5 Ways to Identify and Prevent Parental Burnout

Parental burnout is just as real as other types of burnout. See how we can reduce our risk of burnout by taking stock of our situation, accepting our feelings, and building routines to increase our internal resources.

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Every Friday, we bring you five related things, ideas, facts, or practices that we hope will make your parenting journey a little easier. This week, it’s five ways to start getting a handle on parental burnout.

Everybody’s heard of “burnout” at work. From the World Health Organization (WHO) to the New York Times to Goop, “occupational burnout” is well recognized. The WHO defines it as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Less attention is paid, however, to parental burnout. Most parents recognize these feelings of exhaustion, negativity, and overwhelm around raising children, being a parent, and keeping it all together. So, is parental burnout just as real as workplace burnout? Absolutely.

While it’s perfectly normal to experience stress from time to time (It means we care and are invested in our family!), parental burnout is a special, more intense, and long-lasting form of this stress. So how do you know if you have parental burnout? Here are the symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: parents feel exhausted by their parenting role and in turn begin to detach emotionally from their children.
  • Irritability: Parents experience irritability and annoyance towards their children and their parenting role.
  • Loss of pleasure: They may experience feelings of resentment in their parenting role and simply not enjoy spending time with their children.
  • Disruption in sense of self: Parents may not recognize the parent they have become and may experience seeing themselves as unrecognizable.

These symptoms may be experienced by any parent on occasion, but we should be concerned about parental burnout when symptoms keep going beyond an occasional occurrence and they impact our ability to be the parents we want to be. One of the biggest reasons to take the symptoms seriously is that parental burnout can have long-term negative effects on our relationship with our kid(s).


So what can parents do? The source of parental burnout is an imbalance between the demands a parent faces and the resources a parent has:



If our resources can’t match our demands, burnout is likely. For most of us, we can’t reduce the demands of parenthood, so our best bet is to increase our resources. Here are five steps to identifying parent burnout and healing through increasing our internal resources.

Step 1: Don’t avoid, resist, or ignore.

Often when we start to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or irritated, we’ll find ways of escaping. Everybody has different strategies but common ones include social media, drinking or other numbing substances, or TV. Downtime is important, but these modes of escaping make it hard to see when our tank is running on empty. Alternative downtime activities that allow us to reflect and take stock are walking, taking a long bath, journaling, and talking with your partner or a close friend.

Step 2: Parent burnout check-up.

Take a step back and reflect on how familiar and persistent the symptoms of parental burnout are for you. How intense, frequent, and long-lasting do you experience exhaustion, irritability, loss of pleasure, and a disrupted sense of self? If you’re unsure you can take this quick burnout quiz and get a score in just a few minutes.

Step 3: Schedule mindfulness into each day.

This can be as small as scheduling in a 4-7-8 breathing exercise a few times a day. It can also include scheduling in 10 minutes for Inanna Moon’s Monday Meditations or 15 minutes for Justin Wilford’s emotion-focused Wednesday Wind-Down meditations. Both can be found here in the Recordings Topic in the Flourish Pillar Pathway.

Step 4: Move your body.

The research is clear: exercise gives us energy and fights depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that low to moderate physical activity reduces fatigue and improves energy levels in a wide variety of contexts, from healthy adults to pregnant women, from multiple sclerosis patients to cancer survivors. And hundreds of studies have mapped the pathways by which exercise reduces depression and anxiety, from molecular changes to brain structure changes to positive mental distraction.

Step 5: Reach out to someone who loves you unconditionally.

Research shows that social stress and isolation substantially increase our risks for a wide variety of health problems including burnout. The good news is that this whole process can be completely reversed through deep, loving social connections. This happens by bringing the body’s “rest and digest” healing system online when we sense social safety.

Final note:

We strongly encourage finding professional help if you feel close to parental burnout. All of these steps can definitely help, and friends and family can be a powerful support system. But finding a psychologist/therapist can open up new perspectives on potentially deeper sources of burnout for you.

Above all, trust that change is always possible, and all patterns and habits can be re-wired. Parenting is a continuous growth process with no finish line. We just keep finding new ways to resource ourselves so that we can show up as the parents, and one day, grandparents, we know we can be.

Every Friday, we bring you five related things, ideas, facts, or practices that we hope will make your parenting journey a little easier. This week, it’s five ways to start getting a handle on parental burnout.

Everybody’s heard of “burnout” at work. From the World Health Organization (WHO) to the New York Times to Goop, “occupational burnout” is well recognized. The WHO defines it as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Less attention is paid, however, to parental burnout. Most parents recognize these feelings of exhaustion, negativity, and overwhelm around raising children, being a parent, and keeping it all together. So, is parental burnout just as real as workplace burnout? Absolutely.

While it’s perfectly normal to experience stress from time to time (It means we care and are invested in our family!), parental burnout is a special, more intense, and long-lasting form of this stress. So how do you know if you have parental burnout? Here are the symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: parents feel exhausted by their parenting role and in turn begin to detach emotionally from their children.
  • Irritability: Parents experience irritability and annoyance towards their children and their parenting role.
  • Loss of pleasure: They may experience feelings of resentment in their parenting role and simply not enjoy spending time with their children.
  • Disruption in sense of self: Parents may not recognize the parent they have become and may experience seeing themselves as unrecognizable.

These symptoms may be experienced by any parent on occasion, but we should be concerned about parental burnout when symptoms keep going beyond an occasional occurrence and they impact our ability to be the parents we want to be. One of the biggest reasons to take the symptoms seriously is that parental burnout can have long-term negative effects on our relationship with our kid(s).


So what can parents do? The source of parental burnout is an imbalance between the demands a parent faces and the resources a parent has:



If our resources can’t match our demands, burnout is likely. For most of us, we can’t reduce the demands of parenthood, so our best bet is to increase our resources. Here are five steps to identifying parent burnout and healing through increasing our internal resources.

Step 1: Don’t avoid, resist, or ignore.

Often when we start to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or irritated, we’ll find ways of escaping. Everybody has different strategies but common ones include social media, drinking or other numbing substances, or TV. Downtime is important, but these modes of escaping make it hard to see when our tank is running on empty. Alternative downtime activities that allow us to reflect and take stock are walking, taking a long bath, journaling, and talking with your partner or a close friend.

Step 2: Parent burnout check-up.

Take a step back and reflect on how familiar and persistent the symptoms of parental burnout are for you. How intense, frequent, and long-lasting do you experience exhaustion, irritability, loss of pleasure, and a disrupted sense of self? If you’re unsure you can take this quick burnout quiz and get a score in just a few minutes.

Step 3: Schedule mindfulness into each day.

This can be as small as scheduling in a 4-7-8 breathing exercise a few times a day. It can also include scheduling in 10 minutes for Inanna Moon’s Monday Meditations or 15 minutes for Justin Wilford’s emotion-focused Wednesday Wind-Down meditations. Both can be found here in the Recordings Topic in the Flourish Pillar Pathway.

Step 4: Move your body.

The research is clear: exercise gives us energy and fights depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that low to moderate physical activity reduces fatigue and improves energy levels in a wide variety of contexts, from healthy adults to pregnant women, from multiple sclerosis patients to cancer survivors. And hundreds of studies have mapped the pathways by which exercise reduces depression and anxiety, from molecular changes to brain structure changes to positive mental distraction.

Step 5: Reach out to someone who loves you unconditionally.

Research shows that social stress and isolation substantially increase our risks for a wide variety of health problems including burnout. The good news is that this whole process can be completely reversed through deep, loving social connections. This happens by bringing the body’s “rest and digest” healing system online when we sense social safety.

Final note:

We strongly encourage finding professional help if you feel close to parental burnout. All of these steps can definitely help, and friends and family can be a powerful support system. But finding a psychologist/therapist can open up new perspectives on potentially deeper sources of burnout for you.

Above all, trust that change is always possible, and all patterns and habits can be re-wired. Parenting is a continuous growth process with no finish line. We just keep finding new ways to resource ourselves so that we can show up as the parents, and one day, grandparents, we know we can be.

Every Friday, we bring you five related things, ideas, facts, or practices that we hope will make your parenting journey a little easier. This week, it’s five ways to start getting a handle on parental burnout.

Everybody’s heard of “burnout” at work. From the World Health Organization (WHO) to the New York Times to Goop, “occupational burnout” is well recognized. The WHO defines it as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Less attention is paid, however, to parental burnout. Most parents recognize these feelings of exhaustion, negativity, and overwhelm around raising children, being a parent, and keeping it all together. So, is parental burnout just as real as workplace burnout? Absolutely.

While it’s perfectly normal to experience stress from time to time (It means we care and are invested in our family!), parental burnout is a special, more intense, and long-lasting form of this stress. So how do you know if you have parental burnout? Here are the symptoms:

  • Exhaustion: parents feel exhausted by their parenting role and in turn begin to detach emotionally from their children.
  • Irritability: Parents experience irritability and annoyance towards their children and their parenting role.
  • Loss of pleasure: They may experience feelings of resentment in their parenting role and simply not enjoy spending time with their children.
  • Disruption in sense of self: Parents may not recognize the parent they have become and may experience seeing themselves as unrecognizable.

These symptoms may be experienced by any parent on occasion, but we should be concerned about parental burnout when symptoms keep going beyond an occasional occurrence and they impact our ability to be the parents we want to be. One of the biggest reasons to take the symptoms seriously is that parental burnout can have long-term negative effects on our relationship with our kid(s).


So what can parents do? The source of parental burnout is an imbalance between the demands a parent faces and the resources a parent has:



If our resources can’t match our demands, burnout is likely. For most of us, we can’t reduce the demands of parenthood, so our best bet is to increase our resources. Here are five steps to identifying parent burnout and healing through increasing our internal resources.

Step 1: Don’t avoid, resist, or ignore.

Often when we start to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or irritated, we’ll find ways of escaping. Everybody has different strategies but common ones include social media, drinking or other numbing substances, or TV. Downtime is important, but these modes of escaping make it hard to see when our tank is running on empty. Alternative downtime activities that allow us to reflect and take stock are walking, taking a long bath, journaling, and talking with your partner or a close friend.

Step 2: Parent burnout check-up.

Take a step back and reflect on how familiar and persistent the symptoms of parental burnout are for you. How intense, frequent, and long-lasting do you experience exhaustion, irritability, loss of pleasure, and a disrupted sense of self? If you’re unsure you can take this quick burnout quiz and get a score in just a few minutes.

Step 3: Schedule mindfulness into each day.

This can be as small as scheduling in a 4-7-8 breathing exercise a few times a day. It can also include scheduling in 10 minutes for Inanna Moon’s Monday Meditations or 15 minutes for Justin Wilford’s emotion-focused Wednesday Wind-Down meditations. Both can be found here in the Recordings Topic in the Flourish Pillar Pathway.

Step 4: Move your body.

The research is clear: exercise gives us energy and fights depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that low to moderate physical activity reduces fatigue and improves energy levels in a wide variety of contexts, from healthy adults to pregnant women, from multiple sclerosis patients to cancer survivors. And hundreds of studies have mapped the pathways by which exercise reduces depression and anxiety, from molecular changes to brain structure changes to positive mental distraction.

Step 5: Reach out to someone who loves you unconditionally.

Research shows that social stress and isolation substantially increase our risks for a wide variety of health problems including burnout. The good news is that this whole process can be completely reversed through deep, loving social connections. This happens by bringing the body’s “rest and digest” healing system online when we sense social safety.

Final note:

We strongly encourage finding professional help if you feel close to parental burnout. All of these steps can definitely help, and friends and family can be a powerful support system. But finding a psychologist/therapist can open up new perspectives on potentially deeper sources of burnout for you.

Above all, trust that change is always possible, and all patterns and habits can be re-wired. Parenting is a continuous growth process with no finish line. We just keep finding new ways to resource ourselves so that we can show up as the parents, and one day, grandparents, we know we can be.

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