The pandemic has forced life in general to change, but for parents, these changes can be especially stressful.
Trying to manage home school or hybrid school from home along with work demands and social distancing challenges can weigh heavily on individuals with families.
Self-care is important in uncertain times, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic, take steps to manage your mental health needs, and if needed, seek parent counseling.
Recognizing Pandemic Fatigue/Burnout
Almost everyone is feeling out of sorts when trying to adjust to the new normal we’re all facing, but it’s crucial to understand the difference between struggling and facing a potential mental health crisis.
If you’re experiencing the following symptoms as you navigate your work and life balance during COVID-19, you may be suffering from pandemic fatigue or burnout.
- Becoming easily irritable, upset, or angry with your family
- Feeling exhausted despite going to bed at a reasonable time
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling emotionally drained or easily upset
- Experiencing feelings of emptiness
- Noticing an increase in family arguments
- Feeling unproductive, or like the days are wasted
While these feelings are normal to experience on occasion, experiencing them every day or nearly every day is a sign that changes need to be made.
Managing Expectations for Mental Wellbeing
Pandemic fatigue can weigh heavily on a parent’s mental health, which is why it’s extremely important to keep an eye on your symptoms and make an effort to manage them before they get out of control.
If you notice that you’re feeling so overwhelmed and sad that you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, try these steps to help relieve some of the pressure you’re facing.
- Give yourself a break. Pandemic life is new. It’s not something you’re expected to handle perfectly so when you feel like you’re struggling, realize that you’re not alone.
- Be open with your children. While it isn’t a good idea to expose your children to more than what they can handle, being honest about your feelings is acceptable. If your children are old enough to understand, explain that you’re feeling overwhelmed and list a few things you’d like them to do in order to help you (ex: I am feeling tired, and it would help me if you’d keep your voices down.). Keep an open line of communication without unloading on them.
- Talk to your partner/co-parent/friend. It’s hard to handle new norms by yourself, so reach out to your partner, your children’s other parent, or a trusted friend to talk to about your feelings. Sometimes it helps to vent your frustrations to another adult and if this other adult is a member of your household, it might encourage this person to help out.
- Encourage open expression at home. While your parental mental health is strained under the weight of new responsibilities, your partner and children are likely struggling as well. We are all going through new changes, so to help relieve some of the complex emotions you’re facing as a family, set up a daily time for your family to openly discuss your feelings and support each other through challenges.
- Seek professional help. When things become too much to handle on your own, it’s okay to reach out to a professional and attend parent counseling. Parent counseling will not only give you and possibly your child(ren)’s other parent time to vent, but a licensed therapist can help you develop healthy new practices in order to manage your stress levels.
You’re Not Alone
Millions of parents just like you have had to make drastic changes to their lives practically overnight.
You have gone from being a parent at home and a worker at your place of employment to a parent, teacher, AND worker under a single roof with almost no time to adjust.
If you’re struggling to manage having your children at home 24/7, it does not make you a bad parent, and it doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy having your children around.
Everyone needs time to themselves and now that you’re suddenly unable to be alone, it can be hard to maintain your mental wellbeing.
If you’d like to seek support for your parent counseling needs, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many parents struggling with their mental health, and we would be honored to help you, too.
We understand the challenges associated with being a parent, especially during a pandemic. As such, we offer parent-specific counseling to help individuals and couples with children.
Please feel free to reach out to us to set up a complimentary consult call so we can match you with the best therapist for your situation.