ORLANDO, Fla. – Parental burnout is nothing new. Throughout history, moms and dads everywhere have experienced stress and anxiety associated with parenting. But COVID-19 has brought a whole new set of issues, as parental burnout is on the rise.
Homeschooling, soccer games, dinnertime, science projects, sleep overs, baseball tournaments, snack time, carpool, financial stress, all this while dealing with a pandemic.
“There’s just so much uncertainty right now in the environment. And our research suggests that uncertainty is really, really draining,” Mindy Shoss, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida said.
A new study out of The Ohio State University found 66% of working parents meet the criteria for parental burnout. Unchecked parental burnout is associated with depression, anxiety, increased alcohol consumption, and punitive parenting practices.
“I’d recommend for everyone to sit down and, do an audit to think about, okay, if I looked at my life like a strategic plan, what are the things that are important to me? How can I offload perhaps the things that are draining me, but are not so important,” Shoss said.
Researchers suggest parents take five to ten minute “recovery breaks” for stress relief throughout the day. Research shows if you can’t get enough sleep at night, 20-minute power naps can reduce stress. Also, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can decrease mental exhaustion, improve mood and cognitive flexibility.
The report found parental burnout was increased in households with two or three children, plateaued with four or five children, and increased again with six or more children. Women were also more likely to report burnout than men.