A guest blog by Dr Shireen Saluja
What is parental burnout?
Parental burn out is a term I have heard more and more since becoming a parent myself. I guess I never really noticed it until it started happening to me. Yes, I too, a Clinical Psychologist experience parental (mental) burn out. Like most parents, my life revolves around my children. What are they eating? Are they gaining enough weight? Are they playing nice? Why are they waking so frequently? Why is my child in my bed again?
If you are asking these questions; while also feeding your children, doing school runs, working, and trying to have a marriage… this is BURN OUT! It’s the behaviour and questions we engage in every day that leads to our parental burn out. CNN on May 9th, 2017 wrote a wonderful article on parental burnout. The article used a study published in Journal frontiers in Psychology that found 13% of parents surveyed had “high burnout.” The study found that parents were exhausted, felt withdrawn from each other; their productivity was less and felt less competent.
What can we do about it?
We all want the best for our children, but does it have to be at the cost of our own happiness and mental sanity? Post Natal Depression (PND) as a diagnosis is usually given after one has given birth or within a year of giving birth. However, no one talks about the rest of your child’s childhood. We can feel equally if not worse PND like symptoms as mums and dads years into having children. Just because you have not given birth recently and you are a seasoned parent you should not feel ashamed or scared to discuss your burn out with your partner, health visitors, GP or even a Chartered Psychologist.
One major cause of parental burn out is lack of sleep. Sleep is a key ingredient in brain functioning and sustaining a healthy mental health. New parents often describe their lack of sleep or babies sleep issues as the primary reason for stress, depression and even anxiety. People try multiple things to help their children sleep and get into a routine. One such device that I have recently used myself is that of “myHummy.” This brilliant device that is soft, plush, extremely cuddly and plays white noise to help rock your child into a deep snooze. The beauty of this product is, you don’t have to keep turning it on or off when your baby wakes or falls asleep. It automatically turns on when your baby wakes up or stirs. Its relaxing white noise not only put my child to sleep, but also drifted me into a relaxed state. I don’t normally promote any sleep aid products, as I never had to use them with my first baby. Also, myHummy wasn’t around when she was born. My second baby just had a hard time going to bed. He wouldn’t sleep for hours and constantly woke every 2 hours. Myhummy has helped promote good sleep for my baby and for myself.
About the author: Dr Shireen Saluja is a HCPC & BPS Registered Chartered Clinical Psychologist and director of Buckinghamshire Psychology Ltd. Dr Shireen strongly believes that good quality sleep is essential and a lack thereof is a leading cause to mental health issues.
If you feel like you are struggling and need to talk to someone or would like more information please contact Dr Saluja at +442077179022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are not alone in this ❤