Emily Vujicic, Psychologist
Sometimes it’s incredible to think about what our body can take during times of stress. We can continue to ‘soldier on’ during busy and stressful life events, while juggling work, family, friends, finances, and the list continues. Being a parent can bring about some of the most stressful times of our lives. We can find that we become exhausted, and resentful, and while juggling all of those balls, it often feels like what we are doing is just not good enough.
Most of the time, we find that we can do this OK, but ‘burning the candle at both ends’ over a prolonged period of time can have a significant and detrimental effect on our health and well-being.
There are 6 specific areas of life/work that have been identified as contributing to stress and burnout.
A feeling of a lack of control, and not having a say in what is going on can be created by the uncertainty or ambiguity of a situation.
When your core values are in conflict with someone or with an event, this can be very stressful. This may be an increase in work demands that is impacting on family time.
Feeling taken for granted or feel like you are not being appreciated can be a common feeling for all parents and can be a contributor to those feelings of resentment.
With demands of home and work, it can often feel like it is impossible to prioritise. Everything seems like it is the most important task, and it can feel endless.
Feeling on top of things can be even harder if you feel like there is something that is unfair about what is in front of you.
Finally, if you feel like there is a breakdown of in the connection between your loved ones, it can feel incredibly stressful and isolating.
As the stress continues we find that we continue to get sick. This is because our immune system is being weakened, and we are more vulnerable to illness. It also takes us longer to feel better when we are stressed. We also feel a lack of energy or fatigued. It might mean coming home from work and being unable to muster up the energy to do extra things like exercise, or hobbies that you enjoy.
To help reduce the chance of burnout, it takes practise to remind ourselves to be “good enough” and not perfect. This is not always easy, and it much easier said than done, but it helps us to remember the good and positive things that we are doing and achieving, rather than the things we are not doing, or missing. The feelings of gratitude are a major contributor to happiness, while perfectionism can be linked to depression and anxiety. Read Part 2 of this blog post to learn how to help bring your focus back to the positive.