How to Take Care of Your Family Through Burnout
Caring for a family is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. But it brings with it a lot of stress and exhaustion. The onset of the pandemic in early 2020 took a toll on many families, especially those held together by single parents.
A report on the COVID-19 economy revealed that as many as 9.8 million working mothers in the US suffered from burnout throughout most of 2020. A majority of these women are black single mothers who have to juggle caring for their families and their work responsibilities.
According to an analysis by Maven Clinic, just being a single black mother with a child to care for increases your risk of burnout by 28%. This is a frighteningly high figure that shows just how serious the burnout problem is in the black community. Luckily, there are proven, simple ways to lower this risk and even overcome stress, exhaustion, and burnout.
If you are a single black woman with a family, here are five tips that you can use to minimize burnout and take better care of yourself as you care for your family.
1. Get Help From Your Support System
One of the causes of burnout is isolation. When there is too much to do, too many mouths to feed, and bills to pay, it is not uncommon for a parent to get lost in taking care of the family. They may often have little time to network and grow their support systems.
If you do not have a support system, make it a priority to set it up. Your support group may include friends you can trust, family members you can rely on, and coworkers who understand your situation.
It is tempting to handle everything on your own. But every parent needs help — whether it’s someone to watch the kids or bail them out of an urgent financial need. There are also numerous organizations that support single black mothers emotionally and financially when they need it.
Some of the most popular you can reach out to are:
2. Give Yourself Regular Breaks
Leisure and alone time are luxuries for many busy mothers caring for their families. The human body can only go for so long without a break.
The best way to avoid and reverse burnout symptoms is to carve breaks into your schedule. Then make sure you take them. You owe it to yourself, as well as your family, to get rest and do the things you are passionate about.
Being busy is not always being productive. In many cases, taking a break from a busy schedule is a sure way to increase your productivity in everything you do. Make use of this time to maintain your personal relationships, nurture your feelings, and even pamper yourself.
3. Share Household Chores With Older Children
While you may feel responsible for feeding, clothing, and educating all your children, it is crucial that they also learn to take care of themselves and their younger siblings.
An efficient family is one in which everyone capable plays their part. Be it doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or cooking simple meals, the older children must understand that they can do some of the chores for the family.
If you have older kids in the house, introduce them to responsibility, discipline, and the importance of being independent as soon as you feel they are old enough. This will train them to become better adults. It will also save you a lot of pain and stress.
As a general strategy, come up with a regular schedule that assigns the older children duties and responsibilities. It is much easier for them to learn and complete their chores when they can do them at the same time every day or week.
4. Reevaluate Your Core Priorities
Burnout is often a symptom that something in your life is not working as it should. Rather than continually treat the symptom, it may be time to look deeper and determine where the real problem stems from. Some single mothers manage to beat stress and burnout by taking the time to reconsider their life goals, dreams, and hopes.
You may find that there is something important you are neglecting when you shouldn't. You may even be investing too much effort in something that is not very important to you or the family. Most notable is investing effort in a relationship because you have already invested too much to quit.
Such a revelation can help you rediscover what matters. Then you can allow yourself the time to heal and grow as a person and as a family caregiver.
5. Take Good Care of Your Health
Consider your body a car in which your entire family rides. Everyone relies on it to get to the destination. You need to make sure it gets the right fuel and proper maintenance to run reliably. Neglecting it could lead to breakdowns and high repair costs. Also, no one depending on it will get to where they are going.
Proper care of your health includes taking care of the body as well as the mind. Eating healthy, exercising, and getting a good night's sleep every night is an excellent way to start taking care of your health. Staying healthier also means taking the time to keep your relationships — at work and home — healthy.
You also need to keep your doctor appointments, even when you feel fine. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation walks can go a long way to keeping your body and mind healthier for a longer, happier life.
Single mothers have to bear a lot of responsibility for raising a family. Statistics show that single mothers become so overwhelmed that they break down in stress and burnout in many cases. Do not be a statistic; use these crucial tips to stay ahead of stress. Then you can see your young ones grow old enough to take care of you.