Post-Holiday Burnout: A Guide For Parents
The gifts have been opened, the leftovers are gone from the fridge. The cheer and busy-ness of the holiday season is over, and although it may seem like a welcome relief, it can also be overwhelming for parents to start getting their life back in order. A common complaint we hear from clients at this time of year is figuring out where to start and how to delegate tasks. Here are a few pointers to keep your mind at ease as you figure out how to find some stability once more.
- If you have family members that are willing and able to help, take up their offer!
Sure, maybe grandma likes to wash the dishes a different way than you do. Or maybe the well-meaning, childless uncle only knows how to sit the kids down for a movie. But many hands make light work, and being able to overlook the minor details can be vital in giving you a mental break.Are you having trouble overlooking how things are done around the home? Consider the tasks you are worried about and analyze whether or not they are issues that will have long-term consequences or short-term consequences.For example, someone helping out and overindulging your kids with sweets may cause a minor inconvenience the day of. But, for the most part, the effects are short-term. If you encounter immediate risk issues or long term consequences, such as having a child who is diabetic, then you may be better off taking charge of this task, and delegating other things to someone else.
- Prioritize your chores. Be okay with the things that have to be left for a later time.
Acceptance that your house may not be in tip top shape right away can help reduce your stress. Accepting does not mean giving up, but rather acknowledging that the state of things are transient and that you are doing the best you can right now. It means you are able to deliberately turn a blind eye to the least important tasks, while you slowly get the time and energy to go through those tasks.We often run into a sense of desperation when we are unable to see the light at the end of a tunnel. Perhaps you yourself are accepting of the state of the home, but your partner is the one who is feeling anxious and stressed. This is an excellent opportunity to tune in with each other again and review what is most important for the family. You can take a factor that is causing stress and convert it into a point of connection.
- If your kids are old enough, give them small tasks
If your children have the developmental ability to assist with even the tiniest of tasks, that can be one less thing for you to worry about. Again, this is a situation where you may need to turn a blind eye and let go of control of how things are getting done.Examples of tasks that most elementary aged children can do are:
- Sock matching
- Picking up toys
- Unloading clean dishes from the dishwasher
- Making their bed
- Give yourself grace
Although it may feel like it at times, your home is not the only one that is recovering from the holidays. People may not openly talk about it with each other, but as therapists we hear similar stories from parents on a daily basis. Remember that when you start making comparisons, you may not be getting the full picture, and may be judging yourself harshly. Give yourself some grace, and time will allow things to