Parents and carers: How to avoid burnout

Top tips for parents to avoid burning out

Guest Blog from Leona Young, Burnout Coach

As May is #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth we asked Burnout Coach Leona Young to tell us her three top tips to avoiding stress and promoting wellbeing in your life.

At Wee Seeds we focus on helping parents and carers, and professionals, plant the seeds of wellbeing in the early years, by teaching wellbeing skills – but what about us? 

If we’re not looking after ourselves then we’re not offering a good example to our children, and we won’t have capacity to teach them wellbeing.

So try Leona’s top three tips, and let us know how you get on. We’d love to have you in our private parents and carers community on Facebook where you can share your wins.

We also caught up with Leona on Instagram this week if you want to listen to that here's the link

Top tips for parents and cares to avoid burnout - by Leona Young

1. Take regular small breaks throughout the day.

You don't always need big blocks of 'self-care time' - small, regular pauses throughout your day are more effective at reducing stress levels and regulating your nervous system, so that you are able to manage your emotions in a healthy way.

I encourage people to set a reminder/alarm on their phone for every few hours throughout their day, as a trigger to remind them to take a pause from what they are doing and bring them back into the present for a moment.

Where you are and how much time you have will determine what sort of action you can take in that moment - however, my biggest tip is to slow down your breath even for as little as one minute (you can do this absolutely anywhere without anyone even noticing!!) as this will start to regulate your nervous system and send a message to your body and mind that you are calm and safe. Breathing in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 7 is a simple technique that is highly effective.

Use these mini breaks to do something that will give you a natural reset - getting out a walk in nature or even into your garden for fresh air, having your tea/coffee without any distractions (no tv, phone, laptop etc..), putting on your favourite song, moving your body/doing some exercise in a way that you enjoy and is fun, reading a couple of pages of a book, sitting in silence.

2. Schedule in one fun thing.

Most parents live busy lives, juggling a million things on their never-ending to-do list and often this means that time for themselves is limited. Fun can be one of the first things to disappear when we have so much else going on that we are responsible for but it is so important for people to bring this into their lives on a regular basis to look after and protect their own well-being.

Scheduling in one fun thing to do every week will bring more balance into your life, improve your mood, reduce stress, and could improve your relationships and connections. When we feel better in ourselves, this energy projects out onto others and we communicate better with those around us, including our children.

It is important to do something that YOU find fun (not doing things just because everyone else is doing it), because everyone's definition of fun is different. So whether your definition of fun is meeting up with friends or spending time alone, doing something adventurous or relaxing reading a book, I encourage you to try different things and go on a journey of finding out what is fun for you.

If this feels unachievable for you at first, look at how you can incorporate fun into your daily life - go on the swings with your kids at the park, blast your favourite music on your way back from school drop off, get the family involved in the housework and make it into a game etc. Fun can be found in the small things in life, only if we allow it!

3. Create an evening routine.

There will be days when your day runs you and you get to the end and find you've not stopped for a breather all day - life happens and sometimes we can't control what goes on. By creating a relaxing evening routine, this allows you to still carve out some time for yourself to de-stress and offload any heaviness of the day.

Your evening routine should incorporate things that help you to wind down which will help prepare you for a good rest. Find out what you enjoy and what works for you, but some suggestions could be a warm bath/shower, no phone or TV 30 mins before bed (try reading instead), put your phone away from where you sleep, some light movement/stretches, doing a breathing technique that will slow down your breath, listening to a meditation or relaxing music, lying on an accupressure mat. You could try a brain dump (free-writing down everything that is in your head on a bit of paper in note form (it doesn't even need to make sense!)) to help to create space and in your mind and off-load any worries.

Your evening routine doesn’t have to be the same every night, mix it up so you don't get bored, but do something that will recharge you, not deplete your energy even more.

Find out more about Leona's RESET YOUR LIFE challenge - starting next week here 🙏