We all feel burned out at one point or another. Juggling different responsibilities at the same time can take a toll on anyone. Multi-tasking is good, but too much of it can stress both the mind and the body.
When you were working in the office and the kids went to school, everything was dandy. You prepare yourself for work and you prepare your family for their daily activities. You drive them to school, you go to work, you run some errands, then you fetch your children, and go straight home. Your routine may look tiring, and it must have stressed you out back then.
Balancing your motherhood responsibilities and your career can take a toll not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. However, draining your routine must have been, it is safe to say nothing has prepared you for the stress that is the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone thought that having to stay at home would be better than their previous daily work routine. After all, you get to stay at home all day. No more commutes, you get to save on your gas, and you can work in your yoga pants. Sounds like heaven, right? Until you had to do it straight for six months.
The new pressure on working parents is real, bringing risks of chronic stress leading to more serious health problems. The need for medical intervention is necessary so your doctor can assess if you need to do further medical assessments such as an open MRI or blood test.
A New Pressure to Working Parents
Being a working parent is challenging enough. You have to strike the right balance between your responsibilities at home and work. The line between work and family life was clear when you had to go to the office to work and go home after you’re done.
Now with schools going online, children are also staying at home. Aside from working full-time at home, another load was added to the parents: being full-time home school teachers to their younger kids. Add the responsibility of keeping the family safe from the pandemic, it is no wonder parents are more exhausted than ever.
Why Working Mothers are at Higher Risks
There is common thinking that men are the main income earners and that they have higher salaries. The mother has to help protect the father’s job while also doing her work and taking the bulk of the responsibilities at home in her own hands. When the toddler cries while both Mom and Dad are working, who is more likely to leave the desk to attend to the demands of the toddler? It is the mother.
When the child needs to do a craft project, who is more likely to put their work on standby and help him or her? It is the mother. And of course, who is responsible for preparing meals, ensuring that the kitchen pantry has sufficient supply and that the laundry is done? It is the mother.
It is no wonder why in a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it concluded that women are suffering from mental health problems more than men after the pandemic started. The psychological distress of these working moms, although less devastating than those who have lost their jobs, should not be ignored.
Juggling work, home care, being the children’s home school teacher, and making sure that everyone in the family is alright and taken care of all at the same time is hard. This can lead to anxiety and parental burnout.
What makes it even harder for parents is the world’s seemingly high standards for what makes a good parent. You do not just need to feed your family healthy foods. The food must also be organic. Letting the children watch TV or play on their tablets is being judged as parental neglect when all the parent wants is an hour of peace.
Long Periods of Anxiety and Stress Can Lead to Chronic Stress
The Covid-19 pandemic is not likely to go away anytime soon. The longer parents have to deal with anxiety and burnout, the more they are at risk of chronic stress. Stress that continues for months is considered as chronic stress.
Psychological care and intervention are needed to manage the impacts of the pandemic on mental health. The following are the common symptoms that you should look out for:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Digestive issues
- Change in appetite
- A strong sense of helplessness
If stress cannot be managed, you should seek a doctor immediately. Chronic stress can lead to more serious health issues such as heart diseases and high blood pressure. If you are also feeling severe bouts of headaches, your doctor may require you to have an MRI to see if you are at risk of other serious illnesses such as an aneurysm. You can opt for an innovative open MRI scanner for a more stress-free and less claustrophobic experience.
Families can reduce the risks of burnout and chronic stress by having a balanced lifestyle, which may be easier said than done. Have a fixed sleeping time, eat meals on time, and create family time that does not involve school or work. Watch a movie together. Play board games.
Depending on local restrictions in your area, you can go out once in a while. However, remember to practice safe physical distancing, wear masks, and choose less crowded areas. It is important to set aside time for activities that are good for your mental well-being, especially in these uncertain and difficult times.