Posts Tagged :

Burnout

sleep deprivation

No, you’re not losing your mind. You’re sleep deprived.

1024 611 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

Babies don’t sleep. They just don’t. Not like we do.

They don’t operate on a 24-hour cycle, nor do they have any regard for night or day. They can be up to six months old before they begin to show any sense of functional consistency and may be years old before they stop night waking. All this to say, there are legions of sleep deprived parents out there in the world, going about their days in a time-warped slow motion, feeling anything other than themselves.

As a sleep-deprived parent you may find yourself the butt of many jokes or on the end of pitying looks as family and friends – sometimes even strangers –recall ‘the slog’ of their own early parenting days before dishing out supremely unhelpful comments like ‘What else did you expect?’ We’ve all been there. The chances are you’re there right now.

If only it were a laughing matter. But the effects of sleep deprivation are real. You may find it hard to concentrate, suffer memory lapses, mood swings, anxiety, elevated stress, slurred speech, lose your libido, put on weight and even find you have a low immunity making you less able to fend off bugs. At its extreme, studies have shown sleep deprivation can lead to brain damage. That sleep deprivation has been used as a means of torture for centuries says it all really. 

For those of us who have always enjoyed – or survived on – a good night’s sleep, the lack of sleep that comes with being a parent can be a shock. No, debilitating. Of course, some days are better than others and it’s incredible how quickly you can return to baseline with a good night’s sleep, that feeling of being a new person again hard to top.  

Not so long ago, the idea of being able to survive on little sleep may have held some kudos; ‘successful’ people championing themselves on needing as little as two to three hours a night. How we marvelled that Margaret Thatcher could run a country on four hours sleep is, frankly, ridiculous knowing what we know now; that persistent lack of sleep is directly linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Yep, that ship has sailed. Boasting about how little sleep you need is really only a race to the bottom. Sleep is not, ‘just for wimps’.

As a new parent you may covet the enviable extensive sleeping hours of today’s teenagers and your younger self, but instead, ask how is it they can sleep for so long? It is not because they are ‘lazy’. It’s because their brains and bodies are developing at such rapid speed it necessitates the factory reset that sleep brings. Wanting more sleep does not make you lazy. Instead, it shows a healthy regard for your own physical and mental well-being.

According to the US National Institute of Health, ‘When one sleeps the brain reorganizes and recharges itself, and removes toxic waste by-products which have accumulated throughout the day…a minimum of seven hours of daily sleep seems to be necessary for proper cognitive function.’ Seven hours. A luxury if you’re a new parent. And toxic waste? No wonder you’re feeling so rubbish.

In their paper The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep, Andy R Eugene and Jolanta Masiak write “Essentially, sleeping acts as a garbage collector that comes during the night and removes the waste product left by the brain. This allows the brain to function normally the next day when one wakes up from slumber.” Clinically, this is known as the brain’s glymphatic system. We can now appreciate how not getting enough sleep physically alters the chemical balance in your brain, hence the title of this post; You’re not losing your mind, you’re just sleep deprived.

What’s worse, in a punishing twist, the states produced by sleep deprivation can actually make it harder to sleep. Anxiety and depression brought on by poor sleep patterns can often cause insomnia so that you may find when your baby is finally sleeping, frustratingly, you cannot.

So, what is going on in your brain when you are sleeping? Well, sleep turns off the norepinephrine (a stress hormone), serotonin (modulates mood) and histamine (immunity) neurotransmitters, allowing their receptors to rest. Now we can see directly the consequences of not getting enough sleep; the elevated stress levels, a struggle to make a proportionate response to an emotional event, of feeling constantly under the weather – every day a battle. Now we can understand what is happening to us.

And in today’s world of peak perfection and productivity, of having heightened expectations, increased stimulations, technology on tap, of always being ‘on’, of problems being solved in a ‘hack’ we can consume on TikTok then we may be feeling the effects of sleep deprivation more than our predecessors – and its negative effect on our psyche.

But it’s not all bad. It won’t last forever (trust, us, it really won’t). You will get through it. Your children will grow and sleep. Until they do, there are things you can do to address the slump you feel, to try and rebalance your brain and body and feel more like yourself.

Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

Breaking the stigma: A comprehensive guide to parental depression & low mood.

1024 683 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents


Understanding parental depression & low mood

Parental depression and low mood are common but often misunderstood conditions that can have a significant impact on both parents and their children. It is crucial to recognise and understand the signs and symptoms of parental depression in order to provide appropriate support and intervention. Parental depression refers to the presence of depressive symptoms in one or both parents, while low mood encompasses a broader range of negative emotions that may not meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of depression.

Depression is a complex condition that can manifest differently in individuals. Some common signs of parental depression include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, fatigue, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It is important to note that not all parents experiencing depression will exhibit the same symptoms, and the severity and duration of these symptoms can vary. Low mood, on the other hand, can encompass feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, or general dissatisfaction with life.

Impact of parenthood on mental well-being

When a parent experiences depression or low mood, it can have a profound impact on their children’s emotional well-being and development. Children are highly observant and sensitive to changes in their parents’ mood and behaviour, and they may internalise their parent’s emotions, leading to feelings of confusion, guilt, or blame. Parental depression can affect a child’s sense of security, disrupt attachment patterns, and hinder their social and emotional development.

Strategies for combating low mood in parents

There are numerous resources and support systems available for parents dealing with depression and low mood. Online platforms and apps, such as Pareful, provide a wealth of educational resources, articles, and forums where parents can find information, share experiences, and connect with others facing similar challenges. Professional organisations, such as mental health associations and parenting support networks, can also provide valuable resources and referrals to qualified healthcare providers.

Mental health challenges of motherhood

One of the biggest challenges faced by mothers experiencing depression or low mood is the stigma associated with mental health issues. There is often a societal expectation that parents should always be happy and emotionally available for their children, which can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation for those struggling with depression.

Education and raising awareness are key in challenging and dispelling misconceptions about parental depression. By sharing personal stories, providing accurate information, and promoting empathy and understanding, we can help shift the narrative and create a culture of acceptance and support.

Coping with parental depression

Managing depression or low mood as a parent can feel overwhelming, but there are strategies that can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being. It is important to develop a support network of friends, family, or support groups who can offer understanding, encouragement, and practical help when needed. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as hobbies, exercise, or mindfulness practices, can also be beneficial for mental health.


Breaking the stigma surrounding parental depression and low mood needs open conversations, understanding, and practical strategies. Through addressing postnatal depression, understanding the effects of parenthood on mental well-being, and adopting mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude practices, parents can deal with the difficulties while prioritizing their mental health. Our comprehensive resources aim to provide valuable insights and actionable tips to enable parents to strive for mental well-being and challenge the stigma associated with parental mental health difficulties.

Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

Managing anxiety triggered by my child.

1024 683 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

On our journey through life, we encounter a multitude of emotions, each with its own unique flavour and intensity. Among these, anxiety is a formidable foe that can strike unexpectedly, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable. For many parents, a peculiar source of anxiety can be their own child. While parenthood is a cherished experience, it is not uncommon for a parent to find themselves grappling with anxiety triggered by their offspring. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricate web of emotions that form when ‘my child triggers my anxiety.’ We will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and provide practical tips on how to manage and even conquer it.

The complex emotions of parenthood

Parenthood is a profound and rewarding journey, filled with love, joy, and boundless moments of pride. However, it is also a path paved with its own unique set of challenges, including sleepless nights, tantrums, and endless responsibilities. Amidst these challenges, it is entirely normal to experience moments of anxiety. After all, raising a child is a monumental task that demands unwavering commitment and dedication.

Why does my child trigger my anxiety?

Anxiety in parents can manifest in various ways, often triggered by concerns and uncertainties related to their child’s well-being and future. Here are some common reasons why your child might trigger your anxiety:

  • Fear of the Unknown

As a parent, you are acutely aware of the unpredictable nature of life. You worry about your child’s safety, health, and future. This fear of the unknown can be a significant source of anxiety, as you grapple with the uncertainty of what lies ahead for your little one.

  • Comparison with Others

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing your child’s milestones and achievements with those of other children. This constant comparison can lead to self-doubt and anxiety as you wonder if your child is meeting societal expectations.

  • Balancing Act

Juggling the demands of parenthood with personal and professional responsibilities can be overwhelming. The constant need to strike a balance between family and other commitments can lead to stress and anxiety.

  • Overprotective Instincts

A natural instinct for parents is to protect their children from harm. However, when this protective instinct becomes excessive, it can lead to anxiety. Constantly worrying about your child’s safety can take a toll on your mental well-being.

Coping strategies for parental anxiety

While it’s normal to experience anxiety as a parent, it’s essential to develop coping strategies to manage and alleviate these feelings effectively. Here are some practical steps to help you navigate the complex terrain of parental anxiety:

1. Open communication

Maintaining open and honest communication with your child can significantly reduce anxiety. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, and make sure they know you are there to listen and support them.

2. Seek support

Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. Talking about your feelings and concerns with a trusted confidant can provide much-needed relief.

3. Practice self-care

Remember that you cannot be the best parent if you neglect your own well-being. Dedicate time to self-care activities that help you relax and recharge.

4. Set realistic expectations

Avoid comparing your child to others and set realistic expectations based on their unique abilities and strengths. Embrace their individuality and encourage them to develop at their own pace.

5. Mindfulness & meditation

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine can help reduce anxiety. These practices can enhance your ability to stay present and calm in the face of uncertainty.

Certainly, let’s delve further into strategies to overcome parental anxiety and enhance your experience as a parent.

Embrace flexibility

One of the keys to reducing anxiety as a parent is to embrace flexibility. Life with children is inherently unpredictable, and rigid expectations can lead to unnecessary stress. Instead, be open to adapting to changing circumstances and finding creative solutions to unexpected challenges. By staying flexible, you can navigate the ups and downs of parenthood with greater ease.

Connect with other parents

Sharing experiences and advice with other parents can be incredibly reassuring. Joining parenting support groups, either in person or online, can provide you with a sense of community and help you realise that many other parents are facing similar challenges. These connections can offer emotional support and valuable insights into effective parenting strategies.

Prioritise self-compassion

It’s easy for parents to be overly critical of themselves, especially when anxiety creeps in. Remember that no one is a perfect parent, and making mistakes is part of the journey. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a friend facing similar challenges. This shift in mindset can significantly reduce parental anxiety.

Set realistic boundaries

As parents, we often want to provide the best for our children, but it’s essential to set realistic boundaries to prevent burnout. Know your limits and learn to say no when necessary. Prioritise your well-being, as a healthy and balanced parent is better equipped to care for their child effectively.

Seek professional help when needed

If your anxiety as a parent becomes overwhelming and begins to impact your daily life, seeking professional help is a responsible and courageous step. A trained therapist or counsellor can offer guidance and support tailored to your specific situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel that your anxiety is becoming unmanageable.

Celebrate milestones

In the midst of anxiety, it’s easy to overlook the small victories and milestones that your child achieves. Take time to celebrate these moments, no matter how minor they may seem. Recognizing and appreciating your child’s growth and accomplishments can shift your focus from anxiety to joy.

Parenting is a remarkable journey filled with love, growth, and countless cherished memories. However, it is not without its challenges, including the anxiety that can arise when you feel that ‘my child triggers my anxiety.’ By understanding the root causes of this anxiety and implementing practical strategies like open communication, seeking support, practising self-care, and embracing flexibility, you can navigate parenthood with greater ease and confidence.

Remember that parental anxiety is a shared experience, and you are not alone in this journey. Connect with other parents, prioritise self-compassion, and celebrate the moments that make parenthood a beautiful adventure. By doing so, you can not only manage but also thrive in your role as a loving and supportive parent.

Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

‘I don’t like being a mum’: Embracing the challenges of motherhood.

1024 683 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

Motherhood is a journey filled with highs and lows, a rollercoaster of emotions, and an undeniable love that knows no bounds. However, let’s be honest; not every day is a breeze, and it’s okay to admit that some days you don’t like being a mum.

As a mother, you are juggling multiple roles, responsibilities, and expectations, all while trying to maintain your sanity and well-being. The pressure to be a good mom, the internal struggle to balance everything, and the mental toll it takes can leave you feeling overwhelmed and questioning yourself. Yet, amidst the challenges, remember that you are not alone, and every mother, at some point, faces similar feelings.

Accept That Parenting Is Challenging

Being a mum is not easy. Balancing family members, your role as a good mum, and your mental health can be overwhelming. This is especially challenging if you are a stay-at-home mum. But take a deep breath and repeat this affirmation: “I am doing my best, and that’s enough.”

Accepting that motherhood comes with its challenges doesn’t make you a horrible mum; it makes you human. Not every moment will be hard, so take the time to notice and embrace mindfully at least five positive moments each day. It could be your child’s giggle, a loving gesture, or a moment of pure joy.

Moreover, seeking help and support doesn’t mean you are failing as a mother. Reach out to family, friends, or support groups when you feel overwhelmed. Having someone to talk to or share your experiences with can make a world of difference. Nurture your mental health and seek assistance when needed.

Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine to stay grounded. Start with a few minutes of mindful breathing or meditation each morning. Throughout the day, take mindful breaks by focusing on your breath or practicing gratitude. Embrace the present moment and let go of worries about the past or future.

Become Mindfully Present in Motherhood

With endless responsibilities as a mother, it’s easy to be physically present but mentally elsewhere. Mindfulness can change that. When you engage in motherly duties, be fully present in the moment. Engage your senses, listen attentively, and cherish those fleeting moments.

Set aside dedicated time for mindful bonding with your kids. Whether it’s reading a story together, going for a nature walk, or enjoying playtime, being mindfully present during these moments can create lasting memories and deepen your connection with your children.

Practice mindful breathing to calm your mind and body when overwhelmed or emotionally triggered. Take a few deep breaths, focus on your breath, and let go of tension or stress. By grounding yourself in the present moment, you can respond to challenges with patience and composure.

Another mindful practice to consider is journaling. Write down your thoughts and feelings, allowing yourself to process emotions in a non-judgmental way. Journaling can be a therapeutic outlet for expressing your innermost thoughts and gaining clarity as a mother.

Understand Your Expectations

Before becoming a mother, you may have had certain expectations about motherhood. It’s essential to examine those expectations and ask yourself if they were realistic given your knowledge at the time.

If your expectations don’t match reality, it’s okay to acknowledge that and let go of guilt or disappointment. Motherhood is a journey of growth, and it’s okay to adapt and adjust. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you’re doing your best.

To manage feelings of regret or resentment, consider seeking professional support, such as talking to a therapist or counselor. They can provide a safe space to explore your emotions and help you navigate the complexities of motherhood.

A Mindful Journey to Motherhood

In the midst of the daily challenges of motherhood, mindfulness can be your anchor, helping you embrace emotions and experiences. At Pareful, we understand the struggles, the ups and downs, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Mindfulness is not about being perfect; it’s about being kind to yourself and finding peace in the present moment. As you navigate the journey of motherhood, remember that you’re not alone, and there is a mindful path to enjoying motherhood even on tough days.

So, take a moment for yourself, breathe, and explore how mindfulness can help you cherish the joys of motherhood while navigating its challenges. Embrace motherhood mindfully, and let Pareful be your ally on this incredible journey.

Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

Understanding the hidden effects of parental mental health.

1024 683 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to overlook the impact that parental mental health can have on the entire family. While we often focus on the visible signs of mental illness, the hidden effects can be equally profound. Breaking the silence and shedding light on this topic is crucial in order to provide support and understanding to families facing these challenges.

In this article, we will explore the often-overlooked consequences of parental mental health on children, partners, and the overall family dynamic. From the emotional toll it takes on children to the strain it puts on relationships, we’ll delve into the complexities of this issue and offer practical strategies for coping and healing. By increasing awareness and breaking the stigma surrounding parental mental health, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive society for all. So, let’s dive in and uncover the hidden effects of parental mental health that need our attention and understanding.

The Impact of Parental Mental Health on Children

Parental mental health has a profound impact on children, shaping their emotional well-being and overall development. Growing up in a household where a parent is struggling with mental health issues can be incredibly challenging for children. They may witness the emotional turmoil, erratic behavior, and instability that often accompany these conditions. As a result, children may experience feelings of fear, confusion, and even guilt, blaming themselves for their parent’s struggles. The constant exposure to stress and tension can disrupt their sense of security and stability, leading to emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Moreover, children of parents with mental health issues may also be at a higher risk of developing mental health problems themselves. Research has shown that genetics and environmental factors play a role in the transmission of mental health conditions, and growing up in a household with a parent experiencing mental illness can increase the likelihood of developing similar issues. It is therefore crucial to address parental mental health concerns not only for the well-being of the parent but also for the long-term mental health outcomes of their children.

Understanding the Hidden Effects of Parental Mental Health

While the impact of parental mental health on children is well-documented, there are also hidden effects that extend beyond the immediate family unit. For example, when a parent is struggling with mental health issues, it can strain the relationship with their partner or spouse. The non-affected partner may find themselves taking on additional responsibilities, both in terms of household duties and caring for the children. This imbalance can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and even burnout, as the burden of maintaining the family falls heavily on their shoulders.

Additionally, parental mental health can affect the extended family and the wider social network. Family members may feel helpless or unsure of how to support the parent and children, leading to strained relationships and a sense of isolation. Friends and acquaintances may also struggle to understand the challenges faced by the family, further contributing to the sense of stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues. By recognizing and acknowledging these hidden effects, we can begin to address them and provide the necessary support to families experiencing parental mental health challenges.

Common Mental Health Conditions in Parents

Parental mental health issues can manifest in various forms, with some conditions being more prevalent than others. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions experienced by parents. Depression can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of motivation, making it difficult for parents to engage with their children and meet their emotional needs. Anxiety, on the other hand, often manifests as excessive worry and fear, which can impact a parent’s ability to provide a secure and nurturing environment for their children.

Other mental health conditions that may affect parents include bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and substance abuse disorders. Bipolar disorder can result in extreme mood swings and erratic behavior, making it challenging for parents to maintain a stable and consistent presence for their children. Postpartum depression, which affects some new mothers, can interfere with the bonding process and disrupt the early stages of parent-child attachment. Substance abuse disorders can also have a profound impact on parenting abilities, as they can impair judgment, affect emotional stability, and lead to neglect or abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Parental Mental Health Issues

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of parental mental health issues is crucial for early intervention and support. It’s important to note that the symptoms may vary depending on the specific mental health condition and the individual’s unique circumstances. However, some common signs to look out for include:

  1. Changes in mood and behavior: Parents experiencing mental health issues may exhibit noticeable changes in their mood, such as increased irritability, anger, or sadness. They may also withdraw from social activities, lose interest in previously enjoyed hobbies, or display changes in sleep patterns and appetite.
  2. Difficulty functioning: Mental health issues can impact a parent’s ability to carry out daily tasks and responsibilities. They may struggle to maintain their personal hygiene, keep up with household chores, or fulfill their parental duties effectively.
  3. Neglecting self-care: Parents experiencing mental health challenges may neglect their own self-care, putting their physical health and well-being at risk. They may have difficulty attending medical appointments, taking prescribed medications, or engaging in activities that promote self-care and stress reduction.
  4. Affecting parent-child interactions: Mental health issues can interfere with the parent-child relationship, affecting the quality of interactions and the child’s emotional well-being. Parents may have difficulty engaging with their children, expressing affection, or responding to their emotional needs.
  5. Increased substance use: Some parents may turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with their mental health challenges. This can further exacerbate the negative effects on their parenting abilities and overall family dynamics.

If you notice any of these signs or suspect that a parent may be struggling with their mental health, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Encouraging open and non-judgmental communication can create a safe space for the parent to seek help and support.

The Ripple Effect: How Parental Mental Health Affects the Family Dynamic

The impact of parental mental health extends beyond the affected individual. The family dynamic can be significantly altered by the challenges faced by a parent with mental health issues. The strain on the parent-child relationship can lead to increased conflict, tension, and disrupted communication within the family. Children may feel a sense of insecurity and unpredictability, unsure of how their parent’s mental health will affect their daily lives.

Furthermore, the non-affected parent or partner may experience feelings of frustration, helplessness, and resentment. They may feel overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities they have to shoulder, leading to emotional and physical exhaustion. This strain can put a significant strain on the relationship, leading to increased conflict and a breakdown in communication.

The impact of parental mental health on siblings should also be acknowledged. Siblings may feel neglected or overshadowed by the needs of the affected parent, leading to feelings of resentment or a sense of invisibility within the family. It is important to provide support and understanding to all members of the family unit, ensuring that their emotional needs are met and their voices are heard.

Breaking the Silence: Why It’s Important to Talk About Parental Mental Health

Breaking the silence surrounding parental mental health is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to reduce the stigma and shame associated with mental health issues. By openly discussing these challenges, we can create a more compassionate and understanding society that supports individuals and families facing mental health difficulties.

Talking about parental mental health also raises awareness about the hidden effects it can have on children, partners, and the family dynamic. By shedding light on these issues, we can encourage earlier intervention and support, minimizing the long-term impact on families.

Furthermore, open and honest conversations about parental mental health can lead to increased access to resources and support services. Families may feel more empowered to seek help and guidance, knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. This can lead to improved outcomes for both the affected parent and the entire family.

Seeking Help and Support for Parental Mental Health

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges as a parent, it is important to seek help and support. Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources available to assist you in navigating these difficulties.

Start by reaching out to a healthcare professional, such as your family doctor or a mental health specialist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and connect you with appropriate support services.

Therapy can be an invaluable resource for both the affected parent and the entire family. Individual therapy can help the parent address their mental health challenges and develop coping strategies, while family therapy can improve communication, rebuild trust, and strengthen the family unit.

Support groups can also be beneficial, as they provide a safe space for parents to connect with others facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences, exchanging advice, and receiving validation can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide a sense of community.

Additionally, it is important to take care of your own well-being as a parent. Engage in self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Prioritize your physical health by eating nutritious meals, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish but necessary for your own well-being and your ability to care for your family.

Summary

Parental mental health has far-reaching effects on children, partners, and the overall family dynamic. By understanding and addressing these hidden effects, we can provide support and compassion to families facing these challenges. From the emotional toll it takes on children to the strain it puts on relationships, parental mental health requires our attention and understanding.

Breaking the silence surrounding parental mental health is crucial in order to reduce stigma, raise awareness, and provide access to resources and support. By having open and honest conversations, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive society for all families. Seeking help and support is essential, and there are resources available to assist parents and families in their journey towards healing and well-being.

Let us work together to break the silence, increase awareness, and provide support to families affected by parental mental health issues. By doing so, we can create a brighter future for all.

Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

How to keep your energy levels up as a parent.

1024 683 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs in the world. It can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. With the demands of family life, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and drained of energy. However, with these few tips and tricks, you can find ways to remain energised as a parent.

Create Boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and your family. Having clear expectations for how much time and energy you spend on tasks will help prevent burnout. Set limits on how much time you spend on activities such as housework or errands, so that you can focus more on your family and take some downtime for yourself.

Prioritise Self Care
Self-care is essential for any parent—it helps build resilience and maintain balance during difficult times. Take time out of each day to do something just for yourself—whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or meditating—and make sure that it’s something that brings joy into your life. This will help you recharge and give you more energy to devote to parenting when needed.

Schedule Breaks
Having regular breaks throughout the day can be an effective way to give yourself a mental break from parenting duties while still managing your time efficiently. Plan mini-breaks throughout the day where you can step away from your tasks for 10-15 minutes at a time; this gives your mind a chance to rest without feeling guilty about taking too much time away from your responsibilities.


Staying energised as a parent isn’t always easy but with these tips in mind, it can become more manageable. Remember that self-care is essential; if you don’t take care of yourself first, then you won’t have enough energy left over for your family. So find ways that work best for you—whether it be setting boundaries, taking breaks throughout the day or scheduling time just for yourself—to ensure that you have enough energy to get through each day with ease.


Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

Let’s talk competitive parenting.

1024 709 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

Competitive parenting arises from the desire to ensure the best possible development of your children. However, it is easy to see your children too much as an extension of your own ego.

Most parents care deeply about doing a good job raising their children and it’s therefore tempting to make comparisons with other parents and other children to try to see whether the development of your child is ‘on track.’ ‘Good’ parenting has become quite complex and ‘success’ is assessed in a wide range of areas: academic, social, musical, athletic, spiritual, artistic, etc. 

There is also the danger of trying to see parenting as a ‘mechanistic’ input/output model with predictable outcomes. The extreme end of this is the ‘tiger mum’ approach that became popular in 2010s. It assumed that strict parenting characterised by discipline and commitment to excellence focusing on academic achievements creates ‘successful’ children. However, recent research suggest that tiger parenting does not produce high-achieving child prodigies but leaves children with social and psychological issues. This is not to say that parents shouldn’t be ambitious about educating their children. But it is important to keep a balance between the different educational goals and not to sacrifice the child’s happiness and mental wellbeing for pure academic success. 

Parents should also avoid seeing their children as an extension of their own ego or as the ultimate luxury accessory. While our children are the biological result of our gene pool, they are individuals in their own right and should be nurtured to develop their personality.  

The ‘concerted cultivation’ of children can lead to a sense of competition that hurts both children and parents. It makes parents feel anxious, inadequate, and critical of their kids. When parents feel anxious about how they or their children will be evaluated, they tend to behave in more controlling ways. Children who perceive higher levels of criticism from parents also report more feelings of depression and anxiety. At its worst, competitive parenting puts tremendous pressure on children, because the underlying message is that the child needs to achieve in order to prove that the parenting is successful.

It takes a conscious effort to resist the pull of competitive parenting. We need to recognise that our children are not lumps of clay to be moulded. They are each unique constellations of strengths and weaknesses, interests and aversions. They are shaped not just by us, their parents, but also by their own choices, experiences, and other relationships.


Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

The importance of avoiding parental burnout.

1024 684 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging roles an individual can have. Not only are you responsible for taking care of your own needs, but you are also responsible for taking care of the needs of your children. This can be extremely draining, both emotionally and physically. When you reach your limit, it is important to take a step back and focus on taking care of yourself, otherwise you run the risk of burning out.

Signs that you’re burning out

There are several different signs that you may be burning out as a parent. These include:

– Feeling constantly exhausted and run down
– Having difficulty staying focused or motivated
– Withdrawing from friends and activities that you once enjoyed
– Feeling irritable or angry more often than usual
– Experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it is important to take a step back and assess your current situation. Are there any areas in your life that you can delegate to someone else in order to lighten your load? What can you do to make sure that you are taking care of yourself both physically and mentally? Taking some time for yourself – even if it is just 30 minutes each day – can make a world of difference when it comes to preventing burnout.

No one ever said that being a parent was easy. In fact, it is probably one of the most challenging roles an individual can have. It is important to remember, however, that it is okay to take a break every now and then. If you find yourself feeling burnt out, take some time for yourself in order to prevent further damage. Your children will still be there when you come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

Try these self-care tips for new parents.

768 1024 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

You’ve probably heard this advice: Take care of yourself if you want to be the best parent for your child. While that advice might sound good in theory, you might wonder how on earth you could care for yourself when your baby is your number one priority right now. Is that even possible? You probably forgot the last time you showered, let alone practiced self-care. Do you even have the time to do it?

Quite often, we can lose the sense of who we are as we go through the experience of pregnancy and the birth of a newborn baby. You might have mixed feelings about no longer being pregnant, your birth experience, your baby and your new role as a parent. For moms, you might also feel differently about how you look and your body’s changes. It can be an immensely overwhelming experience.

Especially for first-time parents, coming home with your new baby is an adjustment. In this case, you may find that you’re anxious about your ability to care for your baby. You may also be concerned about obtaining less income if one of you stays home with your baby, or you’re worried about spending less time on other activities and relationships. These are all valid and normal concerns of a new parent. Taking care of your baby on top of the changes in your emotions and sleep patterns could take a toll on your mental and physical health.

Practising self-care as new parents begin with the belief that self-care is essential and something that you deserve. We’ve been taught that putting our child’s needs in front of our own needs is actually preferred; in fact, it’s what makes us a good parent, some might say. But, taking care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being isn’t just something nice to add to your neverending to-do lists. It’s actually critical for your overall health.

If all you do is to give, give, and give, you’re likely to experience burnout which can adversely affect your health. If you think burnout is exclusively limited to work-related issues, you’ve got it wrong. It’s proven by research that neglecting your own needs has negative consequences for you and your baby. Without adequate breaks and time to breathe, parents can experience parental burnout.

Parental burnout leads to harmful consequences for children. Among the most shocking effect of parental burnout includes being emotionally distant from your baby, indulging in escape ideation, engaging in some form of parental neglect and experiencing severe emotional exhaustion.

According to a study published in Clinical Psychological Science, the researchers concur that “whatever allows parents to recharge their batteries, avoid exhaustion, is good for children.” So, are you convinced yet that adding some form of self-care into your life should be non-negotiable? Keeping yourself happy and healthy will allow you to give the best care possible for your baby. Remember, your needs matter too.

Self-care is important; you get it. But, what should you do to accomplish it?

The first thing that you have to do is to be kind to yourself. Caring for a new baby is a lot of work, and no new parent has all of the answers– and that’s okay. Remember, you can learn as you go. Take your time to enjoy and get to know your baby. Your smile, voice, facial expressions and gentle touch will help you build the connection needed to develop a healthy attachment with your little one. You fed, cuddled and clothed your baby today, and the house didn’t burn down? You’re doing great.

Good nutrition keeps your energy level up and boosts your overall mood. Your nutrition is vital, especially if you’re breastfeeding and your body needs the extra fuel. So, go easy on the sugar and ensure that you get plenty of iron, protein and omega-3s. You should also try to limit your caffeine intake to the first part of the day. One way to maintain a healthy eating habit is to stock up on healthy snacks and fill your freezer with your favourite good-for-you meals. Eating healthy doesn’t mean bland food. There are tons of healthy recipes that you can find on the internet. Alternatively, you could also take full advantage of the delivery options out there.

Exercise. Yes, although you’ve just become a new parent, getting regular exercise is a form of self-care. As you may know, exercising keeps you healthy, improve your mood, helps you get better sleep and with the added bonus of helping to manage your weight – everything a new parent needs. You have multiple options when it comes to exercising. Firstly, you could find a way to exercise with your baby, like a mommy-and-me yoga class or baby boot camp. Secondly, you could ask your partner to take care of the baby while you exercise. Another option is to check if your local gym offers child care.

Again, there is a common notion among new parents that spending time for yourself when you have a child is an act of selfishness. This is completely untrue. Sadly, some people will continue to spread the message that doing things for yourself is considered self-centred or greedy. But, you’ve got to ignore these people and seek out supportive people who understand the struggles of new parenthood. Even if it’s just for a short time; do something that you enjoy, such as soaking in a hot tub or reading your favourite novel. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on your next challenge.

Let others help you. Now isn’t the time for independence. Your partner, family and friends are there for you and care about you. If they want to be helpful, it’s okay to accept their help. It’s also completely okay to ask others for help if you feel overwhelmed. Also, it’s important to be specific about what you need. Do you need them to do the grocery? Hand them your grocery list. If you need them to fold the laundry, tell them. And remember, they might not do things exactly like you would but don’t let the little things stress you out.

Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean devoting hours to yourself everyday or taking an extended vacation. That sort of thing is out of reach for the majority of typical parents, especially with a newborn baby in the picture. But, that doesn’t mean you should disregard your self-care altogether. Even just spending 10 to 15 minutes per day can be life-changing. The key is to do something you find enjoyable and do it consistently.

Your mood changes, anxiousness and worries will not last forever. Over time, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities to take care of your baby and family. Until you do, don’t forget to incorporate self-care into your day-to-day life as a new parent. You’ll eventually feel more like yourself again. Heck, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish if you start to care for your mental and physical health.


Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.

Surviving sleep deprivation.

1024 683 Get Started with Pareful Today | Meditations & Therapies Built for Parents

Diet
Many of the symptoms of sleep deprivation manifest themselves in impaired cognitive function. In her book Brain Food, Dr Lisa Mosconi explores the neuroscience behind the foods that improve mental fitness. Meaning, there is such a thing as brain food, what Mosconi terms ‘neuro nutrition’.

What most people don’t realise that the nutritional requirements of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs of the body.”

Dr Lisa MosconiThe sugar-laden, carbohydrate heavy foods we crave when we’re tired (and that deliver instant gratification with the first bite) aren’t really doing you any favours in the long term when it comes to combating fatigue. Try to avoid and plump for healthier alternatives instead.

Water is crucial, two litres a day and tap water is absolutely fine, as is bottled mineral water. Purified water ain’t so great as it’s been filtered of all its precious minerals and nutrients. Water-rich fruit and veg is also good; such as cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries, grapefruit and watermelons.

A balance of Omega 3s and 6s is essential to get your neurons communicating properly and can be found not just in fish oils but plant oils (i.e., grapeseed oil). Mosconi also recommends certain nuts and seeds (chia, flaxseed); food high in choline (B vitamins), glucose (spring onions, turnips, apricots, grapes) and phenylalanine (spinach, high-protein animal products).  Her book contains some brilliant brain-boosting recipes and we’re a particular fan of her cacao smoothie, which tastes like pudding in a glass – and is still good for you! Wins! Proof that you don’t have to forgo sweet treats.

Exercise
We know. It’s hard to exercise when you’ve a baby – or two – in tow. But it’s crucial. Exercise literally changes your state of mind, be it a stroll with the pram, an at home HIIT workout or a 10-minute yoga flow with the baby on the mat beside you. There are exercise classes up and down the country that cater to new parents where you can actually leave the house and exercise in a group setting with your babies and toddlers. Do whatever you feel most comfortable with, but the point here is really to do it. Shoehorn it into your day. Perhaps this might mean asking a partner or a friend to take over whilst you exercise, and that’s ok.

Yes, when you’re exhausted the last thing you feel like doing is exhausting yourself even more, but it really works. It’s a great stress reliever and ushers in a feeling of real positivity and achievement. So do try to set aside a little time every day to exercise. You won’t regret it.

Sloooww down & step off
Sometimes having a baby can feel like operating in the normal world with your hands tied behind your back. Things take longer, you can’t just­–

All the stuff you used to be able to do at your peak productivity, well, try not to lament it. That was then, this is now. A different gravy. The laundry will wait. And the world will still turn.

Do less.

Don’t expect so much of yourself.

Give yourself a break.

You’re raising a child, not trying to be a superhero.

Screen time
Your circadian rhythms are already shot with the arrival of a new baby, and screen time at night will only exacerbate the situation. If you need something to while away the witching hours then try swapping your scrolling for audio books – or the shipping forecast, and you’ll probably find it much easier to fall back asleep if/when your baby does.

Have a giggle
Don’t be afraid to be silly. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. Embrace the ridiculous situations that often present themselves to you as a new parent; projectile poo/wee whilst changing a nappy; thinking you could get a quick quiet coffee only for your baby to howl down the café, the list is long…Try to laugh about them. Or, if you find that difficult, get your laughs in watching a TV programme you love or a clip of your favourite comedian on social media. Whatever it is, laughter can break through the tension. It always feels good to giggle. Find comfort in the little things. 

Cuddle your partner as well as your baby
Having an addition to the family can be isolating for a partner, especially if you’re night feeding in another bedroom. Physical contact is so important. Get close, enjoy a hug. If you’re a single parent, don’t underestimate the strength of an embrace from a friend. Sometimes, it really is the little things that make all the difference.

Sleep, whenever, wherever.
As discussed in our first blog post, there are no-points for martyrdom in the sleep stakes. Get it whilst you can. Forget household chores and put your head down, even if it’s just for 10 minutes for a quick refresh. Clinical studies have shown that a nap of less than half an hour in the day promotes wakefulness, enhances performance and learning ability.

Writer and memoirist Amy Liptrot regularly extolls the restorative effect of a stolen ‘wild sleep’ with her young children. Or, join the army of parents who sleep in cinema matinee performances. Whatever it takes, you’ll be much more capable of completing your to-do lists if you’ve had more sleep. Forget the pressures of being productive and remind yourself how much you’re taking care of yourself getting in all the sleep you can.


Monthly wisdom you can digest
in under 5 minutes, for free.