Helping Your Family Avoid Burnout


Our families are busier than they have been in any previous generation. It is typical for many families to have two working parents, or a single working parent with no backup source of income. Families generally have children who attend school either within or outside of the home, and piggy-back school hours with extracurricular activities designed to “enhance” their childhood experience. Additionally, families often attend some form of church and engage in social activities that stretch their time even further.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The pressure that children face to do well in school, sports, and other activities is magnified by the nature of their goals. Kids who want to compete in sports, ensure their enrollment in college, and build skills relevant to an ever-evolving world often find themselves overwhelmed with studies, practices, and participation requirements with demands equivalent to those of a full-time job.

Under so much stress and with everyone being pulled in many different directions, overwhelm and burnout are likely to hit each person full-force – which effects the family as a whole. What can parents do to protect their families from burnout?

Here are some important tips to help guard your family from the danger of burning out: 

Communicate- Families that have open lines of communication generally have an easier time avoiding burnout. Being open and honest with each other about the status of the family and the various expectations of its members is the best way to see burnout risks approaching. Holding family meetings and evaluating the pros and cons of the activities and commitments the family has taken on will help everyone keep their finger on the pulse of their family’s health. If a family member begins to show signs of overwhelm, fatigue, and burnout, you can take quick action to evaluate what is happening and help alleviate their stress.

Evaluate- Families do best when they routinely evaluate how they feel about the various aspects of their lives. Reviewing the commitments, the requirements, and the non-essential elements of your life together helps bring the big picture into perspective. Is a family member taking on too much? Is someone suffering in an area of their life and in need of support? Evaluate the structure that the family unit is working from and see if adjustments should be made.

Alleviate- Overwhelm quickly turns into burnout without a plan of action. Alleviating stress as soon as possible is the key to preventing the physical and emotional damage caused by burnout. Sometimes it only takes a very small adjustment to stop overwhelm in its tracks. Getting help, saying no, and strategically changing your commitments are all good ways to alleviate the pressure.

Celebrate- When a milestone is hit, someone has a wonderful outcome, or their hard work pays off, take time to celebrate! Remind your family that dedication and perseverance are worth the effort. This simple act of celebration may be the chance to taste that “carrot on the end of the stick” your family member needs to keep working hard and stay the course when they feel overwhelmed.

A family is a unit of people working in tandem with one another. When a family member is at risk for burnout, their whole family is at risk as well. Prevention is the key to keeping burnout at bay so that your family can stay engaged in life and playing to win.

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