Here at the Company of Dads we know what it means to be a Lead Dad – the go-to parent for appointments, sports, a shoulder to cry on, and so much more. Many of us ‘Default Parents’ are also trying to balance jobs as well—and that can lead to burnout.
We polled our Dad Community to find out how they avoided, or lessened, burnout:
- Being active. Don’t get bogged down with thinking you need to be an Olympic athlete. Research shows that 20 minutes a day of vigorous exercise elevates your heart rates and reduces your stress levels. It also helps to maintain some level of fitness.
- Taking “me” time. This can be easier said than done. But there’s a huge psychological benefit to sitting down with your partner (if you have one) and blocking out chunks of time where you can go and enjoy your hobbies – or simply be in a separate room to binge a show alone.
- Delegate or outsource. Whether it’s something from the mental or physical load category, delegating things to others can help alleviate burnout. One of our Dad allies and leaders on the Working Mom front, Eve Rodskey, talks about owning tasks from start to finish. That’s key for the Lead Dad (or Mom) to know that their partner will handle tasks such as meal planning or ordering groceries from start to finish. It eliminates that from your mental load.
- Time management. Dads reported that having routines and structure was extremely helpful in reducing their stress (and potential burnout). It allows them to focus and be present in what they’re doing throughout their day.
- Get out of the house. It can be easy to get stuck in the loop of working and parenting from home. Make a conscious effort to get out of the house to do something for yourself—even if that’s aimlessly wandering your favorite store or catching the latest Jerry Bruckheimer production.
- Keep communication open. One Dad noted that he recently went through burnout and decided to have a conversation with his partner. The outcome? His partner now does the bath and bedtime routine a couple of nights a week. It’s helped tremendously in allowing him to be “off” for the night and wind down much earlier than usual.
An important reminder to parents: you can’t fill from an empty cup. Taking time for yourself is not selfish—but rather helps recharge you and allows you to be a better partner and parent.