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EARLY YEARS: Parent burnout is soaring amid the pandemic

Local life coach says the key is to keep it simple, and maintain self-care
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 5:54 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -With families having to pivot and figure out different ways to navigate school, work, and home life, studies show parent burnout is at an all-time high.

April Walker is a single mom of three girls, who lost her job in March due to the pandemic. The stress has taken a toll on her emotional health.

“It’s not good most days. My kids, sometimes it’s like they’re walking egg shells. It’s like ‘should we talk to her today or should we not,’ says Walker.

Like many parents, Walker is trying to maneuver school for her kids, while finding new job opportunities.

Adding to her struggles, her unemployment benefits are about to end.

“You know, I’ve made it 16 years as a single mom and I’ve done okay, and it’s like, the pandemic comes and it’s just constantly going through your head, when is it going to end? When can I get back to normal?”

So many of us are asking that question.

According to a study cited on parents.com, some 53% of adults in the U.S. say worry and stress related to the coronavirus have had a negative impact on their mental health.

Staying active and being flexible with schedules helps mom Allison Bowersock handle the pandemic stress.

Bowersock and her husband are also running their business from their home, as they handle homeschooling their two kids.

”I’ve found since March, we really don’t have a routine that works the best. Just try to be flexible, you know. That’s kind of the name of the game right now is be flexible,” says Allison Bowersock. Good advice there!

We also sought out words of wisdom from life coach Deborah Kaplan, who says attitude of gratitude can help parents, when they feel like they’re at the end of their rope.

“Some don’t have food. Some don’t have shelter. So, along with the stress, I think there’s a reminder to incorporate gratefulness and that really grounds us on those really horrible days,” says Kaplan.

Kaplan says keeping things simple, whether it’s the holidays or some other family occasion, can also relieve that pressure parents often put on themselves.

As for Walker, she’s learning to cope by enjoying the simpler things.

“Actually, my boyfriend and I, we sit home a lot and we play like old school board games, We’ve become really good at Yahtzee, and actually, it does help,” says Walker.

For Bowersock, the outdoors is her sanctuary.

“Just doing what you can to maintain your sanity, whatever that is.”

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