As a parent of a child with ADHD, I was reading an article the other day on the ADDitude website (www.additudemag.com) that hit home. The more I sat with the feelings this article bought up, it highlighted something we ALL go through in varying degrees during different stages of parenting.
What is hyper vigilance? It is a continual heightened state of vigilance.
While common in parents of children with neuro divergent conditions, we can not discount the effects on the mental health of all parents. Different stages and milestones of parenting will bring about hyper-vigilant behaviours and actions. These may include -
Children getting their driver's licence
Children moving out of home
Children travelling overseas
The pending arrival of grandchildren
The above moments and more can bring about emotional responses that we may or may not expect to have. Even if our responses are not as strong as hyper vigilance, parenting can bring about three MAJOR effects to our mental and emotional health.
STRESS + ANXIETY
Rest assured, to a point these are completely NORMAL aspects of parenting. It is completely okay to have anxiety around sending your children to school for the first time or experiencing stress when your children are learning how to drive. But, what happens when we experience too much of both? This is NOT healthy. Like many equations, all these smaller moments can add up to something much bigger...
Hands up if you've fallen asleep putting your children to bed! Me, too. Many, many times. Being tired is okay, after all we are packing a lot into our days. Fitting in work, school, extra-curricular activities, housework and other commitments into 16 of 24 hours of our day is no easy feat. How many times are you brushing off tiredness with other symptoms? Maybe they might be recurring headaches, a little extra weight gain, a lack of sleep or odd menstrual cycles, just to name a few.
Let me guess, you will be fine in a few weeks when a sporting season finishes or work quietens down. I used those two excuses and many others to ignore the messages my body was giving me. These behaviour patterns and coping mechanisms were NOT OKAY.
When you are in a state of burnout, 99 times out of 100 you are putting the well being of others (kids, partner, work, friends and extended family) above your own. However, what is hard to realise in this state is, much of this effort will most likely prove to be ineffective. We seem to overcompensate by giving more, for the same or unfortunately, lesser results. Because we don't refuse to give up for those we love, we keep going and going on an empty tank. Which only comes back to adding more stress and anxiety to our lives, further compounding the physical, emotional and mental symptoms of burnout.
All is not lost though! I invite you to join me and the wonderful BeYOUtiful mentor Jacqui O'Connor of HeartPlace NZ (Heart Place – Replenish • Recharge • Reconnect) as we chat about our own symptoms and experiences with burnout, including the effect on our children and families.
Tune in on Instagram Live this Wednesday 24/2/21 @ 10.30am AWST/ 3.30pm NZT at @the_health_and_wellbeing_haven
To discuss your own journey through parenting or to work out if burnout is effecting you, please contact me for a confidential discussion to see how The Health & Wellbeing Haven can help you work your way back to aligned health.
Claire @ The Health & Wellbeing Haven