Interacting with children, whether you are parent or caretaker, can be tiring and stressful. Prolonged stress leads to burnout. Burnout happens in stages. It begins with feeling overwhelmed by demands, fatigue and irritability with others. We simply lack the energy and patience to foster positive interaction. We may experience physical symptoms like frequent colds, headaches, muscle aches, upset stomach, or insomnia. While individual symptoms are varied, a person under a prolonged level of high stress is likely to experience some of them. Overreaction to minor problems and emotional outbursts are common. People who were once cooperative and easy to work with become increasingly problematic in the workplace and productivity suffers.
Stressed out employees tend to come in late, call in sick and give lots of excuses for poor performance. Feelings of uselessness and helplessness often accompany a chronic level of stress. Individuals may drink more coffee, smoke more than usual, drink more alcohol or use more drugs, both prescription and illegal, as they attempt to make the negative feelings go away. Adequate sleep does not eliminate tiredness. Individuals become forgetful and accident prone, not helpful characteristics for people in charge of the safety of young children. As energy for coping becomes increasingly diminished chronic health problems are likely to increase..
The best way to prevent burnout is to understand the role stress plays in our lives and to develop a personal plan for coping. Stress is the feeling we get anytime we feel threatened. Threats can come from physical, emotional and environmental sources . Individual perception plays a major role in what we find stressful. Some people become very stressed when giving a speech, attending a party or trying a new activity. Another person might find these same situations exciting and challenging. Individuals differ greatly not only in what types of situations they find stressful but also in how much stress they are comfortable with. Most people think the goal is to completely eliminate stress from their lives. However, we all need some stress to keep us motivated, challenged and productive.
Most relatively healthy persons can deal with occasional episodes of stress and recover fairly quickly. It is chronic stress that steadily degrades health to the danger point. Finding the optimum stress level is an individual matter. Your optimum stress level may be very different than family members or co-workers. Your stress level must be right for you inorder to play a positive role in your overall well-being. If you feel your stress level is too high, try some of the following coping strategies:
The purpose of coping strategies is to allow you to relax and enjoy life, preventing stress from having a negative impact. There are no right and wrong techniques so be creative in finding strategies that work for you. If for any reason you feel you or someone in your family needs more support and guidance for coping with stress, do not hesitate to seek help from professionals, remember your life may depend on taking positive action.
Take charge of your own life and make changes to create the balance that allows you to feel productive and at peace with yourself