“Rusting Out” Is The Lesser-Known Version Of Burnout When Parents Start To Feel Depressed And Disengaged With Their Day-To-Day Activities: Here’s How To Spot The Signs

fizkes - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

We’re all familiar with burnout—the consequence of working too hard for too long and balancing too many responsibilities at your job. But rust-out is a similar concept that can also crop up in all areas of your life, particularly parenthood.

Raise your hand if you’ve felt bored, unfulfilled, undervalued, and just plain blah when taking care of your family. These symptoms could be indicators of rust-out. During periods of rusting out, you may feel a lack of enthusiasm for what you do every day.

And it’s not that you don’t love your kids. It’s just that, in between all the joyful moments of walking for the first time, spontaneous dance parties, and bedtime stories, there is an endless loop of cleaning up messes, dealing with tantrums, and scheduling doctor’s appointments.

Your responsibilities are monotonous, leaving you feeling empty inside. Rusting out is lesser-known and less obvious than burnout, so you may not even realize it’s happening at first. Spending too much time focused on your kids can lead to depression and disengagement.

Not only can it cause mood problems, but it may also make you want to engage in thrill-seeking activities that aren’t in the best interest of you or your kids.

Researchers from Belgium found that parents experiencing rust-out and emotional exhaustion cannot take care of their family’s needs properly. They will also start distancing themselves from their children.

Studies show that at least five percent of parents in the U.S. and Europe are affected by rust-out. If you’re a parent who’s starting to feel a sense of boredom when performing your duties, here are some ways to tell if rust-out is the problem.

First of all, if you’re always fighting with someone, whether it’s your spouse or your toddler, that’s a red flag. Constant conflict should not be a part of your daily life. It’s a sign that you need to set aside time for your relationship and for yourself.

Secondly, if it seems like you and your kids are always on the move, it might be time to reevaluate how packed your schedules are. Maybe you find yourself on your feet all day long washing dishes, baking cookies, and driving your kids from one extracurricular activity to another.

fizkes – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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