As a parent, you probably know how overwhelming it can be to juggle work and family life demands. With the pandemic throwing our daily routines into chaos, it’s no surprise that many parents are struggling to keep up. However, you may not know that many parents are experiencing something called “rust out” – a feeling of being drained, disillusioned, and unfulfilled – without even realizing it.
“Rustout” is a term coined by psychologists and refers to a state of low motivation, boredom, and lack of engagement that can arise when we are stuck in a routine or doing tasks that do not align with our values or interests. In contrast, burnout results from too much stress, and rust out results from too little challenge or stimulation. And it can be just as damaging to our mental health.
As parents, we are often so busy focusing on our children’s needs that we neglect our own. We spend hours shuttling them to activities, helping with homework, and tending to their emotional needs, leaving little time for self-care or pursuing our interests. Over time, this can lead to a sense of emptiness and disillusionment that we may not even realize is there.
So, how can you tell if you are experiencing rust out? Some signs include:
- Feeling bored or uninterested in things that used to excite you
- Feeling unfulfilled or like something is missing from your life
- Lacking motivation or struggling to get things done
- Feeling disconnected from your values and a sense of purpose
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily demands of family life and neglect our needs as parents. However, by being aware of the signs of rust and taking steps to address them, we can avoid feeling drained, disillusioned, and unfulfilled. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.