How To Avoid Dad-Burnout: 6 Best Ways To Survive

You don’t know how tired you can get – until you have kids.

Between work, family, finances and school activities life gets BUSY.

We need some downtime once in a while to recharge.

Burnout can leave you feeling depleted. Here are other signs of burnout:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Procrastination
  • A sense of hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor Sleep

Here are a few things that work for me and some of the best ideas I could find to avoid burnout.

#1 Plan Out the Future

You might need to plan it for next month – or the month after that. Put it on the calendar and make the arrangements needed.

Sometimes we feel close to burnout because it feels like life is happening too fast, and we are struggling to keep up.

Plotting out important events or weekly activities in your family planner helps you feel in control.

You can mentally prepare a little better for each week when you can visualize it on the calendar.

#2 Social Support

A good social community helps us feel connected. And feeling connected to others so important for our emotional well-being.

Researchers have found that perceived feelings of connection are vitally important in preventing burnout.

A GOOD group of friends will give you a good laugh, offer support when you need it, and listen to you when you share.

It can be challenging to make new friends as adults and even more challenging to find the time as Dads. 

Here are some places where you might have some luck building your social community as a Dad:

  • Sports Club
  • Hobby Club
  • Facebook local groups
  • Your local library or community center
  • Your kid’s school class

Pro-Dad Tip: More Dads than we realize feel isolated. Maybe YOU are the friend someone else needs.

Why not send out a group text to the Dads in your kid’s class inviting them to a barbeque at your house or the park? It’s easy to find something to talk about over the grill.

#3 Self-Care: Dad Edition

If the phrase “self-care” has you rolling your eyes, think of this as home maintenance for your mind and body 😉.

Here are some ideas for Dad’s “maintenance”:

  • Regular exercise – even just 20 minutes every other day
  • Reading
  • Listening to music
  • A hobby or craft
  • Hike, bike-ride or swim

Check out my blog for more “me-time” ideas for Dads.

#4 Learn to Say “No”

Although our kids feel like we say “no alllll the time”, the truth is, many of us actually struggle to say “no” in work, community, or social situations.

Some of us say “yes” too much to avoid confrontation, disappointing others, looking bad, or feeling left out.

But saying “yes” too often can leave us burdened with tasks and activities and too many social commitments.

We need to find a healthy balance and learn when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”

Here are some helpful ways I have found to say “no”:

  • Thank you for thinking of us; we won’t be able to join you this time.
  • Sounds great! Let me check what activities we have on first.
  • Gosh, that sounds like a tough situation. I’m not able to help you this weekend. Let’s try to find another time that works for both of us.

#5 Limit Media Consumption

We are often so focused on setting media and screen-time boundaries for our kids that we forget how media affects us as adults.

I’ve written a lot about my own journey with media and also how we can limit screen time as Dads in past blogs.

Something that I haven’t touched on is the type of content we consume as Dads. Just like our kids’ emotional and social well-being can be harmed by inappropriate content, so can ours.

I’ve found that some TV shows and movies are increasingly violent or sexual in nature. Just because I am an adult doesn’t mean that all age-restricted films are good to watch.

So, for example, films that are rated aged-18 I don’t even consider watching. And for shows rated for 16 years and older I will generally read reviews before watching.

Something else we need to be cautious of is the endless loop of scrolling we can get caught in – on the bus, on the toilet, or in bed.

Short-form videos, while entertaining to some degree, can also be an “attention trap.” Because they are so short, we don’t realize how long we spend watching these videos.

These videos also play automatically, and this means from time to time, something disturbing may appear. So the only way to control this is to actually quit the app.

Most Smartphones have a feature or an app that can track your screen time and you can set limits. This can be helpful in monitoring your own media consumption.

Pro-Dad Tip: If you can see it or find it, your tech-savvy kids can see and find more.

#6 Set Rewards

Sometimes we feel burned out because of a perceived lack of reward or motivation.

I use the word “perceived” here as research shows that we will perceive events or situations differently depending on our psychological and emotional well-being.

Here are two things I do when I feel the effort is not worth the reward:

  1. I talk to my wife. This helps us both acknowledge where we are at – do we need to ask more, give more, or show appreciation more?
  2. I set myself rewards. For example, if there is a list of home maintenance that needs to be done, I will reward myself with movie tickets once it is all ticked off.

Or, once a month, my wife and I will go on a date and try to do something really fun – this gives us both something to look forward to when the days and weeks get busy!

Thanks for reading.

Get My Weekly Updates

If you’re not already getting my newsletter, you can do that here:

Scroll to Top