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If you're a mother, chances are that you feel like you're working around the clock to meet everyone's needs. You probably won't be surprised to learn that the average mother puts in nearly 100 hours of work per week, and that includes both paid and unpaid labor. The same study that published this fact (one that was commissioned by Welch's and reported in Working Mother) also found that, on average, women had just over an hour—one hour and seven minutes to be exact—to themselves each day!
While most people don't work as paid employees seven days a week, most do have to contend with "second shift" phenomena -- dads, too! This occurs when someone is finished with their work day but still must continue to work at home preparing food, supervising chores, homework, cleaning, and caring for children. While this is now common for all parents, it's especially common for mothers to face the "second shift." According to Arlie Hoschild, a sociologist who published a book about women's "second shift" work almost 30 years ago, this equates to women essentially working an extra month each year. Is it any wonder that working mothers find themselves facing work burnout?
According to an analysis by Deloitte, 45 percent of full-time workers would benefit from taking paid time off to focus on their mental health, yet over half of the workers in the United States don't take all the vacation days that they're entitled to use!
It's important to note that a mental health day isn't one that's filled with chores. Skip the oil change and focus on activities that help you release stress. Instead, book a spa day, or make plans to see a concert or a movie with a friend so you won't be tempted to cancel. Have confidence that your team can survive without you for one day and try not to stress about what is going on at work while you're out of the office.
Working from home might seem like the perfect way for a busy parent to successfully juggle both work duties and family responsibilities. However, keeping two lives separate can be difficult for people who find themselves anxious about meeting deadlines while trying to juggle sick toddlers or kids who have school events.
Even if you work at home, try to schedule distinct time for work and time for your family. Wake up at the same time every day and maintain a workspace that you can walk away from each day. Also make sure that each day involves some type of self-care. It can be as simple as going for a walk or just meeting a friend for lunch. The key is to do something every day that's focused solely on nurturing your mental health.
In order to be happy and healthy, working parents need to focus just as much on their mental health as they do on their physical health. Taking a mental health day can make all the difference in fighting work burnout.