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Help re-energize employees who are experiencing parental burnout

It's been said that raising children is among the most joyful and rewarding experiences we can have. But at times, the pressures of parenting—like other kinds of stress—can result in physical and emotional symptoms that have the potential to impact every part of a person's life. Luckily, there are steps to help overcome parental burnout.

Excited young boy with Down Syndrome smiles while drawing with crayons. His mother is coloring with him.

Working parents are stressed

Many employees have underage children at home. More than 92% of fathers and 71% of mothers with children under age 18 are employed, according to labor statistics. This adds up to about 11 million working parents.

The American Psychological Association (APA) cites studies showing that working parents, much more so than their non-working counterparts, are reporting higher levels of mental distress and burnout. Burnout results when a person experiences too much stress and has too few resources to effectively cope with it. Over time, this uncontrolled stress can result in significant physical, mental and emotional symptoms.

According to WebMD, parental burnout can result in a host of mental health symptoms, including:

  • Overwhelming exhaustion.
  • Irritability and shorter temper.
  • Confusion.
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression.
  • Increased stress.
  • Poor sleep.
  • Obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

These symptoms, in turn, can affect overall health. If allowed to continue unchecked, parental burnout can lead to:

  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  • Strained relationships with children, spouse and others.

Burnout usually occurs in stages. The first stage is physical and emotional exhaustion. Parents of young children tend to report feeling physically tired, while parents of older children often report emotional exhaustion resulting from conflicts with their children.

The second stage includes chronic stress, disrupted sleep, anxiety and irritability. In this stage, parents may start to pull away from their kids to preserve their energy.

In the third stage, parents often notice they no longer feel fulfilled in the parenting role, which can lead to depression, distress, and feelings of shame and guilt.

How does parental burnout affect your business?

If your employees are stressed, your business is likely to suffer. According to Mantracare, stress can lead to billions of dollars in lost productivity and disability claims each year. Stressed employees are more likely to have:

  • High absenteeism
  • Lower productivity and work performance
  • Poor morale
  • Higher health care costs
  • Higher disengagement scores
  • Higher turnover

Strategies for reducing stress

Fortunately, there are tactics that can help your employees take control of the problem. It's all about taking proactive steps to reduce stressors and increase coping resources. WebMD offers the following tips for employees who are experiencing parental burnout:

  • Communicate feelings. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or therapist.
  • Ask for help or hire a sitter.
  • Practice self-care. Take time to relax and recharge. This can be as simple as taking a couple of 10-minute meditation breaks during the day.
  • Exercise.
  • Set realistic expectations. Accept that everything doesn't have to be perfect.
  • Give children age-appropriate chores.
  • Learn when to say "no" and don't feel guilty about it.

Employers can also help. offers the following suggestions for helping employees reduce all types of stress:

  • Survey teams about how they are feeling to better understand stress levels and causes.
  • Offer mental health support.
  • Provide wellness benefits.
  • Schedule breaks so employees have opportunities to practice self-care.
  • When possible, be flexible. Allow employees to work from home or vary their work hours to help them balance personal and professional responsibilities.
  • Limit overtime. Sometimes, long hours are required to meet deadlines. It helps if there are clear overtime policies.
  • Make sure employees are compensated fairly. If there isn't a budget for higher salaries, consider more generous time-off policies and benefits.

Allstate Benefits can help

Allstate Benefits offers flexible, convenient and cost-effective solutions that can help your employees manage stress.

Flexible family care

Allstate Benefits includes Papa flexible family care with all Allstate Benefits self-funded and voluntary products. Members get 10 hours a year at no cost and can purchase additional hours directly through Papa as needed. Papa services are also included with our fully insured Secure Choice health plans with effective or renewal dates of Jan. 1, 2024, or later.

Papa is the workforce behind your workforce, offering flexible family care to your employees:

  • Backup care for children ages three and older, and assistance with homework, snacks, meals and playtime.
  • Help with errands, light housework or pet care.
  • Companionship, transportation, and more, for aging or ill loved ones, near and far.

Virtual care

Virtual Urgent Care and Talk Therapy visits are available through Walmart Health Virtual Care (WHVC)1.

  • Urgent Care: U.S. board-certified doctors and medical providers are available 24/7/365 to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication for many minor illnesses and injuries via phone and/or video visits.
  • Talk Therapy2: For members age 10+. Licensed therapists can help with a wide range of mental and emotional health needs. Receive ongoing support, on your schedule, from the comfort of your home via phone and/or video visits in as little as 48 hours.

Wellness program

By adding Vitality® to your self-funded plan, you help your employees stay more engaged in their health. Of employees who join the Vitality program:

  • 80% agree the program is personalized to them.
  • 90% agree it has made them more aware of their health.
  • 66% complete point-earning activities each month.

Contact a sales representative to learn more about how Allstate Benefits can help your company and your employees.

1WHVC is formerly known as MeMD®. WHVC offers medical consultations, behavioral health counseling, and talk therapy services via telehealth to patients nationwide. Services are provided in accordance with state law by physicians, nurse practitioners, and other licensed professionals. When medically necessary, WHVC providers may prescribe medication that patients can pick up at a local pharmacy. Virtual Urgent Care visits are not a replacement for a primary care physician or annual physical exam. Walmart Health Virtual Care is not available in WA, except with Core Value plans. | 2Dependents under the age of 18 require a parent or guardian present for their first talk therapy visit. Talk Therapy is available for dependents ages 15 and older in IN, MO, and ND and dependents ages 16+ in MA and VT and as state regulations and laws permit.
The Self-Funded Program through Allstate Benefits provides tools for employers owning small to mid-sized businesses to establish a self-funded health benefit plan for their employees. The benefit plan is established by the employer and is not an insurance product. Allstate Benefits is a marketing name for: Integon National Insurance Company in CT, NY and VT; Integon Indemnity Corporation in FL; and National Health Insurance Company in CO, WA and all other states where offered. For employers in the Allstate Benefits Self-Funded Program, stop loss insurance is underwritten by these insurance companies in the noted states.
Allstate Health Solutions is a marketing name for products underwritten by National Health Insurance Company, Integon National Insurance Company, Integon Indemnity Corporation and American Heritage Life Insurance Company.

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