5 Mental Health and Wellness Tips for Parents
From being the driver and chef, and sometimes the judge, parents take on many roles for their children every single day. But with the current health crisis, taking on these roles feels harder than ever.
In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that 46% of parents are experiencing high levels of stress due to the pandemic.
Despite the uncertainty, you can still take care of your wellbeing — both for yourself and your family.
Talk About Your Feelings
While it's normal for parents to experience stressful emotions, you must talk about what you're going through. In fact, a study from the University of Texas found that failing to acknowledge your feelings could result in stronger negative emotions.
Talking about your emotions isn't just for your own wellbeing, but also your child's because you'll less likely have a harsh tone with them or even lash out. To this end, reach out to a friend who can help lighten your emotional load. And if you're comfortable, you can seek professional help. Therapy can help you navigate your feelings, as Dr. Traci Lowenthal, clinical psychologist at Creative Insights Counseling here in Redlands, shared on our blog that it can help "you find the answers to your own troubles".
Take a Digital Break
Chances are, you've been spending more time on your phone or computer. Although these activities are part of everyone's routine, too much time in the digital world can feel especially draining. From reading constant negative news cycle to experiencing the fear of missing out on social media, turning off your devices is a great way to help refresh your mind and reconnect with yourself.
Value Your Rest
It's important that you don't sacrifice your own wellbeing when you're taking care of your family, while also attending to your work and other everyday concerns. Though you're responsible for taking care of your family, you’re not expected to carry the weight of the entire world on your shoulders 24/7.
"Asking and accepting help is really brave and absolutely not a sign of weakness,"explains Courtney Haller. As a mom of two and director of Maryville University’s marketing degree and public relations program, Haller has a lot of experience in how people can self criticize. "Don’t compare yourself to others, because out of the 24 hours in the day, sleep is more important than negative self-talk." For instance, you should consider asking your partner or a caretaker to help you with your household chores during a hectic workday. Remember: You can only take care of your loved ones if you look out for yourself.
Build a Bedtime Routine
While you're at it, you should try creating a bedtime routine. Although you're used to putting your children to sleep, your rest is key for restoring your overall wellbeing. Plus, you can be the best parent possible already first thing in the morning. To help you get a good night's rest regularly, Verywell Health recommends adding meaningful bedtime rituals like listening to relaxing music, stretching, and taking a bath. Don't forget to turn off all lights (phones, too!) to not disrupt your sleep.
As explained by Real Simple, cortisol, known as the 'stress hormone', is heightened when there's clutter in your home. This is why it's key for your mental wellbeing that you create a calm, clean, and clutter-free space. From organizing your cabinets to donating unused toys and adding plants, don't forget that your personal space should always make you feel safe. Plus, cleaning up is a wonderful habit that your kids should learn to pick up.
Being a parent can be tough on your mental health. But there are ways to prevent your mental health getting the better of you. Whether it is changing your habits or talking someone, you can turn any issue around.
Written exclusively for aboutredlands.com
By Grace Allen