Being a parent can be very demanding. You take care of your children, but it’s crucial to take care of yourself, too. Your mental health is important, and making your mental health a priority can make you happier, healthier, and a better parent. Here are five tips for managing parenthood and mental health.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Parents
Everyone has different experiences and unique challenges when parenting. Plus, you may not see everything that goes on. Don’t compare yourself to other parents or social media influencers. Instead, give yourself compassion and focus on doing the best you can and being the type of parent you want to be.
2. Make Time for Yourself
Take time to practice self-care. This doesn’t have to be long bubble baths or all-day trips to the spa. It can be small activities like taking a few minutes to yourself to read, sitting outside while enjoying your morning coffee or tea, or refusing to engage in an argument to protect your mental health. Taking time to yourself not only helps improve your mental health, but can help you better manage the day’s challenges.
3. Remember That You’re Allowed to Say No
You don’t have to agree to everything people ask of you. When someone asks you to make desserts for a bake sale, volunteer in your child’s classroom, make food for a neighborhood potluck, or some other activity, ask yourself if you honestly have the capacity to take this on, if this is something that will energize you or drain you, and if there are other people who could handle the tasks instead of you. You don’t have to say yes to everything. Think about your family priorities before committing to helping with other activities.
4. Give Yourself Grace
You don’t have to be a perfect parent. Forcing unrealistic expectations on yourself can put you under unnecessary stress, and make you feel worse if you don’t live up to those impossible expectations. Remember that you’re not going to be perfect 100% of the time, and that’s ok. Mistakes are normal. Instead of beating yourself up, focus on all the things you’ve done right and the good things you’ve done for your family.
5. Ask for Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask a friend or family member if they can spend some time with your child so you can take a break. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Talking to loved ones or other parents can help you not feel alone in your struggles. A therapist can give you coping strategies for when things feel especially tough and suggest ways to improve your mental health while being a parent.
Managing your mental health not only improves your overall well-being, but sets an example for your children on how to deal with stress and the importance of taking care of yourself. If you ever find yourself in crisis, seek help from a mental health professional. Click here to find a Connections Health Solutions center near you.