4 Ways Families Can Improve Their Mental Health
The hustle and bustle of modern life often pushes us to lose focus. Of course, we make sure our kids have food on the table, play dates, schoolbooks, and they get to their class in time. We do our best to keep our homes clean and safe, and not to mention our work responsibilities and chores. What about our mental and emotional needs?
In the midst of it all, we neglect our most fundamental human need for mental health and stability. We as parents, as well as our kids, all have specific emotional and psychological needs on a daily basis. Ignoring those needs leads to all kinds of conflicts, internal emotional turmoil, and overwhelming dissatisfaction.
Families can and should focus on mental wellbeing as much as they do on sustenance and nourishment. Here are a few ways parents can slow down, get better control of their mental health, and create a safe and healthy environment for their kids, too.
Healthy and open communication
Bottling things up never does any good to anyone. You might not even be sulking or upset, but even if you’re processing a stressful event on your own without letting those around you that you perhaps need a moment – you’re setting yourself up for even more stress. The main ingredient in any healthy relationship, and that includes families, is communication.
Let your partner know when you’re feeling overwhelmed, emotionally or with work. Talk to your kids to understand their own confusions and potential issues. Encourage your spouse to talk about their own feelings. Transparency and support go hand in hand, and they both help you manage the most difficult periods in life.
Good stress management tactics
Perhaps you’ve done your best to avoid stress during pregnancy, but now that your little bundle of joy has officially been welcomed into the world, you find yourself barely managing. Family life is bound to bring some unexpected challenges, as well as ups and downs. Being a mom is a rollercoaster of emotions in and of itself.
To enjoy your role as a parent even more, to connect with your kids, you actually need to focus on yourself from time to time. That means that to beat stress, you need regular sleep (as much as possible), occasional exercise (something you like doing), and some time to yourself. Read a book, listen to a few of your favorite songs, play the guitar, chat with your besties. Life won’t come to a grinding halt if you put yourself first.
Join a supportive online community
When you’re too stressed and feeling helpless, you should know: you’re not alone. Many parents feel exactly like that, especially in those first few years of your kids’ lives. Everything from ear infections to nappy changes, not to mention the lack of sleep feels like you need to figure it all out on the go. While that’s true to an extent, you can also use a parenthood app such as Mumli where you can talk to other moms, ask for advice, and get the support you need.
Mumli is easy and straightforward to use, and it can serve as a way to reach out to other moms who might be treasure troves of useful tips, but also as your personal baby development tracking tool. You can add your baby’s most essential information to see how your child is growing and take some stress off your hands in the meantime.
Image 3 – Mental Health, Source
Say no and know when to ask for help
You gladly help with the homework, make every snack box, and get the laundry ready. You also want to be there for every friend who invites you to coffee, or organizes a get-together. As healthy as it is to keep your social relationships thriving and to help people when they ask you to do something, sometimes the best thing you can do for your mental health is to say no.
In addition to saying no, you should listen to your own body and needs. If you’re handling too many chores, ask your partner to help. If you’re a single mom, perhaps your family and relatives would be willing to jump in and help you out. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, and you should have a support system that gives you structure and stability as a parent.
With all the challenges families face, fluctuations in your mood and energy levels are perfectly normal. However, if you constantly feel overwhelmed, fatigued (both physically and mentally), then your mental wellbeing is most likely suffering. It’s important to recognize that you’re in a unique situation and that general ideas can only help you so much. Sometimes, you need the help and support of a professional, and at other times, your family’s support will be more than enough.
Learning that distinction will allow you to lead a healthier life and create a good environment for your kids’ emotional and psychological development. The more they see you take good care of yourself, the better they’ll be at practicing self-care later in life, too.