I’ve witnessed my brother go through plenty of phases in his life. In childhood, he had a marine biology phase. In his teenage years, it was the unmentionable emo phase (I still shiver thinking about it). Now, it’s the parenthood phase. Ever since his first daughter was first born, every aspect of his life revolves around this perfect tiny human. And although this bond is endearing, I’ve also seen it wear on him and his wife — continuous sick days, sleepless nights, and not to mention the anxiety. Certainly, a parenting bond is one of the most beautiful yet difficult experiences a person can go through.
Many parents have suffered from the same conundrum, and it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. If you become too worn out or mentally exhausted, then it could cause you additional harm and rub off on your kids.
If you are a busy parent who feels the anxiety creeping in, then you should take a step back and evaluate methods to implement self-care into a busy parenting lifestyle.
It Is Important To Take Care of Your Mental Health
Even if you have the most well-behaved kids in the world, all parents deal with stress. It is natural to be anxious about making sure that you are there for your kids, helping them complete their homework, and worrying about the people they hang out with. However, you must practice self-care and take time to do things you enjoy so you can de-stress and wake up every day feeling refreshed.
Children’s mental health is linked to that of their parents. Parents need to focus on self-care because heightened anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions could be impacting their kids. It is okay to be stressed sometimes, but it is also important to know how to face your issues head-on or talk to someone to get the help you need. Once you learn to do that yourself, then you can also pass on those important behaviors to your children.
Luckily, there are many different ways that you can practice self-care to feel better physically and mentally. However, it is important to know when you are just putting a bandage on the situation instead of getting to the root of your anxiety. For instance, you may think that you have your depression under control for now, but you need to know when you have reached a limit and can no longer handle things just through self-care. At that point, it may be time to see a licensed therapist or join a support group so you can get to the root of the issue.
How You Can Feel Better Mentally
If you are dealing with mild anxiety due to the stresses of life and parenting, then there are many different tactics and healthy habits to ease your mind. Start by cleaning and organizing your house. If your home is messy, you may subconsciously feel like you are losing control of your own life. If you have a house with a lot of knick-knacks and toys lying around, then start picking up everything and putting it in its place. Once the kids are done with a toy, teach them how to put it away. Having a clean and organized house will leave you with one less thing to worry about.
You can also de-stress by playing games that exercise your brain, either by yourself or with the kids. For instance, you can try crosswords or Sudoku puzzles. These activities provide a great way to take your mind off of your problems, and they can improve your critical thinking skills in the process.
Sometimes, you can feel better just by changing how you look. Even if you don’t plan to leave the house, you can still wear comfortable clothing and outfits that make you proud of your appearance, so you are happy when you look in the mirror. Studies show that dressing well can improve your mental health by boosting your confidence and putting you more in touch with your emotions. Wearing the colors that you like can even positively impact your nervous system, which can improve your mental health without you even realizing it.
Physical Self-care Is Important Too
While we talk a lot about mental health, it is also important to prioritize physical health as part of your self-care routine. When you exercise and eat right, you feel better about yourself. By doing so, you are also becoming a positive role model for your kids. You can even get your children in on the act by taking walks through the park or playing in the backyard instead of watching TV. During snack time, eat healthy foods like almonds and yogurt.
Sometimes, fitting an exercise routine in can be difficult when you have kids, but you just need to work around their schedule. So, consider getting up early in the morning before they wake up. Then, go out into the garage or the basement and fit in 30 minutes of cardio work on the treadmill or elliptical and throw in some light weights. If you exercise in the morning, then you will be energized for the rest of the day.
During the weekends, plan some physical activities that will keep the whole family engaged. Camping is a great idea that can incorporate hiking, swimming, and forest adventures while you breathe in the clean, crisp air. Other ideas include going on a family bike ride, enjoying a picnic in the park, or having a dance party in the living room.
In the end, self-care isn’t something that you do once and your health is instantly fixed. Just like brushing your teeth, it’s something you have to prioritize in your daily life for it to actually be effective. My brother still struggles with finding that balance, but it’s not an impossible task. By following the tips and ideas mentioned here, you can feel great and become a better parent in the process.