Prioritizing Your Mental Health as a Parent
There’s nothing that compares to being a parent, but it’s no small undertaking. To add another level of complexity, we all have to find our own sense of balance between our own well-being and nurturing our little ones.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritize your mental and emotional health. This will help you better care for yourself and provide the best support for your children. But this is easier said than done. After all, attending to your mental health as a parent means different things for everybody.
One thing that remains consistent across the board is that everyone should dedicate time each day to relax and do something that brings them joy. Having this balance will help you be the best parent possible, in addition to significantly improving your overall well-being.
At the end of the day, taking care of yourself is just as important as caring for the little ones who depend on you. Think of the classic cup analogy to illustrate this. If your cup isn’t filled, you can’t possibly fill the cups of the people around you.
What’s The Difference Between Emotional and Mental Health?
Knowing the difference between mental and emotional health is crucial when it comes to maintaining your overall well-being.
Mental health consists of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that affect how we interpret and process life’s events. Challenges in this arena are often the result of a chemical imbalance within the brain.
Here are some of the most common mental health conditions that adults experience:
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorder
On the other hand, emotional health involves our core feelings about ourselves, those around us, and life events. Difficulties in this area commonly arise from having gone through hurtful or traumatic moments, which can lead to emotional harm, inhibiting your ability to be your best self.
Struggling to balance raising children and other responsibilities is a challenge that can take its toll on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. According to a recent study, 7.2% of children have at least one primary caregiver with poor mental health.
Being mindful of the factors that affect our well-being can be beneficial when it comes to keeping them at bay before they become too serious.
If you are someone who struggles with mental or emotional well-being, you should know that seeking help is nothing to feel ashamed of. With awareness and acceptance, we can learn to identify when we need assistance and take proactive steps to make changes for ourselves, leading to better care for those around us.
Signs That You Are Suffering from Mental or Emotional Burnout
Mental and emotional burnout is all too common for many individuals. If you feel it creeping up on you, you should take it seriously.
Here are some signs that you are starting to feel mentally or emotionally exhausted:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in eating habits
- Negative self-talk
In some cases, these may be signs of a more serious underlying mental illness. However, they could also be manifestations due to the buildup of stress caused by life’s circumstances. Regardless of the underlying causes, recognizing and addressing burnout is essential. If left unchecked, it will begin to take a toll on your overall well-being.
Here are some things that you can do to reset when you start to feel burnt out:
- Taking some time for self-care
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well-balanced meals
- Spending quality time with the ones you love
How Parental Stress Can Affect Children
Parental stress can significantly impact children, both in the short term and long term.
In the short term, when a parent experiences stress and demonstrates signs of distress through yelling or criticism, children often feel scared and unsafe. This may cause them to become more withdrawn or lash out in an attempt to cope – neither of which are healthy responses.
Evidence has shown that in the long-term, these feelings of anxiousness, fear, and insecurity can continue into adulthood, increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, and lead to other mental health issues such as attachment issues and depression.
No parent is perfect, and it’s only human to mess up every once in a while. With that said, we need to take care of our emotional well-being so that our children can cultivate a sense of emotional and mental wellness for themselves.
How To Support Your Mental and Emotional Health
Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is as important as tending to your physical health. There are both simple and complex ways to support your mental and emotional health.
Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care:
- Go for a walk
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Spend time with friends
- Try a new hobby
Complex Ways to Practice Self-Care:
- Consult with a mental health professional
- Attend parental counseling sessions
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Supporting yourself mentally and emotionally is not one size fits all. That’s why it’s important to try out different methods to learn how you can best suit your individual needs.
Meaningful Beginnings is Here to Help You Prioritize Your Mental Health
All in all, learning how to prioritize your mental health as a parent is key to maintaining calm, serenity, and balance throughout your family.
Start small with things like setting aside time for yourself each day and expressing gratitude. Learning how to prioritize your mental health is essential not just for us but for our kids, too. If you’re feeling exhausted, stressed, or lacking energy, it will inevitably affect your children’s well-being as well.
As parents, it’s normal to experience ups and downs. However, recognizing when you’re not feeling your best and prioritizing your mental health can help you be the best parent possible for your little one.
Whether you’re looking for ways to teach your little one about empathy, simple tips on meal preparation, or fun ways to strengthen the bond with your little one, you can trust us as your go-to source.
And if you’d like to see something that we don’t have yet, please let us know! We always welcome ideas from our community and try our best to provide what will help nurture loving families.