Awareness of mental health issues is on the rise and it’s becoming clear that a lot of young people suffer from conditions like anxiety and depression. That’s why it’s so important that parents educate themselves about the symptoms of mental health issues and watch out for them in their children. If you can pick up on the signs early on and help your child to find the support that they need, you can deal with the problem before it gets a lot worse.
But parents don’t just need to think about their children, they need to think about themselves as well. Becoming a parent is an incredibly stressful time and a lot of new parents struggle with postnatal depression. The stress of raising a family also means that a lot of parents are working too hard and neglecting self-care. If you don’t look after yourself, you increase your risk of mental health issues and that makes it harder for you to be an effective parent. If you have been neglecting your own mental health, these are some of the most important ways that you can look after it.
Don’t Downplay Your Symptoms
It’s so easy for people to downplay their symptoms because they buy into a lot of the damaging language about mental health. Mental health issues are often marginalized and people talk of how depressed they are when they just mean that they had a stressful day, or they claim to have OCD because they are a neat and tidy person. There are also people out there that will tell you to just get over it and suck it up. Life is hard, they’ll say, that’s just the way it is. The problem with this kind of language is that it assumes that a diagnosed mental health issue is no different to the normal ups and downs that we all have, which isn’t the case at all. It’s fine if you feel stressed and a bit down every so often, but it’s not fine if you feel like that constantly and you never have the energy to do anything. If you notice the symptoms of a mental health issue, don’t downplay them and don’t let others convince you that things are fine when they aren’t. Always seek professional advice if you are not sure.
Take Days Off
Being a parent is a full-time job and you need to take some days off from time to time. But a lot of new parents think that asking for help means admitting defeat, and they worry that people will judge them and think that they can’t handle being a parent. But that isn’t the case at all, and it’s perfectly reasonable to take some time off for yourself. When you do get a day to yourself, you should spend it doing something relaxing like a spa day (click the link to learn more about finding the best ones) or engaging in one of your hobbies. You can use the time to catch up on chores if you like, but remember that you’re supposed to be having a day off, and that still works. Asking a family member or friend to watch the kids for a day every now and again will make such a huge difference to your mental health.
New parents often end up spending a lot of time inside and they rarely have a chance to get out of the house. But that isn’t good for a few reasons. It can be very isolating and being stuck in the same environment all the time isn’t great for your mental health. It’s not great for your child either because they need to start experiencing the outdoors. Studies show that spending time outside can improve your mental and physical health, so it’s important that you don’t stay shut up indoors all the time. Even a short walk each day will make a big difference.
When your kids get older and you all start eating meals together, it’s easy to keep up with healthy eating. But new parents find that they spend so much time looking after their child that they don’t have time to prepare proper meals for themselves, and that’s not good. If you are eating a lot of unhealthy convenience foods, you lack a lot of important nutrition and you will struggle to find the energy to do things. A bad diet is always bad for your mental health, so it’s important that you eat fresh, healthy food.
As a new parent, it’s important that you follow these simple tips so you can manage your own mental health effectively.