What can moms do to care for their mental health?
In a fast-paced world full of obligations, paying attention to one’s mental health is more important than ever. One group with some very particular mental health considerations is mothers. Moms continue to take on a great deal of responsibility in their families, often serving as the default in both childcare and household duties. Their entire identity, social outlets, career path, and more can change after having children. The effects of these major transitions can be significant. That’s why it’s so important that moms take time for themselves. Here are seven things moms can do to care for their mental health.
Don’t try to do everything
You don’t have to be a super mom and take on every single responsibility. Be sure to communicate to your significant other, family member, or trusted friend that you require some assistance. This includes emotional labor. It’s not your job to take on all the behind-the-scenes work like setting up playdates, buying presents, and keeping up with correspondence. Realize that trying to do it all will lead to burnout.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit down and take stock of your activities and how you’re spending your time. Are there things you don’t necessarily enjoy, but feel obligated to take on? It’s okay to say no. Letting go of the activities that don’t fulfill you will give you more time and more mental space. Setting boundaries includes your family. Let your partner and kids know if they’re demanding too much of your energy, if you need them to pitch in or if you could use some quiet time each day.
Get back to your own interests
Surely, there were interests and hobbies you had prior to becoming a mom. Chances are, you probably let a lot of them go as the duties of motherhood required a majority of your attention. Allow yourself to get back to things you enjoy doing. This can improve your mood quite a bit. Get a gym membership, take a class, lock yourself in your bedroom with your knitting or even go for a quick walk. Taking time for yourself is good for you.
Don’t compare yourself
Social media can be a wonderful way to keep up with friends, stay informed, and even learn new things. Unfortunately, it can also be a cause of stress and comparison. People often post the highlights of their life. It can seem like others are doing the mom thing so much better than you are, but comparing yourself to others is a fruitless endeavor. Set your own standards for what it means to be a great mom. And don’t be afraid to unfollow anyone whose posts trigger feelings of doubt or insecurity. You control your social media feed. This goes for real life as well. The room mother who seems to have it all isn’t the guidepost you need to set for yourself.
Mothers can tend to isolate themselves from their friends and support networks. It’s not unusual to get wrapped up in your family and household activities. It’s a wonderful thing to be involved at home, but not if it means neglecting your own social needs. Getting out there to hang out with your pals or even to meet other moms can prove to be a terrific source of support. These friendly get-togethers are just for you. They can restore your own sense of self and remind you that you’re more than “So and So’s Mom.”
Indulge in a self-care
Taking care of yourself actually isn’t an indulgence at all. It’s necessary. Make sure you’re eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Meeting your basic needs well makes it possible for you to adequately care for others.
Talk to a professional
Finally, you may want to reach out to a professional if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, stressed and unhappy. An unbiased individual trained in providing guidance can help you to see the source of your discomfort and to find ways to address the issues. Don’t worry if you’re super busy, you can always seek online therapy and medication. You’ll find there are competent and caring professionals out there you can talk to from the comfort of your home.
Moms should never neglect their own needs. Give these tips a try to care for your mental health and needs. And if you are struggling with mental health or know someone who is, talk to someone. Find the help you need.