Family Matters: Parenting And Mental Health

Family Matters: Parenting And Mental HealthA person’s parenting role can be closely tied to their mental health. Parenting can be both a source of stress and joy, as well as a source of hope, love and motivation. For these reasons, it can be helpful to spend some time reflecting on the following.
 Do just a few things. Or maybe even just one thing, especially during long weekends and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead of cooking an entire family dinner – delegate and ask others to do something like meal prep or dishes.
 Use a family calendar to keep yourself organized. Consistent use of a family calendar helps you and your family recognize your family’s routine which allows for proper planning. Regular use of a calendar, open for everyone to see, can limit overwhelming your schedule, anxiety and stress.    
 Look for ways of conserving your energy. Give yourself a break and take a few shortcuts.  It’ll definitely cut down on parenting stress.  Instead of baking dozens of cookies from scratch, buy pre-made dough and have your kiddos cut out the cookies and decorate them. Less effort for you, more fun for them.  
 Don’t overcommit to activities. Remember, you are not the only person in your community who can volunteer. You do not have to carry the load. Pick one fun volunteer activity and feel good about your contribution.
 Don’t make any big changes.  Avoid making any major changes or decisions when you don’t feel mentally up to it. Wait until a much less stressful time where you may be more confident and assured.
 Balance your time. Ensure your life has a good balance of social, family, work and alone time. During your “me time”, get out of your house and away from all your obligations so you can decompress for a little while – it can really help to reset your mood.
 Exercise and sleep. If you are dealing with depression and/or anxiety, sleep and exercise are CRUCIAL.  Find time to exercise by penciling it into your calendar and don’t underestimate the power of a 30 minute walk.    
 Identify your support network. Identifying supports who you can lean on during the tough times can do lots for lowering stress and/or managing mental health challenges – even if it is just an encouraging call.

 This week put down the laundry basket, stop cleaning or running the roads and enjoy the parenting journey.