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Mental health should be taken care of just as anyone would take care of their physical body. This is especially vital for parents, who are often limited in time and energy.
Here are five tips for parents to apply in their daily lives to boost their mental health, according to psychotherapists consulted by Healthline.
Care for your basic needs
Psychotherapist Laura Torres states that these basic needs include eating nutrient-rich foods, eating regularly and moving your body.
She suggests keeping a snack and water bottle on hand wherever you are going or eating when feeding the kids. To get the body moving, parents can participate in fun family activities.
Clinical psychologist Rheeda Walker suggests a way for parents to take mental health breaks is by using their screen time strategically.
“Thirty more minutes of screen time for the kiddos might ‘sound bad’ but if 30 minutes will keep a parent from losing control and yelling at someone they love over a small matter, that extra screen time is 100 percent worth it.”
Practise bite-sized behaviours
Psychotherapist Kirsten Bruner shared the following suggestions for small yet significantly beneficial activities:
- Step outside for some fresh air
- Sit in your car to catch your breath
- Take a hot bath
- Watch a show that gets you feeling inspired or have you laughing
- Process your feelings with your partner
Find creative ways to connect with other parents
Laura says, “It’s so tough for parents to line up their timelines with other parents’ busy schedules in order to connect.” Although this is the case, it is not an impossible task to do.
If you are into books, create a book club. If fitness is more your thing, schedule exercise dates. If you cannot meet in person, do it over Zoom.
Be gentle with yourself
When you are having difficult days, Laura says that you should acknowledge that you are having a hard time and lower your expectations.
Psychiatrist Carlene MacMillan, MD, adds that you should remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and let yourself feel your feelings and cry when you need to.
Remember that you are human too, and that you need to feel well and be well.
Also see: All you need to know about middle-child syndrome