Being a parent is full of wonderful moments where we feel proud, love and successful but it can also be very hard going at times.
As parents we can feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for and guiding our children as the navigate life. Parenting can also leave us feeling frustrated and exhausted with little time to meet our own needs of self-care.
We may then feel underwhelmed as parents, as if we are failing and experience times of low mood.
If we then add in other life stressors such as financial issues, housing issues, relationship issues, grief, ill health, a pandemic and many more. We start to understand how our mental health can be impacted.
Just like physical health, we all have mental health and it’s important to keep it as healthy as possible. Just like physical health, there will be times where we might feel unwell, mentally. 1 in 4 adults in the UK experiencing mental ill health EVERY year so it’s important to know how to treat it and who to turn to for support.
The easiest way to keep our mental health strong (or resilient) is to practice self-care as much as we can. It’s important to try different things to find out what you enjoy, and you benefit most from. The hope is that if we practise self-care when well then, if we experience a dip in our mental health, we will automatically know what to do.
What can we do to build resilience?
Mindful activities help us to concentrate on the hear and now. Trying to not worry about the past or future. Mindful activities can be exercise, art activities, reading, cooking, listening to a podcast or anything that distracts us and keeps our minds focused.
Many of our Parent Council members recommend the Headspace app.
Relaxation doesn’t have to just be yoga or meditating, although these very good examples. A walk in the outdoors, a bubble bath, fishing are all good examples. Being able to regulate your breathing and remain relaxed is very important. Again, practising breathing exercises when well will allow us to put them into practise easily when our anxiety is increased.
Talking about things that are causing us to worry is very powerful. Saying it out loud can helps us gain perspective, find solutions and stops our mind running away with itself to catastrophise if we keep it inside. It can also come with, helpful, advice from who we have shared it with.
Women are much better at sharing their worries compared to men. Therefore it can be life saving for males to get into the habit of asking each other how they are and talking about their worries so that they will reach out for help if they really need it.
It is so important to make sure that we are feeling strong within ourselves. It’s okay to spend time away from your family/ children on your own or with friends. Make sure you have time to yourself to take a break from the busy world of parenting. Meeting a friend for a walk, going for a massage, asking to be left alone in your bedroom while you read for half an hour are all great ways of ensuring this need is met.
Sometimes, relaxing might mean to busy ourselves with our interests too, or learning something new. Midlothian Council Community and Lifelong Learning also offer adult courses as well so if you have ever fancied dressmaking, criminology or other interesting workshops browse all they have to offer Here.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we might not manage to improve our mental health on our own. We might experience;
Lack of motivation
Unplanned weight loss or gain.
Low self esteem
This is when it’s really important to speak with a GP as soon as possible.
Where to get support
Juno Midlothian (Facebook page only)
Links for financial support:
Midlothian Council: Info on free school meals and clothing grants (even if your child is receiving free meals because of their age it is still worthwhile applying if you qualify).
IF YOU OR SOMEONE AROUND YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS THEN PLEASE CONTACT YOUR GP, NHS24 OR BREATHING SPACE FOR HELP.