Motherhood is an amazing blessing. But it’s a blessing that will challenge your sanity time and time again. When you’re having a bad day and your toddler is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket, let’s just say that you’re not at your most centered. And that’s okay.
Being a mum is quite a ride of highs and lows. And through it all, you give more of yourself than you even realise you had. But while you’re focused on give it your all, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. It’s akin to putting your life vest on before helping another.
You need to be whole and healthy in order to take care of someone else.
Here are five ways mums can effectively manage their mental health.
Give up any bad health habits
There’s not as much separation between body and mind as most people think. If you’re not doing right by your body, you may notice that your mind will suffer the consequences. It’s important to get the right nutrients and hydration into your body if you want to think clearly and feel good.
This means giving up alcohol, nicotine, or excessive sugar in your diet. These are things that sabotage your health. If you’re doing any of them, you can almost instantly feel better by stopping.
Take time out
Try to schedule at least an hour every week, if not every day, to do something that’s just for you. Instead of sitting around with a glass of wine (see #1), consider going for a walk, taking a yoga class or chatting with a good friend. Choose something that feels good for your soul.
It’s crucial for everyone, especially mothers, to find healthy ways to deal with stress. And meditation seems to be one of the healthiest. Studies have shown that meditating regularly can reduce cortisol levels. For example, a 2007 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study showed that integrative mind-body training that included meditation helped reduce the body’s cortisol release and lower fatigue and anxiety levels.
Try meditating for 10 minutes each morning and work your way up to 30 minutes. This can be difficult with young kids around, so don’t stress if you can’t get to 30. Some time meditating is better than no time.
We know that exercise is good for the body, but it’s also good for the mind. When you exercise, you trigger the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain, and this will help you deal with stress throughout the day.
When you exercise regularly, you’re providing yet another healthy outlet for stress. And if you need an outlet for anger and frustration, try something like kickboxing.
If you’re like most mums, you feel guilty whenever you lose your patience around the kids. You beat yourself up over it and then feel terrible about yourself. But this is a terribly counterproductive cycle. When you feel bad about yourself, you’re more likely to lose your patience.
Instead of struggling to practice patience with your kids, try practicing on yourself. When you mess up, let it go. Give yourself a pass. You’ll do better next time. By practicing patience with yourself, you’re giving yourself permission to be human and still feel good about where you are. This type of patience will naturally radiate to everything and everyone in your life.
It’s another situation where your family benefits from you taking care of you.
The tips outlined here are great for any mum to follow, but it’s important to check in with yourself from time to time. If you feel like you’re trying your best, but you can’t shake feelings of depression or anxiety, talk to someone. When you get yourself back into a healthy state of mind, it’ll benefit your entire family.
Thank you for reading.
*This is a guest post*