Moms are the backbones of families, and often shoulder a heaping amount of responsibility.
From day-to-day tasks like cooking meals, managing budgets, and running errands, to the ongoing emotional labor that comes with parenting — it’s no wonder moms need all the extra help they can get!
With so much to handle, prioritizing mental health is often an area where too many moms struggle.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and looking for solutions, try these tips to help you prioritize your mental health and optimize your overall well-being:
Acknowledge the Importance of Mental Health
Before diving into specific strategies, it’s essential for moms to recognize the significance of mental health.
Just as physical health is crucial for overall well-being, mental health plays a vital role in your ability to care for yourself and your family.
And failing to prioritize your mental health can have serious consequences, leading to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and alcohol addiction.
By acknowledging how important mental health is, you’ll be more likely to make changes to your routine that prioritize your needs.
Establish a Support System
A great first step when deciding to prioritize your mental health is creating a support system that you can depend on.
That support system could take many forms, from friends that provide a listening ear to family willing to watch the kids when you need a break.
Think about what supports would help you most, and then reach out to friends, loved ones, or even community groups that can help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Reduce Screen Time
As a parent, you may already enforce screen time rules for your children. But, it’s just as important to limit your own smartphone use!
Recent studies have shown that excessive screen usage among adults can lead to decreased productivity, impaired sleep, and worsened mental health.
Aim to spend at least three or four hours a day disconnected from screens completely. Consider planning a regular family activity during that same time to improve family bonding!
Sleep is often sacrificed in the hectic life of a mom, but it’s a cornerstone of mental health.
Lack of sleep can contribute to stress, irritability, and decreased cognitive function. Establishing a consistent sleep routine and ensuring adequate rest can significantly impact overall well-being.
To help improve your deep sleep, avoid bright lights before bed, consider using a white noise machine, and turn down the temperature each night.
Being well-rested is an important first step in helping you get through each day feeling calm and in-control of your life.
Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Moms often put their needs on the back burner, but prioritizing self-care is vital for maintaining mental health.
Start by prioritizing exercise. Regular exercise can relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood.
Look for an exercise regime that’s easy to fit into your routine, like a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood after dinner, or a short yoga session during your child’s nap.
Other self-care activities to boost your mental health might include morning meditation, reading or journaling, or even a simple bubble bath.
Just remember to make your self-care activities a priority in your life, not an afterthought. You deserve time for you!
Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small
Too many moms have a tendency to downplay their victories and achievements. This is natural, our brains are built to remember negatives more than positives.
That’s why taking time to acknowledge and celebrate successes, no matter how minor, is so important.
By putting your small victories in the front of your mind, you boost your own sense of self-worth, and give yourself motivation to accomplish future goals.
So, whether you cleared out a crowded closet, tried a new recipe the kids all loved, or completed a work project, take the time to pat yourself on the back!
Cultivate Hobbies and Interests
Parenting can feel like it takes over your life at times, especially when children are younger. But, maintaining your sense of self is an important aspect of mental health.
Finding or rediscovering hobbies and interests is a great way to remind yourself that you are your own person, not just a mom.
It doesn’t matter what type of activity you choose. Dedicating time to personal interests contributes to a well-rounded and fulfilled life.
Take Breaks When You Need Them
Moms tirelessly devote themselves to their families, and it’s often easy for everyone to forget they need breaks, too.
That means it might be up to you to make sure you get the rest you need, whether it’s a few minutes of quiet meditation or a whole day off from responsibilities.
If you’re starting to feel burnt out or overwhelmed, enlist help from your spouse, family, or friends to help give you a bit of time to yourself.
Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to better take care of those around you.
Seek Professional Help
If feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression persist, seeking professional help may be the best step you can take towards better mental health.
Therapists, counselors, and support groups can provide valuable tools and coping mechanisms when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.
Understand that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You deserve to prioritize your mental well-being.
Motherhood is a wonderful journey but it’s not without its challenges.
As moms, it’s crucial to prioritize our mental health so we can be the best version of ourselves and better support our children.
While it might take a bit of work at first to learn to put your needs first, it will be well worth the effort when you’re able to handle stress better, have more patience and energy, and experience more joy in your life.