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It’s no great secret that life is hard. When you’re a mom, you have even more challenges to tackle and a tiny life that’s entirely dependent on you. Even as your kids get older, they still need you. This is proof that you need to know how to manage your mental health as a mom.
But you’re more than just a mom, you’re also human. That means that you have to tackle everything that makes us human, from the good things to the bad. You have to be able to take care of yourself so that you’re able to take care of others.
Having a baby is a huge hit on your physical and mental health. If you’ve carried the baby through pregnancy, you have a lot of physical recovery to go through, as your body has literally been through a massive trauma and transformation. In addition, your life is now completely different. Even parents of adopted children have to manage this massive life change that comes with sleep deprivation and stress.
On top of that, many mothers have to handle the enormous hormonal changes that their body has undergone, leading to more mental stress and conditions like postpartum depression.
Now, this isn’t to say that having a child isn’t worth it. But it helps to know what you’re getting into, and it helps even more to understand how you can manage your mental health as a mom now and in the future.
3 Tips to Help Manage Your Mental Health as a Mom
Be the mom you want to be by learning how to manage your mental health as a mom. It will never be perfect, but you can try to make things better with the following tips.
Tackle Negative Feelings
The first step in knowing how to manage your mental health as a mom is to tackle negative feelings. Everyone has to manage negative thoughts and feelings throughout their lives, so the first thing to be aware of is that this doesn’t automatically make you a terrible person. It just makes you a person.
But this isn’t to discount just how upsetting negative feelings can be. If you can’t feel happy about anything, it can make life so much harder to get through, especially when you don’t just have to function, but you have to look after a baby as well.
You might have negative thoughts about your abilities and worth as a parent. Or you may feel overwhelmed and you might even regret having a child. This, in turn, can lead to even more feelings of guilt and negativity about yourself.
The first step is to acknowledge your feelings. If it helps, write them down so that you can understand and process them. Often, your thoughts won’t make a lot of logical sense, which can be helpful to see written down. From there, you can tackle your feelings head-on and work through them in a healthy way.
Spend Some Time Outside
One of the best things that anyone can do to manage their mental health as a mom is to spend some precious time outside. It’s not as easy to manage in winter, especially if you live in a cold area, but it’s still beneficial for you to go outside for at least half an hour each day.
If you’ve not long ago given birth, you might be cautious about taking your baby outside for a couple of weeks. You’re also likely exhausted and trying to readjust to a new way of life, so going on a walk probably isn’t very high on your list of priorities. But it probably should be.
You need some time to yourself as well as some time in nature, so kill two birds with one stone. If possible, take turns to leave the baby with one parent while the other has about half an hour outside so that they can decompress.
The great thing about nature is that it doesn’t really matter about the view or where you are, simply being outside can have a great impact on your mental health. Even if you just go out to your backyard for a few minutes, it’s better than nothing.
You will benefit from the trees and plants outside, as well as the sunlight and fresh air. This is great for your brain health, as the sun provides vitamin D that boosts your mood and keeps you healthy. Plants can also help your concentration and emotional well-being.
When your child is a little older, you can take them for walks outside and talk to them about nature. You can teach them about different plants and animals, and help them to appreciate what the outside world has to offer.
For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that they have to deal with everything life throws at them alone. Well, those people are wrong.
If you have a support system, use them. Ideally, this is something you should be thinking about before you have a baby, but it’s never too late to ask for help. Talk to your parents and other family members about whether they’d be able to babysit to give you some time alone.
Even a few hours every now and then can be beneficial to your mental health and your relationship with your other half. A date night can give you some breathing room and a chance to have an adult conversation with someone. Or you can have a few hours to hang out with your friends and again, have an adult conversation.
Even if someone watches your child or children while you catch up on chores, it can be a great help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help now and then and, if need be, ask for help about your mental health as well.
These adult conversations are a great way to check in on your mental health, especially if you’re able to talk to friends in a similar situation. If you’re concerned that you might be unable to cope, it may be time to seek professional help.
Your Mental Health as a Mom is Important
Again, there’s no shame in needing mental health services, and getting the help you need might be the best thing for you and your family. Whether you’re dealing with PPD, anxiety, or another issue, medical intervention can give you the targeted help and treatment that you need. Just as you’d need a doctor for a physical problem, it may be beneficial or even necessary to talk to a professional about your mental health.