In 2022, National Public Health Week runs from April 4 to April 10. Each day focuses on a critical aspect of public health. The last day, Sunday, April 10, is dedicated to mental health.
So, this seems like a great time to talk more about mental health and what things parents and parents-to-be can do to improve theirs.
There’s no doubt that parenting can take its toll on mental health. That goes for every stage of parenting, from trying to conceive to pregnancy to full-blown parenthood.
Even though there are many amazing things about parenthood, each stage of parenting brings its own unique set of challenges and burdens. Even so, it’s essential to take care of yourself so you can care for your family.
5 Things Parents Can Do to Prioritize Their Mental Health
Here are some things you can do to prioritize your mental health this week and throughout the year.
- Stop trying to be a super parent
The concept of being a “supermom” or “super dad” is cute – until it’s not. Trying to do all the things can lead to burnout and depression. Nobody’s perfect. Not us, not your neighbors, not the PTA mom, and not you.
So, stop trying to reach an impossible level of perfectionism. Instead, focus on spending quality time with your family. If that means ordering pizza and letting the sink pile up with dishes for the night while you all enjoy a movie together, so be it.
- Take time for yourself
As parents, we tend to put our kids first, everything else second, and ourselves last. But this can be detrimental to your mental health. Parental burnout can be as real and soul-crushing as professional burnout.
Stepping away from your parental duties can do wonders for your mental health. It can be as elaborate as a kids-free weekend getaway or as simple as locking the bathroom door and taking a bath while your partner is on kid duty. Also, try building alone time into your day so you have time to decompress from the day’s stresses.
- Talk about it
You don’t have to struggle alone. Talk to your partner, family, and close friends about what you’re dealing with. Or find a therapist who can help you get through this. Keeping everything inside will only make things worse.
- Have age-appropriate conversations with your kids about mental health
Normalize talking about mental health as a family, so your kids will feel comfortable coming to you when they have questions or concerns about their mental health. Also, express when you’re doing something for your mental health. For example, instead of sneaking off to read a book, say, “I need a break, so I’m going to go read.” Kids who see their parents modeling good mental health behavior are likely to follow suit.
- Don’t forget your physical health
Mental and physical health are connected. Ensure you’re exercising, sleeping, drinking water, and eating well. These activities will impact how you feel mentally.
At NutritTots, we want to grow with you in each stage of parenthood. Check out our library of articles to discover more ways to improve your mental and physical health.