This May is the 70th anniversary of Mental Health Month, an observance led by Mental Health America to start a conversation within communities across the country. Did you know that one in five adults in the United States will experience a mental illness?
It doesn’t discriminate by age, race or gender. Students, successful career men and women, parents, nonparents – mental health issues can arise for anyone.
I’m not a mother myself, but I truly believe being a mother is the hardest job in the world. There are no set hours or days off. You are on call 24/7.
Nothing prepares you for this role, so you have to hit the ground running. The minute your child enters the world, you are their protector, teacher and a full-time caregiver. Then add the responsibilities of a full-time job, household chores and finding the time to nurture your relationships. You have now become Superwoman!
However, this schedule cannot keep up for long before your physical and mental well-being declines. Moms are sleep deprived, stressed and some are even caretakers for a family member. Between our electronic devices and social media, there is an added pressure to be perfect, although life should never be a competition.
Moms tend to put their own health and needs on the back burner, instead focusing on the needs of their family. Eventually, they feel burnt out with effects that include sleep deprivation, chronic sickness, low patience levels and anxiety.
So, how do we make a change for the better?
Most importantly, start putting yourself first. This can be difficult when others rely on you, but making your needs a priority allows you to be the best person you can be for them. Sleep, nutrition and exercise are usually the first three things that people don’t maintain in their everyday life. Shifting to this new mindset could be as simple as making sure you get enough sleep every night and using that gym membership you’ve been paying for or it could be as indulgent as scheduling a monthly facial or nail appointment.
Additionally, ask for help when you need it. Recruit friends or family members who can take the kids for an afternoon or an evening so you can recharge. Utilize services that make your life easier such as grocery delivery services or dog-walking apps, even if it’s a splurge for your family. Get the kids involved with small tasks around the house to help you out.
It’s the little things that can help relieve the pressure and anxiety you may feel. Your child’s presence may be the best present you could have as a mom, but consider giving yourself the gift of me-time on a regular basis to boost your overall mental health and wellness.