Parents! Stay On Top of Your Mental Health with These Four Simple Tips

Keep things in perspective and prioritise – it can feel overwhelming when we are juggling so much, but taking a pause and putting the different aspects your life in order or priority can help in taking the pressure off.  When push comes to shove, kids and family are #1, everything else can wait.

It can often seem easier said than done, but instead of viewing everything going on in your life as one big overwhelming mass, try and calmly look at each aspect of your life: work, family, finances etc, and ask yourself ‘what is the most important thing now?’.

Rate things that you need to do in order of importance and tackle the top couple first – one at a time.  Give yourself permission to come back to the other things on the list another time, it should help keep your stress levels down.

Take time out

Take some time each day/week to just ‘be’ by yourself, when the noise around and demands on you are deliberately put to one side, you can let your mind just rest and recover a little. Have a think about what that special ‘you time’ might be like, what you might do. Perhaps it’s a walk, taking in some fresh air and greenery, maybe it’s an exercise class, a mindfulness or yoga session, or perhaps a lovely warm bubble bath with a good book? Whatever it might be, have fun deciding what it is you’d like to do to mentally recharge, make any arrangements to ensure the kids are looked after while you’re relaxing, and most importantly, enjoy it guilt free!

Don’t people please

Catch yourself being a ‘yes’ person to all and sundry. Put you and your family first and don’t run yourself ragged pleasing everyone else’s requests before fulfilling your own needs first. We all often get pulled in various directions, ‘can we do this?’, ‘would you mind doing that?’ Being kind and helpful is a wonderful quality, and one we should definitely embrace and demonstrate, BUT not to the detriment of our own mental and emotional health. Practice saying ‘no’ from time to time, or perhaps even start with ‘not right now’, or ‘can I let you know’.  It can help calm down any pressure to say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone which can affect our stress and anxiety levels.

Create family time

Put aside some time to spend as a family. Ditch the phones and any distractions and plan time for just you and the kids. It’ll do you all wonders, alleviate any parent guilt, and boost the happy hormones. Family time is lacking across the country in general, and spending time together doesn’t have to cost the earth, in fact the nicest memories are often made with the least expense. Walks, making sofa ‘camps’, going to the park, painting, baking, a movie and popcorn… as long as it’s together, that’s all that matters.

Talk it out

If you’re finding things too much, don’t bottle the feelings and thoughts up, talk to your partner, a mate, a boss, and tell them what’s going on for you. It can be the best way to get any stress out. We all have moments when things just get on top of us, it can feel really hard to know what to say sometimes, but do think of someone you trust to talk to. Sharing any niggles as they first happen can really help in making sure they don’t fester and turn into something much bigger. 

About The Author

Anna Williamson
Counsellor, NLP Practitioner

Anna is a counsellor, NLP practitioner, member of the national council of psychotherapists (NCP) and performance coach and she is qualified in this field at the highest level - 5. Anna currently uses these skills as a regular expert on ITV show This Morning reaching out to families and children covering issues surrounding family relationships, problems children face growing up and ways to keep a healthy mind, body and soul. Anna began her television career in children's TV, but has since gone on to host travel guides, competition features and the latest celebrity gossip on ITVs GMTV, Daybreak and The Lorraine show. Recently she joined the new ITV O'Brien show and is also a regular agony aunt on Big brothers Bit on the Side looking at relationships in the house, analysing body language, tone of voice and of course who will find love in the house. With regards to print Anna has written columns as an agony aunt for Top Sante (reaching the mums) and Girl Talk (reaching the little ones) and Digital Spy (reaching the celebrity enthused reader). Anna is as an official celebrity ambassador for the mental health charity, Mind. She now talks openly about her own battle with severe anxiety and panic attacks and has hosted several events and debates surrounding this topic. Anna is also a Child Line counsellor and celebrity ambassador for the Princes Trust.

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