If you are a mom who struggles with mental health issues like I do, it is even more important to take time for self-care than if you didn't have a mental illness. Not only are you refreshing yourself to care for your kids, you are also taking care of your mental health.
If you are anything like me, probably know that it is hard to be a good mom when you are in the throes of Anxiety, Depression or PTSD. You may be more tired or less motivated than usual, struggling with intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, or some of your other symptoms, and it takes a mental toll. When you are focusing all your limited energy on your symptoms, it is harder to focus on your kids.
So, it is key take time for self-care in order to find ways to keep your symptoms from flaring up at inappropriate times. That is where daily self-care comes in.
Making sure to maintain your mental wellness is important for you, your family and your kids.
What is Self-Care?
There are many different types of self-care, such as mental, physical, emotional and social self-care. Some of my favorite self-care activities are yoga, meditation, mindfulness, journaling and using affirmations.
But those are just a few examples. Self-care is anything good that you do for yourself, that makes you feel refreshed and happy.
To read more about different types of self-care, check out:
Benefits of Self-Care on Your Mental Health
During therapy sessions, my therapists over the years would always ask me what I had been doing for self-care. Since self-care is highly recommended by mental health professionals as a coping strategy for your mental health symptoms, this highlights its importance.
According to Mental Health First Aid,
Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, increase happiness, and more. It can help you adapt to changes, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks.
Since science plays out the benefits of self-care for your mental health, this is a way to take care of your mental health in addition to going to therapy and taking your medications. Plus, self-care is fun, relaxing and rewarding on its own.
Benefits of Self-Care on Your Relationship With Your Kids
You have probably heard that saying, "You can't pour from an empty cup."
It is self-care that fills your cup.
Self-care allows you to be at your best, so that you have more energy physically and mentally to care for your kids in the best way possible.
According to Mental Health First Aid,
Think about the advice we get on airplanes: Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting someone else – without caring for yourself, you won’t be able help them. Similarly, if you’re not taking care of your body and mind, you won’t be the best version of yourself, especially when others need you. With a self-care routine that brings you joy, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthier mind and body. And that includes being there for the people who need you.
When you are a happier mom, it shines through in your relationship with your kids. As you become more energetic, fun and happy:
This translates to better play time with the kids
You can be more active and engaged with your kids
It will improve your relationship with your kids
Happier kids with engaged moms listen better
Self-Care Improves Your Other Relationships
When you have a mental illness, having a good relationship with your partner and friends is key to maintaining your mental health.
Often, you will need to rely on other people in your life to help you with tasks with the kids, or to keep you accountable for caring for your own mental health.
My partner helps me in both of these regards. He is calm and patient with me through all of my mental health and motherhood struggles.
Because of the amount that I need to rely on him, it is important that our relationship is a strong foundation for our family. Of course, this is true in every relationship, but even more so when you are mentally ill.
When I take better care of myself through daily yoga and other self-care practices, it allows me to better prioritize my relationship and to be a better partner. This in turn improves the give and take in my relationship so that it isn't just me always taking, which can cause resentment in a relationship.
Self-care is crucial when you are a mom with a mental health condition, because it allows you to be at your best when caring for your own mental health symptoms. Self-care also allows you to be at your best with your kids and your partner.
Making sure that you are well cared for, in terms of self-care, can help to lessen your mental health symptoms. This also allows your relationships with your partner and friends to become more healthy, for the times that you need to lean into them heavily when your mental health is down.
Taking care of yourself and your mental health is key to making sure that everything in your life is running smoothly. Self-care is the fuel for your mental and physical energy tank. Allowing yourself time to fuel your needs is critical to managing your mental health and your other responsibilities.
To learn more about how to incorporate self-care into your day, you can check out these other articles: