October is Mental Health Awareness month and our friends at Strucket are here to share some of their top tips to help us keep a little of their sanity because the reality is….
Family life is hard…
Running a busy household is stressful….
Looking after children is as challenging as it is exhilarating….
In a time where society constantly feeds us contradicting information about everything from woe to go and all that falls between, staying in tune with what is important to you and keeping all the balls in the air can be tough.
Being aware of your own needs, making time for self and ensuring that you have the skills and support you need to thrive is important. So here are some top tips to reduce some of the stress so that you have more time and space for what really matters.
- Hire a cleaner, go on- do it! If you feel like you can never get on top of all the chores, keep the clutter at bay or go a day without having to vac, mop, dust – maybe it is time to resign from the need to do it all. Often times our thought about the cost of household help such as a cleaner vs. the peace of mind and space that comes from having this type of domestic help is skewed. There are plenty of affordable options and honestly, these wonderful domestic gods and goddesses will leave your place sparkling as they enjoy creating a sanctuary for you and the family. Take back your time, and give your mind a rest – reach out, there’s no need to be ashamed of asking for help. It’s a brave move, and recognition that you understand your priorities.
- Take steps to begin decluttering. A huge source of stress for all parents is feeling overwhelmed by their environment. Having less enables you to spend fewer hours re-arranging and cleaning and more time on yourself and your loved ones. It will also provide you with physical, mental and emotional space. The less we have physically, the less we have to worry about mentally and emotionally. Start with your clothes, then move onto the kids items, the linen cupboard (how many towels and sheets sets do we really need?) and of course do not forget to tackle your online spaces too – clean out your emails, set up your bank accounts and create easy systems that keep your life and mind in order.
- Talk the talk & keep it real. Having a strong support system to share burdens, frustrations can provide a much-needed safe hub for when things are just too much. Seek help from friends, family or a professional. Talking about your feelings can go a long way to see the bigger picture of things and help you not get burdened with thoughts and worries. If you are dealing with depression, anxiety or any other indicators of mental ill-health be sure to seek out and speak to a professional – their knowledge, information and tools will be a key building block to feeling better and thriving in your life.
- Make sleep a priority. Everyone seems tired, it’s a fact of life. But make an effort to make your bedtime work for you. If you have babies or little ones, have a sleep when they sleep. Focus on creating a great sleep routine so that even if you are not getting a lot of shut-eye – you are getting good quality sleep. Some key tips for improved sleep including making the room as dark and cool as possible, staying away from screens and technology for at least 30 – 60 minutes before hitting the pillow, meditating before bed to ease your mind of burdens and increase relaxation and doing your best to go to bed around the same time every night.
- Increase your nature time. If you are a working parent we know getting any extra time can be hard. However, if you can make the time to get outside for a gentle stroll – whether it is in your lunch break at the office, after dinner with your partner and kids or first thing before anyone else wakes up – it can change your day. As you are enjoying some movement, be mindful and present, breathe deeply and focus on getting some fresh air and space for yourself.
- Cut the excess caffeine. We are not going to tell you to step away from the coffee, because the reality is that coffee is a fabulous life-enhancing wonder drug… until it gives you the jitters or keeps you wide awake at night. So in the interest of getting your quality sleep that was mentioned above, best to keep your caffeine hit before 2 pm, unless you are one of those magical creatures who can drink an espresso shot at 10 pm and be snoring by 10.15 pm!
- Keep life social. Human beings are social creatures and we need interaction with others like we need air. Depending on your personal preferences and personality, how much interaction will vary, but we all need some. Be sure to invest some time into others and catching up with friends and family when you can. You don’t need to be the social butterfly at every community event but meeting and talking to others, finding interests in common and sharing personal stories can help you to see that you’re not alone.
- Empty your mind. Writing and journaling is a great way to clear your mind and also track your moods and feelings. Spend a few minutes each day writing – just jot down whatever is bothering you it will help you get perspective and ensure you are not ruminating on repeat. Tracking your feelings and reflecting on them helps you to consider patterns in your behavior and it will also provide you with a chance to see the bigger picture and understand your own triggers and patterns so that you can develop strategies and tools to overcome them.
Mental Health is important. As a parent, our children look to us as their greatest role models, so be sure to take time to fill your own cup and nourish all aspects of you because ultimately you will have more to give those you love and experience more joy and happiness.