Support Your Mental Health

Supporting your mental health

Our mental health, just like our physical health, needs tending to on a regular basis so we can feel our best. Time and energy can be very limited, especially for parents and caregivers. To best support the mental health of someone we care about, we need to take care of our own. While you may not be able to do all these things every day, here are a few simple ways to support your own mental health.

Take care of your basic needs

Meeting our basic needs, including drinking enough water, eating enough, moving our bodies, and getting enough sleep can go a long way toward supporting our overall health and wellbeing. To make this happen:

  • Keep a reusable water bottle with you
  • Eat when you feed the children
  • Combine physical activity with family activities, such as going for a walk or doing yoga
  • Create a bedtime routine for yourself

Spend time doing things you love

Whether it’s cooking, painting, hiking, reading, playing a sport, or another activity, spending even just a little bit of time doing the things we love helps us feel fulfilled and helps to manage stress. Sharing these activities with your children can help you bond and learn more about each other.

Set limits around screentime

Using our phones too much can mentally drain us and distract us from the present moment. Setting limits on how much time you are spending on your phone can help reduce stress, increase quality time spent with loved ones, and set an example of healthy habits for our children.

Connect with friends

Socializing can help us feel less alone and increase our sense of happiness and well-being. With our busy schedules, sometimes we must get creative when it comes to connecting with our friends. Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a virtual book club
  • Have a play date
  • Meet up for a walk, bike ride, or yoga class
  • Give each other a call each other while running errands or on a walk

Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health

Parents play a big role in supporting a child’s mental health. By modeling healthy habits, building a trusting relationship, and creating a stable, loving environment, children are better set up to weather life’s storms.

Model healthy habits

Kids learn a lot just by watching us. When we model healthy habits like those mentioned above, we’re teaching our children how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. You can do these things with your child or talk to them about how they can do them on their own.

Monitor time spent online

Studies show that social media has a negative impact on the mental health of children and youth. To lessen the impact, know what children are doing on social media and set realistic limits on screen time. Examples include no phones at mealtimes, no phones past bedtime, and no devices in bedrooms overnight.

Keep communication open and non-judgmental

Children need to know they will be listened to without judgment and met with love and support. By keeping communication supportive and non-judgmental, they will be more likely to come to you when they have a problem.

Talk about feelings and emotions

Children learn how to show their emotions and deal with them by watching us. Talking about our feelings and emotions with them has many benefits:

  • It shows our children that it’s okay for them to talk about their feelings and emotions too.
  • It helps them get better at identifying different emotions they’re having.
  • It allows us to teach them how to handle our feelings and emotions.

Include them in decision-making

While parents may have the final say on most decisions, finding ways to include your child in decision-making can help them feel heard and valued. It could be as simple as asking them whether they want a sandwich or macaroni and cheese for lunch.

Self-Care Ideas

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. Need some ideas?

  • Take a break
  • Stretch
  • Listen to your favorite song
  • Take 10 deep breaths
  • Watch something funny
  • Take a bath
  • Meditate
  • Move your body
  • Call a friend
  • Give yourself a compliment
  • Go outside
  • Take a nap
  • Drink water

Print out this self-care reminder card.

Seek Treatment if Needed

If you or your child are struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to seek treatment. Mental health treatment works and recovery is possible. If you need immediate support, call Integral Care’s 24/7 Helpline at (512) 472-HELP (4357) – Press 1 for English, then 1 for free around-the-clock emotional support. Services are available in many languages.

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