As a parent of a young child, you already have your work cut out for you. But if you’re also working a full-time or part-time job, you can find yourself getting overwhelmed quite often. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You need to prioritize parents mental health as you are working parents not only for your own well-being, but also for your child.
Check out these practical tips for working parents mental health:
1. Be Transparent With Your Colleagues
If you’re working from home, you should let your workplace know that you’re also taking care of a child and will need to set up some boundaries. This can help you establish some time to yourself and not be worried about whether you have to be online all the time. In addition, your colleagues will know that you sometimes won’t be able to respond instantly.
You can work out expectations with your colleagues. For instance, if you have to take your kids to school, someone else can be online at that time or pick up that shift. Do you commute to an office?
Even if you may have to arrange for someone to look after your child/children, you should let your colleagues know about your availability. Though you may have some extra help, there are countless moments you won’t want to miss — talent shows, parent-teacher conferences, and doctor appointments. Along with your colleagues, you can work out a schedule that will help you be present.
2. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
You’re trying your best. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, being a working parent is tough. If your child’s school has to abruptly shut down due to an outbreak, you may have to change your plans again and start working remotely for a bit. All of this uncertainty can take a toll on working parents mental health. You may think that you aren’t doing enough to be there for your child and job. However, just know that you’re giving it your all. Remind yourself about all the great things you’re accomplishing with a gratitude journal. Every morning before you start the day, take some time to write an entry. Here are a few things you can include:
- Write about any recent milestones with your children such as first steps, first words, or the first time they’ve come home proud of their homework. Life goes by quickly so make sure you take a moment to write down these moments to cherish them.
- Reflect on how far you’ve come with your own mental health. Dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression is a lifelong journey. Though you may have some stumbles on the way, you should take some time to celebrate good days where you feel extra happy and appreciative of your family and career.
- Discuss any work accomplishments. While your work life can be occasionally stressful, you should also take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments. Whether it’s a raise, promotion, or wrapping up a large project, it’s crucial that you relish in reaching your goals
3. Talk To Other Working Parents
You need a network of support. In addition to potentially hiring some people to help you out (if you can afford it), you should also reach out to other working parents at your child’s school. With these parents, you can trade tips and on occasion, voice your frustrations and anxieties. This group can help you knock off any tasks off your to-do list. On top of that, it can potentially be a fantastic thing for your kids. It can be tough for kids to make friends at school. Talk to these parents about scheduling potential play-dates. At the end of the day, you should never feel like you’re facing this alone. There are many working parents out there who are making it work. Even if you can’t find anyone at your child’s school that you feel connected with, you can also take to social media and find people with similar experiences to talk to.
4. Do Something Nice For Yourself
Between work and your kids, you may think you have no time for yourself. But you need to make some time to do things that you love to do or you will end up depleted. Here are a few things you can do for yourself that can help boost working parents mental health:
- Exercise: Working out can release endorphins in your brain that make you feel better. You can get a gym membership or if you’re on a budget, you can schedule some time each day to go for a run or ride a bicycle around the block. With YouTube workouts, you can exercise from the comfort of your home.
- Watch A Silly Movie or TV Show: After a long day of being a working parent, sometimes you just want to turn your brain off and escape into some relaxing content. There are a lot of shows and movies to choose from!
- Read A Great Book: Taking a break from screens can improve your sleep which can subsequently help your mental health. Find a page-turner that you can read every night before bed.
5. Get Enough Sleep
As a working parent, you may get exhausted. But to be fully there for both your children, job, and yourself, you will need to get a good night’s rest. If you find yourself restless after a long day, you may have to adjust your diet and cut out caffeine or any foods that you’re having trouble digesting instead you can eat healthy foods.
6. Seek Treatment
You can only do so much on your own. When you’re dealing with feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety, you may need to reach out to other people or seek treatment. With telemedicine platforms such as Hers, you can get a mental health evaluation and connect with a doctor who can help you feel your best.
No matter what’s happening in your life, you should take the necessary time to work on yourself. In order to succeed as a working parent, you should stay on top of your mental health and talk to people in your life who love and care about you. You got this!