As a mom, sometimes it is easy to feel down or even depressed. Fluctuating hormones combined with a lack of sleep and the need to always be “on” can make it difficult to maintain a healthy outlook on life. Constant emotional and mental stress can lead to an eventual breakdown, which isn’t healthy for anyone, particularly in time of a crisis. The following methods are simple tricks you can employ to maintain your mental health so you can be there for the people in your life.
Remember, I am not a mental health professional, and these are just observations I have made in life combined with research I have conducted on how to maintain mental health. Links to professional mental health sites are listed at the end of the article if you want more information.
Eat a Healthy Diet
So, it turns out, eating your kids’ leftover crusts and chocolate chips isn’t the healthiest diet. Taking time to eat healthy foods is essential to your emotional and mental health. Try planting your own garden (kids can help, too!) or purchasing fresh vegetables from a CSA for even bigger health benefits. You may find that avoiding substances like coffee, sugar, and alcohol improve your overall health.
It is essential for moms to stay active. Activity not only is healthy for weight maintenance and heart health, but it is also essential for your mental well being. Exercise releases many of the “feel-good” hormones that fight depression and give you energy.
Side note from Jendi: As a busy mom one of my favorite ways to take a break but do something productive is an exercise video. My favorites are the 10 Minute Solutions Exercise DVDs because it feels much easier to squeeze in just 10 minutes.
Sometimes it is easy to become isolated as a mom because getting out of the house takes a lot of effort. But healthy social relationships are essential to your mental and emotional health. Try to maintain adult conversations with other adults (even online conversations are better than none) to eliminate the stress and gloom of isolation.
Care for Others
This one is easy for moms: caring for others is a great way to lift your mood and improve mental health. Great satisfaction is derived from caring for others- even if it is just the thrill you get from seeing an empty laundry hamper. Caring for pets also improves emotional stability.
Ask for Help
Today’s mothers often feel like they have to be supermoms, which can create unhappiness when many moms find it a struggle to feed their children three meals a day. There is no shame in asking for help, and it can be a lifesaver. If you can’t afford professional help, there may be willing teens to help out from church for a low price, or other mothers may be willing to swap duties with you for a day. Your own kids may be able to help out with the incentive of extra privileges.
We’re talked about this before, but moms need their sleep! Sleep is one of the simplest fixes to improve mood and emotional health. You may be surprised at how much better you feel after a good night’s rest. Try switching off night duties with your husband if you still have children that wake during the night.
Maintaining Mental Health as a Mom
These are just a few small ways to improve your mental health as a mom. However, if you are struggling from real depression, it is important to speak to a health professional right away. Postpartum depression is a serious condition that many women face, and sometimes postpartum depression can last well past a baby’s first birthday. If you question your mental state, it is important to seek help as soon as possible so you can provide the best environment for your children and for you!