The true nature of parenting, not the Instagram perfect one, is often characterised by sleeplessness, chaos, noise, overstimulation, thwarted will and a juggling act, as well as deep abiding love, meaning, purpose, connection and joy. The mantra to use is: ‘savour the joyful moments, make peace with the rest’.
Parenting has a potent impact on our mental health commonly manifested in anxiety, low mood and energy, depression, anger, and a feeling of a frazzled nervous system. Sleep deprivation alone can have a significant impact on our outlook and clarity of thought. There is also a natural grieving process involved in the transition to parenthood – letting go of our old lives and allowing the dynamics in relationships to evolve.
We need to develop a whole new self-care toolkit to buffer ourselves from the burden of parenting – specifically activities that take little time, energy or effort. If guilt gets in the way, remember engaging in self-care is the means by which you become the parent you aspire to be, so it’s the ultimate win win. The mantra ‘it’s not me first, it’s me as well’ might be helpful.
Use the Vitality Wheel to brainstorm your self-care toolkit and turn to it when you need a boost or when there is a rare moment to yourself!
What are we aiming for? There is no perfect parent, there is no perfect colleague. Tap into your personal values and take action to be that person you aspire to be. ‘Be the adult you want your kids to be’. How can we be this best version of ourselves? Only through regular nourishment. Get out that Vitality Wheel!
Signs of burnout and overwhelm: extreme tiredness, suppression of the immune system, aches, pains and tension, subdued mood and difficulty focusing, anger and reactivity, diminished enjoyment.
What to do if you’re having a tough time and how can you be supportive of others: talk about it, empathise with others, ask how you can be helpful and shape the help that is offered, make the commitment to regular self-care, reach out if you’re not sure what to do to help yourself. Know that your organisation wants you to speak up and they want to nourish and sustain you.
Further Advice and Support
If you’re concerned about someone or would like further support with your own mental health, the MIND website is a great source of knowledge and advice
Please also remember that the Mindshare Mental Health Champions are here to support you too. You can find out more about them here
Suzy's Vitality Wheel