My Family And Our Mental Health
Family is said to be one of our greatest blessings in life. Family brings us happiness and comfort. However, the world can be very complicated, and raising a family can be challenging at times.
Responsibilities and all the other pressures in a family life can be overwhelming that we forget to check on ourselves. Perhaps you might be thinking that being a good parent and at the same time prioritizing your mental health is impossible. But it should not be the case.
Data shows that among the people who show signs and suffer from a mental illness like depression, 68% of the women and 57% of the men are parents. The time of pregnancy is typically the highest peak of their depression.
Parents of children with special needs, such as ADHD and autism, are also found to have higher stress levels than other parents from other families.
Family Mental Health
The mental load of being a parent in a family is no joke. You are responsible for providing for your family, so you work for hours and sometimes even get a second job.
At the same time, parents, as most people, are supposed to be with their children as they grow up. They should discipline and guide their child to become a good person in the family and outside the family.
Constant effort to balance these responsibilities can be overwhelming and exhausting for the parents in a family.
Good Parenting Starts With A Healthy Mind And Body
Some parents may think that taking a moment to evaluate and re-align your mental health is a waste of time. We are always so caught up with how to become a good parent, find a better job for our family, secure a promising future for our children, etc.
For one, there is an association between bad parenting and depression, possibly other mental health conditions as well. Mental illness, particularly epression can make a parent hostile, ill-tempered, and disengaged.
Most of the time, the parents themselves are not aware of the deep-seated issues causing them stress.
Mental Health Of Family Parents
In effect, children of parents with depression tend to develop poorer physical and mental health. The mental illness could harm the child’s temperament and influence the development of various behavioral and mental health problems in children later on.
These children tend to have more deficient interpersonal skills at school, maladaptive stress response systems, and a higher risk of mental health problems like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.
Keeping Your Mental Health In Check
Knowing the gravity of the mental health and family and its effect on the parent themselves and the children, what can we do to avoid mental illnesses?
What are some of the ways you could do as parents, and as adults, to keep yourself and your family’s overall well-being and mental health in check?
Becoming a parent makes your situation more complicated as you are constantly worried, but the essential practices of keeping a healthy mental state are still applicable to you.
Have A Safe Outlet For Your Thoughts And Feelings
Most of the common reasons for mental health problem root from long-suppressed feelings. Leaving our feelings unaddressed is a recipe for a breaking point in the future of our family life.
When we push our feelings under the bed, it does not go away. It seeps into the surface in other and possibly more toxic forms.
Having emotions, however negative, is part of being human. Being a parent is not supposed to make you immune from having bad feelings. What is important is that we process it, we express it in a healthy way from which we will try to resolve it.
By doing so, you can avoid having suicidal thoughts or social withdrawal from other members of your families and other families in your circle.
You can keep a diary or a journal to write about your feelings and mental health state. Writing can be liberating and reflexive. Through writing your feelings, you can gradually understand where they’re coming from, and it can serve as a buffer to your emotions and irrational bursting out.
An outlet can also be your friends and other close relationships whom you can trust and talk, and are comfortable sharing your feelings with. Lastly, find professional services and treatment resources to better address and cope with your emotions.
Find An Activity That Makes You Feel Good
When we become parents, we do not stop being ourselves in the family. Despite the busy schedule and the mounting responsibilities in the family, we still deserve some ‘me’ time at this age.
Not being able to do so may negatively affect our well-being and mental health. So, no matter how challenging the health conditions and situation are, try to schedule your week to squeeze in a day or a few hours dedicated to yourself so you can focus on only you.
Try not to stop doing the activities and hobbies you enjoy before as young adults before becoming starting a family. For example, you might be a music enthusiast and you used to play a lot, or maybe you are a fitness geek and you work out regularly, or an artist and you enjoy painting or drawing.
Find time to do it even just for an hour. You can even lead a good example to your family members by taking care of yourself.
A simple break such as this can be a helpful breather to clean off your mind from time-to-time and just care for yourself without the friends and family burden. If in case it’s too much, learn more about your health information and seek mental health services.
Healthy Body: A Healthy Mind
Mental health may not be new to you, but as we all know, maintaining good physical health influences our mental health. On the one hand, physical discomfort and pain can negatively affect our mood and temper; it can either make us feel sad or easily irritated.
While on the other hand, a problem in our physical health can be a sign of a mental health problem. Some of these examples are having a headache, muscle pains, low pain tolerance, and fatigue. These symptoms can be a physical manifestation of mental health problems like stress, depression, and anxiety. If these occur, skip to main solutions or focus on main content and take care of yourself.
Aside from addressing the root causes of mental health problem, if there are any, keeping an active and healthy lifestyle would support and help alleviate these mental health problem. Proper exercise and proper sleeping and eating habits significantly improve your mood and ease your anxiety.
Conclusion On Family Mental Health
It is true when they say that to be able to love others, you must first love yourself. Being a parent can mean having a tantamount of work and household chores. So if you find yourself struggling, seek health services and consult a health professional.
We direct all our efforts to become a good parent, but we must remember that to be a good parent is to first be good in ourselves. Maintaining your mental and physical health is caring for your family.