The importance of mental health as a mother
It’s amazing how much mothers cope with on a day-to-day basis. Not only are they responsible for their own lives and well-being, but also of their children. There is an undue amount of pressure on women, especially, to be the 'perfect' parent. Which often leads them to stress about everything from their parenting style to their overwhelming list of responsibilities. Yet, believing she must somehow be superhuman, she sweeps those pressures under the rug – until she burns out.
This may seem typical since it is a common practice among women. However, it is often the very reason why women outnumber men in mental illness statistics. They hold these emotions in and ignore their own physical and mental needs until they have nothing left to give. The reality is, however, if you want to be the best mom possible for your children you must start with a healthy mind. Here are a few reasons why it's so important for mothers to take care of their mental health.
Your Overwhelming Emotions Get Out of Hand
Those overwhelming feelings can get out of hand rather quickly, when responsibilities and expectations continue to build up. Brushing intense feelings of stress, anger or depression under the carpet can ultimately lead to mental illness.
You Make Yourself Physically Sick
It is a scientifically proven fact that when your mind is unbalanced, your body eventually weakens. When you’re stressed out, upset or depressed and you don’t deal with it in the correct manner, you’ll start to notice physical signs like lack of energy and a weakened immune system. Some symptoms of mental illness are also physical, like body aches and pains and digestive issues.
You Begin to Rely on Substances
In an effort to subside or get through overwhelming emotions, people often resort to negative outlets as a form of release. A mother who is secretly depressed might start to depend on prescription drugs to get her through each day. If this dependency continues, she’ll need to enroll in a prescription drug rehab to get treatment. Similarly, a woman who is stressed out might rely on a glass of wine which quickly turns into a bottle of wine and then dependency or alcoholism.
You Can’t Enjoy Life
A woman who is emotionally healthy is able to enjoy every day no matter what her circumstances are. However, when you don’t invest in your mental wellbeing, your ability to enjoy life becomes increasingly harder. Think about it: if you’re dealing with overwhelming emotions, physical ailments and possibly reliant on harmful substances to cope, you’re not going to be able to appreciate the good things in life.
Your Children Suffer
Last, but not the least, when a mother doesn’t prioritize her emotional well-being her children eventually suffer. When your mind is not clear and your body isn’t healthy, you lack the mental and physical capacity to be everything your children need. If you’re not eating right, not sleeping well, unable to concentrate, not enjoying life, and holding in overwhelming emotions, you take away from what you have to offer your kids. There’s also the added fact that your negative emotions can rub off on your children and they will repeat the horrible cycle of neglecting their own mental health.
Quick Tips for Improved Emotional Health
If you love yourself and your children, you don’t want any of the above consequences to manifest in your life. The best way to prevent mental burnout is to adopt healthier lifestyle habits that keep your mind strong.
Eat a Balanced Diet – the foods you eat can have an impact on your emotional health. So start taking steps towards eating a diet balanced with fruits, veggies, lean meats and dairy.
Exercise – working out is not just for slimming down, it can also reduce high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increase endorphins and dopamine which boosts your mood.
Get Rest – This may sound impossible for mothers of small children, but getting enough rest at night is vital to your emotional well-being. You need to create a schedule that allows you to get at least 7-9 hours every night.
The truth about motherhood is that it isn’t easy. While there is no greater joy than being a parent, the responsibility of raising children takes a lot out of you. Though you may be tempted to ignore your own needs, this is the worst thing you can do for you and your family in the long run. So, rearrange your life today to start incorporating practices to maintain positive mental health.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post