This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is ‘Relationships’. Positive relationships with others are integral to maintaining good mental health and wellbeing and this becomes even more important when you embark on your adventure as a parent.
Why not make a commitment to yourself to improve your wellbeing through strengthening your relationships? Here are five suggestions:
Bond With Your Child
You may spend all your time with your child/children but that doesn’t mean that you are always getting that quality one to one bonding time. Being present is important. Turning off phones and other distractions and focusing just on your little one. Watching how they play, paying attention to their communication and what they are showing you. This is not only therapeutic for them but for parents too. Slow down. Enjoy the moments and cherish the memories you are creating.
Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Partner
Having a child changes your priorities and can put strain on your relationship. A healthy relationship can support you through difficult times and can enhance your wellbeing when you need it most. Take some time to reconnect when you can. Notice the nice things your partner may do for you or your child and thank them for it to show appreciation. Talk about how you are feeling and be honest about your needs. When you do get some free time, make use of it and try to share an experience, even if all you might be up for is watching a film together.
Use Your Support Network
Becoming a parent is a life changing experience and it is easy to become overwhelmed with the new tasks and challenges you may face. Take up those offers of support when they come. If people want to make dinner, help with chores or look after siblings, let them. Reach out to people and meet up with others regularly if you are feeling up for it. Ask for support and guidance when you need it. Your network may involve family, friends or even strangers on online support groups. Sometimes the best support can come from the most unlikely of places so be open to what others have to offer.
Regardless of your life experience or background, as parents and caregivers we are in this game together. Think about some of the gestures that helped you through the first few weeks of parenting and pay it forward by offering the same to someone else. Through helping others, we often gain more insight into ourselves. Plus, it makes you feel good so it’s great for your wellbeing too!
Make Friends With Other Parents
Parenting can be surprisingly isolating at times. There can be huge benefits to meeting other parents who have children the same age and are going through the same issues as you. Meeting new people is a daunting process and can take courage and confidence but it’s usually a step forward you won’t regret. Try out our SensoBaby classes or find out about regular meet ups near you.
To find out more, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
If you are worried about your own mental health, or the mental health of someone close to you, it is important to speak about the problems and seek support from a professional such as your general practitioner.