By Crystal Brisbin, Parent Support Partner
Newaygo Community Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Observed nationally since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month promotes mental health education and support in hopes of decreasing the stigma often associated with seeking help for mental illness.
We asked the staff of Newaygo Mental Health to put forth a few articles this month to promote good mental health. Last week we heard from Executive Director Carol Mills and this piece from Ms. Brisbin focuses on dealing with some of the stress that parenting can bring and how to take needed time for yourself
Parenting requires dedication, patience, and time. As a parent, I realize that it is easy to forget about my needs and wants. Self-care can often be forgotten or neglected but is an important tool in relieving stress and boosting moods.
Self-care does not have cost money or consume a lot of time. My hopes are to give suggestions on how to make time and incorporate activities for yourself that will allow you to step away from your routine obligations for a moment.
Take a look at your family schedule. Narrow down times during the day and week that allow you to focus on time to yourself. Naps, school, a trip to grandmas, bedtime, or a play date are all great times to consider. Parents often look at these times to take care of chores and errands. It is much easier to get groceries or go to the bank without your child. The time spent without our children seems to evaporate and we forget to take a breath and relax. Try and find periodic moments, within the day, where you can schedule time for you. If you feel that you have no break from parenting time, look to your circle of friends and family. Asking for help may be easier than anticipated.
Think about what you enjoy doing. There may be a lost hobby or interest that you have left behind because you felt you no longer had time to spare. Consider revisiting your interests as you begin finding time for yourself. Taking a walk, reading a book, enjoying a bubble bath, painting your nails, gardening, fishing, or drawing cost very little to nothing but time. If you have the financial means you could think about an arts and crafts project, joining a gym, taking a yoga class, coffee with a friend, or visiting a spa. When someone asks you for gift ideas, consider asking for gift certificates that will encourage you to seek self-care activities or supplies.
It may be hard to not feel selfish when giving up parenting time for your own needs. It is okay to feel this way, but try and get comfortable with the idea that you deserve self-care and the benefits that may develop. Reduced stress may help increase your level of patience, understanding, and may change your overall mood. Children are sensitive to our moods and your child may benefit from potential changes in you. Realizing that your self-care may indirectly positively affect your child may help eliminate your feelings of guilt.
Self-care is needed, deserved, and rewarding! It is never too late to focus on you…..consider it today!
For those interested in seeking assistance, please call 231-689-7330 during office hours for an appointment. As a reminder, Newaygo CMH is available 24/7 for people in crisis. Our crisis line is 231-689-7580. You can also visit our website at www.newaygocmh.org