Mental health. There are so many places that you can find online now that tell you that they can help you with your mental health. But it was not always like that. Ten years ago, when I was 20 (showing my age here) there were not so many places that you could find to help you out with other than hoping you found a good therapist and psychiatrist. But I am so glad to see these days that there is help and hope out there for those looking for it. My “Mommy Mental Health” as I call it was in a bad place and was for quite a while. I won’t lie, either, I still have my days. But there are little things that we can do in order to take care o our “Mommy Mental Health.”
I know, self-care, self-care, self-care. I think just about everybody is “self-cared” out right about now because we all write about it so much. But you know why we do write about it? That is because it is one of the things that we absolutely and positively need in order for us to be good for our children. As they say, you cannot pour from an empty vessel. You need to fill yourself up with the things that make you happy. If it is asking a family member to watch the kids for a few hours while you nap – do it. Unapologetically. They will likely be more than happy to watch the little ones, and you can rest and re-charge your batteries.
As someone who lives with anxiety, one technique that I have learned over the years is to keep myself grounded. However, it took a long time for me to get there! You can use different techniques to stay grounded, that is, to not get carried away in the moment and to not let your emotions take over you. With grounding, you can really use the powers of your five senses when it comes to bringing yourself down, away from a panic attack. It’s great to use when you are out, too, even when you are not home. My favorite technique is to hear the sound of gravel crunch underfoot. That may sound silly, but it helps me so much. For yourself, you can focus on something on the wall, or you can listen to the sounds outside.
I’m not even kidding you, because if I were, you’d be laughing! Laughing is something that I am all about. Whatever it may take to make you giggle or chuckle, do that. It could be watching silly animal videos online, or watching re-runs of America’s Funniest Home Videos on repeat. Watch a comedy, be punny with your partner. Laughing is so good for the soul, in my opinion. But not only that, on the sciency side of things, when you laugh, the level of dopamine and serotonin are altered in a way that makes you feel happier than you did before. So if you get the chance, don’t scroll past that kitten riding a Roomba, watch it, and laugh!
I know, it’s been one big bucket of suck outside with these crazy winter storms. But hopefully, wherever you are, the weather is starting to break at least a little bit. Grab the kids and go outside and go for a walk if you are able to. Breathe in that fresh and beautiful air and get some of that into your lungs. It will do you so well. Plus, walking is a form of exercise, which also releases endorphins while we are working out, to release the happy chemicals in our brains! So it is kind of a win-win when you think about it. I’m not saying haul out the barbecue just yet, but a little outdoors and sunshine here and there is good for you and me.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone, someone who is an outside source other than your family and friends, I implore you to find a therapist, one that is a good fit for you. Whether it is in-person or telehealth, having someone to talk to can make all of the difference in the world. Not only that, they can teach us coping skills for times when we need them the most. There is nothing shameful about going to therapy, it is one of the bravest things that you can do, really. There are many services that provide online counseling, so, looking into those you may be able to find something. And if something doesn’t feel like a “fit” to you? All you have to do is see another therapist and see if they kind of vibe with you.