Most parents experience a range of emotions as they raise their kid into maturity including joy, excitement, frustration, concern, and pride. When a kid has a mental illness although this spectrum of thoughts and feelings may escalate into something that is tiring and overwhelming. It can make a parent feel disheartened, if not hopeless, about their child's future.
While these feelings of irritation and worry are understandable, parents who take care of their own physical and emotional well-being are better equipped to deal with the demands of caring for a child with a mental illness. They adjust better to changes, form strong bonds, and bounce back from setbacks - the ups and downs of a child's sickness can have a significant influence on you. Maintaining your physical and mental health improves your connection with yourself, making you more resistant and allowing you to ride bad times and appreciate good ones.
We'll discuss self-care practices to help you stay on top of your health while caring for your family.
Protect your physical health.
Caring for your physical health will provide you more energy to care for the other aspects of your health too.
- Get enough sleep. Nothing is more vital than a good night's sleep. You may not be able to operate completely the next day if you are sleep deprived, and this may prevent you from fulfilling your responsibilities. If you're having difficulties sleeping, stop using computers, smartphones, or watching television just before bed. If you can sneak in a power nap (at least 30 minutes) during the day, please do so - this might help you stay awake throughout the day.
- Look after your dietary needs. Many parents and caregivers of young children find it difficult to find time to cook, remain hydrated, and eat nutritiously. However, consuming primarily processed meals might have a negative impact on your health. It's possible that you won't be able to obtain the nourishment you need. Eating well will help you boost your immunity, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and maintain your energy and mood.
- Make time for physical activities. A brief stroll to the shop, using the stairs whenever possible, or walking or bicycling to your destination instead of driving are all examples of exercise. Physical activity is essential for our health and well-being. Since it might improve our mood, it can benefit not only our physical but also our mental health. Physical activity can also help us maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases from developing in the future. Set a schedule with yourself to exercise at a designated time during the day. If you're having trouble finding time to yourself, go for a brief walk with your child or a pet first thing in the morning. It doesn't matter how lengthy or short your exercise routine is - the most important thing is that you get your body moving.
- Avoid using substances. When caring for a child, it is critical to remain vigilant at all times. This will not be possible if we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of using substances that cause us to lose our awareness. Some individuals believe that these substances can provide stress relief, but if we do not stay sober, things can happen that will only add to our stress.
It can be difficult to find time for yourself as a caretaker of someone with a mental illness, and even when you do, you may become sidetracked by thoughts of what you "should" be doing instead. However, learning to prioritize yourself without feeling guilty about abandoning others (both the individual with the disease and the rest of your family) is essential.
Any time you set aside for yourself is valuable. Take some time even if it's only five minutes to do something that will offer you peace and satisfaction. Taking a brief stroll, watching an episode of your favorite show, writing in a diary, or talking with a family member or friend are all good ways to decompress. Consider the activities you used to like before you became a mother and think of ways you can incorporate them back into your life. If you used to enjoy shopping, going to the mall on your own once a month might be satisfying. It doesn’t matter what you do or how many times you do it, as long as it gives you time to yourself.
Practice good mental health habits.
As a parent of a child that has mental health needs, looking after your own mental health may be something that is at the bottom of your list. However, it is something that should be prioritized. You might be able to avoid developing symptoms of mental health disorders if you start with healthy mental health habits.
- Avoid guilt. Beating yourself up for things that are beyond your control can prevent you from looking after your child. Learn to accept things as they are and try not to control everything around you
- Appreciate the small things. Taking the time to recognize the minor pleasant aspects of your daily life might help you make positive changes. This can also help you have a better perspective on things and appreciate even the smallest of details. Try putting down one positive thing each day or week. Even if the good thing is simple ("It was a bright day"), it is genuine, it counts, and it has the potential to improve your life.
Seek support for your own mental health.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. It might be difficult to maintain mental health as a parent of a child with mental illness. It's terrible to see your child struggle with despair, rage, or suicide ideation. Being a parent entails having a tremendous capacity for love, as well as a tremendous capacity for concern. However, because your child cannot survive without you, it is critical that you recognize when you require assistance. You must maintain your mental health in order to care for your child who’s suffering with their mental health.
When you have a kid with a mental illness, you are more likely to develop signs of mental illness. Knowing the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety) might help you recognize them when you first see them. It's fine to seek for and receive assistance. You should not deny yourself the opportunity to look after your mental health. While caring for your child, you deserve to stay in top form. If you think that you might be showing signs of depression, please visit our page here to know the treatment options available. If you're interested in receiving treatment from us, the first thing we'll ask is that you complete this assessment and verify your insurance. In this journey, you are not alone.