May is Mental Health Awareness Month and has been observed as such in the United States since 1949. The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental health conditions and the realities of living with these conditions. Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. As a mental health therapist, I am passionate about the topic and truly feel everyone can benefit from therapy.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experience mental health conditions every year. Moms, in particular, can face enormous challenges when it comes to staying mentally healthy. Mothers can have so much on their plates and constantly put others before themselves, so they are usually the last to reach out for help.
Here are some ways we, as mothers, can be proactive with our mental health:
- Exercise. Not to be fit or lose weight, but because it produces endorphins that help to improve our moods.
- Sleep. While some new moms may not find this realistic, there are ways to get sleep without doing the conventional 6-8 hours at night. Nap when baby naps or ask your partner to take over for an hour or two while you get some sleep.
- Support. This could be from therapy, friends, or family, but it needs to be in a space where you can be open and honest about things that are going on in your life. If you feel like you are in a place where you can’t reach out to a particular person, journaling can be helpful.
- Meditate. Even if it is a quick closure of your eyes and ten deep breaths. Taking some time for our bodies to catch up with what our minds are thinking can really help to lower the negative effects of anxiety.
- Self-Care. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s intentional time out of your day taken for something that makes you happy and pulls you back together to a mindful place.
If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot adequately take care of others.
While mental health may be last on your list of worries, try to bring it more to the forefront and help yourself be the best version of yourself, not just for you but also for the ones you love.