I don’t know about you, but I frequently relate to the thought bubble on the left. The endless tasks, the never ending to do lists, the pressures of daily life that can so often feel overwhelming! Coupled with a pandemic that has increased pressures on parents and families and regularly separated us from our normal social supports, it is no wonder that stress and anxiety are at peak levels.
The good news is that there is support available and things that can help! Some helpful, simple strategies include:
- Taking time to focus on the here and now and focusing on taking a deep breath.
- Sometimes when I am driving or sitting at the traffic lights I try to focus on taking slow deep breaths and breathing into my belly. I might put my hands on my belly to feel it expand or I might try to count while breathing to try to really slow my breathing down. Doing this can help to regulate your heart rate.
- Spending time with loved ones.
- This might be catching up with family or friends and doing something enjoyable. I really enjoy sharing a meal with people, going for a walk or sometimes playing a board game together. Anything that fills your cup (rather than depleting your energy).
- Spending time in nature.
- When I have the time, I love to go on bush walks. Unfortunately, on the average day this isn’t often possible. I do try to get outside for a walk each day and when I do I try to focus on enjoying the fresh air and listening to the sounds of birds. If I’m hanging out the washing outside I try to make a point of enjoying the fresh air and the warmth of the sun.
- Doing things that feel nurturing and caring.
- My go to is to take a minute to actually enjoy my cup of tea rather than drink it quickly when it’s cold! I also like to spend an extra couple of minutes in the shower.
These are some of my self-care strategies. Your strategies will look different to mine. I hope that this has helped you to think about some simple things that you can do each day to be kind to yourself.
Another helpful thing can be to speak with someone. Often, speaking with someone who is outside of your immediate support network and impartial is beneficial. Did you know that you can access 10 subsidised counselling sessions per year for a range of things (including stress and parenting difficulties)? You can also now do this via telehealth (zoom etc), so you can access this support without needing to leave your house!
Take a step for your mental health!