3 Things I Do for My Mental Health as a Mom


Self-care — I wish it was as simple as waving a wand and saying a spell: “Accio self-care! But unfortunately for me… it’s not. It’s not easy as a mom, as a woman or as a general person of any society. The stigma of mental health makes it hard to take a moment to use your coping skills without feeling uncomfortable. It’s difficult to try and relax in a bubble bath, take a nap, go to therapy without that over encompassing feeling of guilt taking hold.

These are “skills” I’ve learned over the years to help me cope:

1. Read.

It doesn’t matter what I’m reading or how (hello audiobooks). But, it helps. I used to avoid taking a few minutes to relax in a bath, taking a quick walk around the neighborhood, or even working out at the gym. I saw it as being “selfish” with my time, when I could be doing something for my husband or kids. But in order to read, you need to concentrate on the words, and by doing that it doesn’t leave much time to feel guilty.

2. Listen to loud music.

This one is hard for me to do all of the time (thanks to migraines) but it’s one of my favorites, nonetheless. With music blasting during workouts, or cleaning the house (yeah, the angry clean is one of my coping mechanisms) it helps drown out any uncomfortableness I might be feeling. The louder, the better. If you can hear your thoughts over the music, maybe you’re not doing it right.

3. Breathing exercises.

I used to sing in school. In regular chorus, chamber choir, and  A capella. We would always have to warm up doing simple breathing exercises. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing worth a dime, as long as you can breath while counting. My go-to is inhaling for a four count and breathing out for an eight-count. If that’s too easy and you find your mind easing towards whatever else, try to breath out for 10 seconds or more. By challenging yourself with this simple exercise you have to focus on your actions.

Over time, these can become a habit. There should be no guilt or awkwardness when it comes to taking care of yourself.

Getty image by fizkes


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Bipolar Disorder

woman sitting on grass under tree reading book during spring

Self-Care Tips to Practice If You Experience ‘Spring Mania’

Spring symbolizes a new beginning. Flowers are in full bloom, the trees are bright green, the grass is covered in morning dew, and the sun is so beautiful and radiant. You wake up and smile because everything feels new. You may have cleaned your apartment or finally replaced the dull and limp flowers in your [...]
close up portrait of woman with short hair resting on hands

Why I Choose to Say ‘I Am Bipolar’

One of the major discussions in the mental health community is how to refer to your diagnosis. Some people say you should always say you have the condition; not that you are the diagnosis. The common rationale for that is that your illness shouldn’t define you. It isn’t who you are. People point out that [...]

How This Real-Life Example Illustrates a Hypomanic Spiral

“Aren’t you happy when you’re hypomanic?” I hear this often and of course the answer is, “no.” Sure, it feels good having that burst of energy that will last for who knows how long. However, and it’s a biggie: I have learned through experience that the roller coaster must come down, hard and fast without [...]
Woman's face flipping detailed hair

What My Mixed Bipolar Episodes Are Like

Mixed episodes can occur when someone struggling with bipolar disorder is both manic and depressed simultaneously. Words are easy to use when defining what a mixed episode is, but words are hard to find when describing what a mixed episode feels like. I don’t stay up until 4 a.m. writing the night away, nor do [...]