The Mighty Logo

3 Things I Do for My Mental Health as a Mom

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

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.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

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

Originally published: June 8, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home