Parent Mental Health Day: five tips to look after your mental health as a parent

Being a parent is a full-time, 24/7 job, that doesn’t come with the added benefits of annual leave or yearly appraisals (or even warm cups of tea!). Raising a family takes a lot of work, and as a primary caregiver, it is really important that you prioritise looking after your own mental health. We hope the following tips help you to look after yourself better:

1. Have a support network behind you and ask for help when you need it

Your support network might be big or small and it might consist of family, friends, a therapist or a GP. It should be people you can call on for both emotional and practical support. It might be that you ask a friend to do the school-run one day a week, ask a parent to babysit so that you can get a break, or book in an appointment with the GP to discuss how you’re feeling mentally. By sharing out the load, this can take some of the pressure off of you

2. Make time for yourself

We all know that it feels almost impossible to have alone time when you’re a parent. However, doing something for you is so important, and will actually translate into helping you be a better parent. It might be 30 minutes a day to do some mindful breathing, or a solo coffee date with a friend to offload. By continually making small pockets of time for yourself and prioritising your own needs, you will feel more fulfilled and more equipped to face everything else

3. Review your work-life balance

If you’re working, it is really important to feel that you have a positive work-life balance. This will mean that work doesn’t take over and you have time to prioritise yours and your family needs. If your company offers it, discuss flexible working options with your employer. This could mean that you work slightly different hours to fit around your child(ren). Or perhaps you could discuss hybrid working, so you can work from home on some days of the week. The good news is that this is increasingly common now in certain sectors, so employers should be open to a discussion about your working pattern

4. Set up a weekly routine

Staying organised and on top of household chores can make all the difference to your mental health. Set up a weekly routine that takes into account your child’s needs, as well as your own priorities as a parent. Sticking to this as closely as possible can help you to feel more in control and calm. Remember to build in time for yourself and fun time as a family, too!

5. Seek further support

Don’t forget, if you’re struggling, support is available:

Jo Wibrew - Employment Team Leader

Hi, I’m Jo, and I am the employment team leader for the Southwark Community Employment Team at SLaM. I am passionate about people and enjoy coaching clients and team members alike. I’ve been with SLaM for 7 years now and have really enjoyed being a ‘founding member’ of the Work Well network and watching it grow. It brings together like-minded, passionate people who are truly dedicated to helping others.

When I’m not working, I enjoy keeping fit and healthy (my current love is Pilates), and spending time with loved ones, usually with a coffee in hand!