Home Mental Health & Well-Being Tips for Working Parents to Stay Mentally Healthy in 2024

Tips for Working Parents to Stay Mentally Healthy in 2024

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Being a parent is full of joy. Being a parent is full of joy but what we don’t report and often talk about is how hard parents work. A 2022 Ohio State University study found that 66% of working parents mentioned All parents, whether or not they work outside the home, are at risk of burnout, and it can have an impact on the whole family. Taking care of a child is a full-time job. But many parents are actively promoting work. Given our health and wellness needs and responsibilities, there’s limited time for everything. Achieving work-life balance takes hard work and strategic time planning, but it’s important that parents embrace the challenge of what is important to them, especially with their lives. Take good care of yourself.

Here are some tips that can help you manage your mental, family and professional health:

Safeguard your mental health

Practising simple self-care is a good idea to boost your mental health. Self-care is anything that helps your mental, physical and emotional health, while an extended break is a good self-care activity. 

There are many simpler self-care activities you can incorporate into your day, including:
• A nutritious meal
• Five minutes of meditation
• Take your dog for a walk
• Listen to an empowering podcast
• Have a meaningful conversation with a friend or family member

Protect your mental health and take a step upward for your mental health care to be the best parent, partner, and employee you can be. Organising family activities often takes a back seat for working parents. 

This happens for many reasons, but some of the most common are:
• Work requires long or irregular hours
• Working parents are too tired to interact with family
• Single-parent households require parents to work as much as possible to make ends meet.

Spend time with your family

Spending time with your children and your partner is extremely important, regardless of your situation. Creating deep connections with anyone can change the course of their lives for the better. Plus, being with your family can improve your mood and help you cope better with stress. You can also maximise the amount of time you spend with your family. For example, if you only have a few minutes to play with your child before going to work, sensory play activities like playing with marshmallows or crumpled paper or drawing with crayons will help maximise the short time you have. Even a few minutes of this playtime gives your child a chance to develop the language and emotional skills they will need later in life.

Continuously advance your career with boundaries

Just as important as family, mental health and well-being is your career progression. Achieving your career goals and providing a comfortable life for your family are just as important as the above to create a meaningful life. But again, you have to make time for that. Moving forward in your career as a single parent requires extensive planning, especially if you have to arrange childcare and may need emotional or financial support from your friends and community. To start a new career, you must first determine your career goals and assess your current work situation to see what is missing. Next, determine your timeline for career progression and what you need to do next. 

If school is necessary, choose the best educational programme. After that, combine all the resources to smooth the experience. But you don’t want to advance your career at the expense of your personal well-being and family. When setting careers, set specific boundaries around your work life so it doesn’t interfere with your personal life. For example, you can set a final check-in and check-out time so you don’t have to work late at night.

Know when to put yourself first

As a working parent, it may feel like everybody – your boss, kids, or companion – needs something from you. On the other end, you’re an individual’s person, continually designating your time for everybody in your life but yourself will doubtlessly lead to burnout and negatively impact your mental health care. Instead, you must make time for yourself yet it can be difficult to know when to select yourself over others. A few may discover it inconceivable. In any case, the leading strategy is to distribute time for yourself and your needs a little each day. This might be waking up early to work out, thinking, or journaling. Once you prioritise yourself at the beginning of each day, you will discover you’ll meet your day-by-day requests way better as well. 

Here are a few steps to put yourself before others:.

Take a few minutes for yourself every day

Carving out a little time to unwind is easier said than done, yet it’s key to supporting your well-being across your lifespan. If parents don’t take care of themselves, they won’t be able to take care of their children. Daily self-care doesn’t have to involve a huge amount of time. They might take 15 minutes to take a walk alone or with their spouse, sit on the couch and read a magazine, or read something that will help him feel better. Incorporating small self-care activities every day will benefit you and your child.

Take a break and check in with yourself every day

Taking a short moment to reflect on yourself will help you better understand what parts of your life are going well, what needs attention, and what it takes to be successful. It helps you understand deeply. It’s important to find where there are opportunities to grow and improve, and we all have them.

Be mindful of what you commit to

As a parent, you want to try everything. Involving your kids in after-school and weekend enrichment opportunities, spending extra time at work to advance your career, keeping your home clean and tidy, the list goes on. But saying yes to too many activities and tasks can quickly lead to burnout. Children are very sensitive. If you’re constantly running around and feeling stressed out, they may likely have internalised that pressure, so it’s okay to say “no” to certain things. It’s worth modelling what it means to set boundaries for your children and yourself.

Don’t take adolescent behaviour personally

Why don’t they listen to me anymore? 

Why are they being so disrespectful? 

Why are they so moody? 

Sometimes teenagers’ behaviours can be a source of conflict and stress for parents. It can be helpful to remember that a lot of these behaviours, though unpleasant, are a normal part of development. For the first time in their lives, young people are trying to establish their own identities. They tend to seek advice from their peers rather than their parents, and from them they begin to realise that they are actually flawed people. It’s important to give them the space to do this.

Schedule regular talks with a spouse, partner, or someone close to you

Communication with a spouse or partner can frequently centre on household management rather than on thoughts and feelings. However, it’s important to check in with each other. Take some time for yourself regularly and talk to your spouse or partner about stressors in your life while making sure that your children are away from this conversation. These conversations can help ease the burden on both of you, thus ensuring consistent parenting and supporting stability for your family as a whole. Single parents also need counselling services. We encourage you to consider asking family and friends for support and contact your local or neighbourhood support group system.

Most importantly, don’t wait to seek help

Knowing when you need help and asking for it is a sign of emotional strength and wisdom. Professional behavioural health services can help parents who are struggling with conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as those who are suffering from burnout and stress. If you notice a pattern of behaviour that is negatively impacting your family, such as frequent tantrums or frequent withdrawal, it’s probably time to seek help, but don’t wait until the problem becomes that serious and it starts affecting the people you care about. Unfortunately, there remains a stigma when it comes to seeking mental health treatment. But the truth is that it can benefit everyone.

Final thoughts

Working parents can’t do everything they need to get things done and progress in their careers if they don’t manage their time properly. Without proper time management, it is impossible to nurture your mental health and spend the time you need with your family. Try the tips above to maximise your time and ensure the overall health of you and your family while maintaining career success.

Samantha Green, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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