A day in the life of a parent can be intense, wonderful, difficult (sometimes downright impossible), awesome and frustrating. All while being sleep deprived! Now imagine everything that typical moms and dads experience daily, and then add depression and/or anxiety to the mix. It can make it all completely and utterly overwhelming.
Here are a few of my own tips and tricks that have helped me come out ahead of my depression and anxiety, while raising my son as a stay at home mom.
Related: Early Signs of Depression In Women
Parenting Through Depression and Anxiety
- Support and treatment
Whether it be regular check-ins with your doctor; deciding to take medication; appointments with a therapist; or chatting with friends or family: having support if you don’t feel like yourself is so, so, SO important. Pretending everything is OK and internalizing your feelings will most definitely make you feel worse. I see my doctor every three of four months, to follow up with how I’m feeling and to make sure that I’m on the right medication and the proper dosage. These regular visits have been instrumental in my treatment. Having a supportive family has also helped me tremendously.
- Being as active as possible
Be it going to the park with your kids; taking a family bike ride; strapping the kids into the stroller and walking around the neighborhood; or finding time to go to the gym, physical activity is essential. You don’t need to train for a marathon; you just need to move! As for myself, on most days of the week, I exercise at home while my babysitter (Kid’s CBC) keeps my son entertained. That thirty or forty minutes that I can sneak away help make me feel great, which definitely makes me a better mom.
This one is obviously easier said than done, especially if you stay at home with your kids. I used to try to do as much as possible when my son napped: coming up with different home cooked meals; scrubbing the house; etc. Not only did this lead me to me feeling even more exhausted and overwhelmed, but it also made me feel resentful that I was doing so much. Definitely not good for anyone! Now, I try to put my feet up when (if!!) my son naps; or I pick up a book when he’s completely engrossed in building Lego, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Once in a while, my mom will babysit while I enjoy a bit of rest – and I literally do nothing but lie on the couch and watch Netflix and the Food Network. Finding the time to take it easy is hard, and those moments are few and far between. But when they present themselves, I seize them for all they’re worth!
- Let it go
Let go of whatever you can that is detrimental to you, whatever it might be. It’s freeing to get rid of things in your life that detract from your overall wellbeing. Trust me: once I made a conscious effort to stop my negative self-talk, I felt lighter and happier.
As parents, we often feel as though we should do it all. But please believe me when I tell you that it’s just not possible, especially if you’re battling a mood disorder. Reach out and ask for help, as difficult as it might be – you’ll be so glad you did. And you will definitely be a better parent as a result.