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.
Related: Natural Remedies for Depression in Women
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.
17 thoughts on “Tips for Parenting Through The Worst of Your Depression & Anxiety”
Thank you for this. I deal with what I call some serious anxiety. I hate it but I know that it doesn’t make who I am. I didn’t.. I guess realize how much harder my anxiety would get after having my baby ((hat is now 2). Had I know I may have taken birth control more seriously. But at the end of the day that doesn’t even matter because my Bella is the best thing about me. She makes me a better person and it is not her fault I have anxiety. I had it way before she was even conceived. I have moments when I break down and feel this is not ok. You get so caught up thinking your the only one going through this you forget others are going through it too. Thank you deeply for this advice! It helps knowing there’s help!
Hi there! I m a mom of twins. And i have a similar story as you. I had anxiety from much before I got conceived. And birth of my boys made it even worse..but I can’t blame my kids..they are the best thing to have happened to me.. now I am dealing with both anxiety and depression..when I come across someone who is going through the same and dealing it with courage it inspires me and makes me feel better thank you!
I still struggle with depression, anxiety, sleeping disorder.. My son is 2 now. I moved in with my partnerwhen he was a few months old and recently again as my relationship with the father came to an end. It helps to tell myself it’s normal that I’m having a hard time with all this going on, instead of expecting to be able to handle it all graciously, to be in control. Indeed to be compassionate with myself. My tip: Look at your emtions and (negative) thoughts with as much compassion as you can, and from a little distance, as if you are the one carrying all of these thoughts and emotions, as if you are the one embracing them, giving them permission and space. This way you are making room for awarenes and healing and at the same time feel stronger, because you are the one embracing it, instead of the one suffering from it.
I’ve been really down in a dumps lately and I figured I neeed to move. I already inquired at the local gym and will start next week. I’m sure exercise every other day will really make me a better mom.
Peachy, it can definitely help you feel better – but it takes time. Exercise and practicing being kind to yourself is a great combo. I hope you feel better soon,.
Parents who are experiencing depression and anxiety are so brave and admirable. These are helpful tips and I think it’s definitely going to help them.
It is hard to control parenting anxiety. I remember a friend of mine when she starting to wean her little one, she experienced parenting anxiety while his daughter showed independence.
i never dealt with depression or anxiety until i had my son and developed an extreme case of baby blues. i know how hard it was just to get through the day and admire those who live with the struggle.
I have not experienced it myself, but it has happened to my sister and my niece. I try to be as supportive as I can. It is definitely not easy and if you are in this situation it is important to get guidance.
Thanks for this tips it’s so hard to deal with depression and I think being active help too
These are some really good strategies. I can imagine that it takes a lot of willpower to parent with depression.
I admire parents who go through depression and anxiety and are still able to raise their kids the right way. I have never encountered any and I feel very fortunate.
Depression and anxiety can make day-to-day a struggle, especially when you have little ones to care for. I admire you for sharing your story. Staying active really does help, so does treating yourself with kindness.
Being active definitely helps boost the endorphins Thinks for all the great tips.
Can be hard when you’re not feeling yourself. Get the help that you need and just sit back and enjoy your life is much as you can. Watch the joy of your children as they play.
If i had depression and anxiety, I wouldn’t have become a parent. I can’t even imagine how hard that is.
These are great tips. Thank you for writing and sharing your story! I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks and have found that all of your suggestions have helped me manage parenting with anxiety.