The importance of self-care for positive mental health

Here at Kensington Mums we always emphasise the importance of self care, and making time for us as we always lead such busy lives.

We are happy to share today’s article with you by Dr Maryhan baker on the importance of self care.

Over to Maryhan…

Having just come back from a week long yoga retreat, taken during my children’s term-time, it can be safely said that I take self-care very seriously. It’s something I talk about regularly both in person and social media, not because it’s topical this month; but because I genuinely believe it’s the best and only way we can truly give of our best to our children and our loved ones. Mothers typically set the emotional barometer in their household, and if they are stressed out, strung-out, unfulfilled, tired, and feeling undervalued then this seeps into the fabric of the household in the form of emotional contagion. If you’re unhappy then your children will be too. You find yourself flying off the handle for no reason, feeling constantly exhausted, and wondering / wishing things were different.

I know a lot of you reading this will be thinking you get the reasons why it’s important but there simply isn’t time, the logistics are too difficult, you are a single parent, or I’m living in cloud cuckoo land if I think you can genuinely find some you-time in each day.

All I ask is that you reserve judgement until you have tried one of these tips first.

Top 5 tips to have some me time everyday

  1. Block-out 30 minutes a day for yourself. You can do this by getting up 30 minutes earlier, going to bed 30 minutes later, or choosing another time during the day. Let everyone in the family know this is your time to do something for you and don’t let it become a time to do chores, write lists, or make phone calls to sort out family things. Use this time to read a book, research a course you want to go on, take a long bath, go for a walk, go to an exercise class, …….
  2. Write a daily gratitude journal. The evidence is compelling; writing down 3 things you are grateful for each day helps increase happiness, reduces the risks of mental health issues, and promotes a positive sense of wellbeing. It also helps to reframe your day so the focus is placed on the little things which enhanced your day rather than the things which didn’t quite get done, or didn’t go according to plan.
  3. Make sleep a priority. Make sure you are getting a regular 7-8 hours sleep each night. Make your room a haven for sleep so take out technology and devices so you can ease yourself into a comfortable sleep. You could even write your gratitude journal just before you go to sleep!
  4. Find and connect regularly with your tribe. Parenting is hard without an extended group of friends who you can turn to for support when things become challenging. Investing in these friendships is key for your long term happiness and positive mental health.
  5. Get out into nature regularly. You don’t need to start running, or even drive out to the countryside; you just need to get some fresh air in your lungs at least 3-4 times a week. You’ll find it helps clear your head and gets restores your energy and creativity.  So maybe talk instead of driving when you can, or commit to talking a 20-minute walk every other day.

This article is sponsored by Dr Maryhan Baker, an experienced parenting coach and psychologist. You can read more of her articles here.