Here are five tips you can practice every day to take care of your mental health so you can be your best self.
Raising children is a full-time job and sometimes, parents give their all to their families and put themselves second. However, we need to take care of ourselves so we can be healthy, happy, and present for our kids and partner.
The experts have done the math for us! The 4:7:8 breathing exercise truly works to calm our bodies down. You quietly breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, then hold your breath for a count of 7, and lastly breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8. The numbers are important and those extra seconds are worth it! Help your body regulate so that you can tackle whatever is in front of you with a clearer mind! Bonus tip: I like to visualize colors with my breaths –I breathe in colors that I crave (e.g. pink for positivity, green for energy, blue for calm, etc.) and I breathe out colors that I want to let go (e.g. red for negativity, etc.).
It is easy to get bogged down in the clutter and chaos of today’s world. Sometimes, the best thing to do is focus on the here and now. My absolute favorite place to focus on and in is nature. Step outside and check in on your senses –what do you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel? Nature is deemed as the perfect sensory environment for all of us; it is much harder for us (children too!) to get overwhelmed or underwhelmed outdoors.
Hang with the helpers
It is so important to surround ourselves with people who help to lift us up. Whether it’s through a phone call, a playdate with a parent buddy, or a workout class with your favorite instructor –choose to spend more time around the people who help your spirit. And if there are people in your life who tend to bring you down, it is okay to set a boundary and create some distance. Remember, it is much easier to help others when we help ourselves first!
We can retrain our minds to think more positively by simply practicing! When you feel yourself slip into a negative thought, try to stop it in its tracks and switch gears. The simplest silver lining thought makes a huge difference in helping our minds stay on the bright & light and steer clear of the dark & heavy. My go-to gear switch is to work on my gratitude when I feel myself slip into negative thinking. Focusing on all of the incredible things in my life that I am thankful for always keeps my spirits up!
We have a much easier time keeping our minds strong when we do the same for our bodies. Find out what makes your body feel strong and do that. I love yoga and drinking my vegetables in a big green smoothie, so those are things that I try to do daily. I also love wearing jeans and making my hair look great so I try to do that daily also. If you love to run, then do it daily. If putting on makeup makes you feel like Wonder Woman, then do it daily. You know what makes you feel incredible, now you just have to prioritize it!
Molly Dresner is a Speech Language Pathologist based in New York City.
She recently authored The Speech Teacher’s Handbook, an engaging parent guide that includes practical and easy-to-follow tips and activities to help you help your little one!