Alan Price from Bright HR has some advice on how parents can take care of their mental health by finding time for themselves and building a support group.
For working parents juggling a full-time career while raising a family can be tough on your wellbeing. With Parent Mental Health Day taking place last weekend, here are some tips to protect your mental health as a parent.
Parent Mental Health Day took place on Saturday 27th of January 2024. It was originally started by stem4, a charity that helps young people build positive mental health in the UK. The organisation developed the day to give parents and caregivers an outlet to acknowledge and discuss their stresses and struggles.
It serves as an opportunity to open up a dialogue for carers and parents alike about proven methods for boosting mental health as a working parent. Here are some suggestions for the best ways to do so.
Working parents make up 43% of the UK’s workforce, but it’s easy to feel like you’re fighting the work-life balance battle alone.
Being a parent can sometimes feel like a full-time job in itself. And as a busy parent, it’s easy to focus what little time you may have in your schedule on the health and wellbeing of your kids. Finding time to do something for yourself whether it’s your fitness routine or seeing friends when you can is crucial to maintaining a positive balance and can help you protect your mental health.
Parenting lesson number one is to put your children first, but it’s equally important not to neglect your own needs for your sake but also the sake of your relationship with your kids. Carving out time to do the things you love to do will allow you to be fully present and in a better frame of mind when you do spend time with your family.
82% of parents and carers surveyed by charity stem4 said that the pressure of being a parent often leaves them feeling overwhelmed, lonely, isolated, and disconnected from friends, family and even work colleagues.
It’s easy to distance yourself or shut down emotionally when you’re overwhelmed or stressed, but talking to people about how you feel is the healthiest way to face your problems. You might be surprised to find fellow working parents feeling a similar way to you. They might even have some tips they use to help them cope that you can implement into your own routine.
Speaking of routines, if you’re somebody who finds comfort in having a set schedule this can ease some working parent stress. Not all routines always go according to plan, but you can start small and build healthy habits into your routine like getting outside more with your kids. Or, finding spare time to do the things you love during tasks or responsibilities you have to keep on top of like household chores, so they don’t feel as daunting. For example, listening to music or podcasts while you clean or cook or pick up the kids.
We know that when it comes to parenting sometimes pride and not wanting to admit we’re struggling can get in the way of seeking support from friends and family.
That’s why having access to impartial advice, be that through your healthcare provider or employee assistance or counselling programme at work can be invaluable.
Being a working parent is a second and often underappreciated job that comes with as many rewards as it does challenges.
While the rewards of having a family certainly outweigh the challenges it can be easy to get overwhelmed at times. That’s why prioritising your needs when you can and protecting your mental health as a parent is a must.
The first step can be as simple as building a reliable and healthy support system of friends and family, having a solid routine, or finding someone to speak to when things get overwhelming.
*Alan Price is CEO of Bright HR.