Coronavirus has brought an individual set of challenges to each and every one of us, but the pressure it’s putting on our mental health seems to be universal.
Friends and family are struggling, understandably, with the anxiety and uncertainty of being in lockdown, the possibility of becoming ill and not being able to see and hug our loved ones.
It is, arguably, even more stressful for parents – between working from home, parenting and home-schooling, there is not a chance for a moment’s peace and the stress that puts us under is immense.
In the past, I've shared my own journey with mental health in the past, but what can we do to make sure our mental health does not suffer at this time?
I’ve asked some fellow parenting bloggers to share their thoughts:
Looking after your mental health
Gemma from The Work Life Blend: I’m making sure I’m getting enough sleep which is not easy with a 3year old and 6 year old! Sleep really affects my mental wellbeing so if I’m feeling wiped out I force myself to have an early night. I love curling up in bed with a good book before I drift off.
Leyla From Motherhood Diaries: I'm getting up an hour earlier than the children (I have three, one of whom is a baby) so I can get a head start on my work and just get that peace and quiet to have a coffee. It really helps before the madness starts around 8!
Nicole from Where the Heart Is: We are still doing our virtual therapy appointments.
Jo from a Red Tinted World: I’m sewing scrubs for the NHS. Just having a purpose and something to do really helps me.
It keeps me busy and makes me feel as though I am helping in a small way. I’m also growing lots of plants and find that very therapeutic.
Amy from All About A Mummy: I’ve been having a daily mind dump at the end of the day where I tell my husband what I’ve found challenging that day, what my worries are, what level my anxiety it is at and what I need to focus on the next day.
It’s really helping me to be mindful of how I am feeling and acknowledging and validating my feelings rather than just pushing the down and carrying on regardless.
Yvette from Uplifting and Inspiring Content: I practice mindfulness meditation twice a day.
Laura from Autumn’s Mummy: I've been making sure that I give myself a little project for each day. It helps keep me focused and keeps my mind busy.
It's just little things I've been meaning to get to for a while. For instance, tidying my bookshelf or having a good sort out of my wardrobe.
I know it would do my mental health no good to just lollop around all day (not that I really have the chance with a 3-year-old, to be fair!)
Kate from Refined Prose has given herself a project too: I hope, in turn, it will help others very soon...
I've worked really hard on producing a positivity journal, which includes colouring pages and a few little gifts and surprises!
My sample will be here any day and I can't wait to launch the product - it's been a labour of love!
Emma from Emma Reed.Net: I've been really enjoying having more time to spend with my husband.
We had become so distant what with work and commutes and him getting in so late - this time has given us time to reconnect.
It's funny how you may not notice the toll that real life can have. Talking, laughing, watching movies, eating dinner together, have all made me feel so much better and I no longer feel so alone in this parenting malarkey.
Ella from Typical Mummy: I've started drawing and colouring which is something I've never really done before.
It gives me time to focus on something just for me, helps me to relax and is really therapeutic.
Josie from Me, Them and the Others: Having a routine. If I just let the days blur together, I know I’d struggle and get depressed.
Having a routine keeps me motivated, gives me some normalcy and makes sure I have some time to relax too.
Looking after your physical health
Beth from Twinderelmo: I’m trying to eat better.
It’s hard being home 24/7 with so much temptation and unable to get food so easily, but I find when I have a good balanced diet I have more energy and feel better about myself.
I have a treat day once a week but then try to be good for the other 6 and it’s really working as I don’t feel so sluggish.
Kelly from Our Transitional Life: Following my body and its needs. So, simple things like taking a nap if I feel tired or drinking water if I'm thirsty.
It sounds silly, but some days I'll ignore those cues, and it's to my own detriment.
Vicki from Blossom Education: I am continuing to exercise. Endorphins make me happy and so I still do zumba classes.
Although they are online via zoom now, I do still feel a connection to my fellow classmates. It has really helped my mental health and wellbeing!
Hannah from Tilly Hobbs and Co agrees: I work out every morning before my little girl gets up and I can't tell you how much its helping to start my day on an even keel.
I am definitely still worn out by the time my husband gets home from work, but I have a good starting block
Don’t forget some ‘me time’ too
Kathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says: It’s not easy with three children but I’m making time to do yoga every day.
Some days it’s only 10-15 minutes, but other days 45 minutes or even an hour.
It’s helping me so much to start my days with some headspace and clarity and to feel grounded.
Tina from The Neary Diaries: Time for yourself even if it's a 30 min bath, eat what makes you happy and when it feels like it's all got too much sit down, close your eyes and remember it won't last forever.
Jennifer from Mighty Mumma Bear has this tip too: Making sure I have time to myself, which is difficult with three kids but also essential.
Whether it's just a long bath or a walk around the block on my own, I need that time on my own to recharge.
As does Raimonda from Cosmo Mum: I make sure I get some time on my own, just to have some headspace. For this, I go for a long walk with my dog daily just by myself.
And, finally, a tip from me: Go easy on yourself.
This is an incredibly hard time for all of us, do whatever you need to get through.
If you've enjoyed this blog please share it on social media and let me know what you're doing to look after your mental health.
And don't forget to check out my new series Working Parents on Lockdown: I've spoken to Mums and Dads about working from home while the kids are around.