Mental Health Guide for Parents 2024: Ways to Take Care of Both Yourself & Your Children in the New Year

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"Mental health strategies are just as important for kids as they are for adults, and it’s never too early to learn."
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Mental Health Guide for Parents

According to the CDC, 1 in 14 children has a parent or caregiver with poor mental health.1 This is a serious issue for both parents and children as their mental health is strongly interconnected.

Choosing to prioritize your well-being amidst parenting can be a challenge, but it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. In our guide to mental health for parents, find out how to foster resilience as a parent, why you should explore mindfulness for kids and adults, and how to set healthy boundaries for more balance.

Parental Self-Care 2024: Prioritizing Your Well-being Amidst Parenting

Parenting is a rewarding journey, but its demands can often feel overwhelming, leaving parents neglecting their own well-being. This year, prioritize self-care by incorporating the following practices into your life: 

  • Make time for you and your partner: Studies show parents share less time together than nonparents.2 This is unfortunate because the more shared time a couple spends together, the better their marital stability and overall happiness. In the hustle and bustle of parenting life, be sure to carve out sacred time for you and your partner; it not only improves your quality of life but also gives your children a glimpse into what a healthy relationship looks like.
  • Make time for yourself: Whether you choose to spend alone time soaking in a tub, getting a massage at a nearby spa, swinging your paddle at the pickleball court, or just sleeping, be sure you guard this time as a necessary part of your day. You have a life and interests outside of your role as a parent and you must nurture this part of yourself to maintain your mental health.
  • Exercise: People who regularly exercise have better mental health and emotional well-being, as well as lower rates of mental illness, compared to those who don’t. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to work some activity into your day–even taking a break for a quick walk around the block can make a significant difference in how you feel. Even more, studies show that when parents and children exercise together, children are less likely to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety and they are more social.3
  • Follow a healthy diet: When life gets busy, it’s tempting to opt for the drive-thru window or skip meals altogether. While an occasional indulgence is no cause for concern, when your diet is consistently devoid of essential vitamins and minerals, it can take a massive toll on your mental health. Be sure you follow a well-balanced diet and try not to rush through the experience.
  • Get adequate sleep: Sleep deficiency is connected to higher rates of depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and try not to drink caffeine or watch screens before bed, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

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Fostering Resilient Mental Health as a Parent

Resilience refers to the ability to adapt to life’s unexpected setbacks and challenges. Sometimes, our journey as parents doesn’t go according to plan. Job losses, divorces, illnesses, natural disasters and other events can significantly impact your mental health and that of your children. Some ways to foster resilience in the midst of such challenges include:

  • Talking to a therapist
  • Growing your social support system
  • Ensuring you’re nurturing your body on the most basic level: getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, drinking enough water, etc.
  • Journaling about current problems as well as past problems that you’ve already overcome to analyze your coping strategies and see where there’s room for improvement
  • Being proactive; you don’t have to wait until chaos ensues to start building coping skills and strategies to deal with unexpected stress

In some cases, mental health issues like chronic stress and anxiety may be improved with medication. If you feel like you could use more support, consider taking Brillia, a non-prescription medication that reduces feelings like anxiousness, irritability, and restlessness without harsh chemicals or harmful side effects. Brillia consists of antibodies to the S100B protein, a key regulator of numerous cellular processes, including mood stabilization. Brillia gently and impactfully reduces the brain chemicals causing stress and anxiety so you feel calmer, clearer, and more empowered to handle life’s stressors with ease. Learn more about how Brillia works.

How to Integrate Mindful Living & Wellness Practices into Daily Life with Kids

Mindfulness offers a range of benefits that extend beyond personal well-being to positively impact the entire family unit. If you’re thinking to yourself, “There’s no way my child can sit quietly in meditation,” don’t fret. Meditation is just one mindfulness practice. 

Mindfulness itself is the ability to be fully aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Teaching your child to root themselves in the present moment and becoming more mindful (while showing them how), you are giving them a tool they can use throughout the rest of their lives to better regulate their emotions, reduce stress, and simply be happier. To make mindfulness a habit that sticks, try the following practices:

  • Remove all devices from the dinner table so you and your children can be present with each other and further enjoy the experience of eating
  • Before getting the kids up and ready for school, take a few minutes to jot down in a journal what you’re feeling and what you hope to accomplish in the day (and buy your child a journal for their own listmaking) 
  • Carve out time for seated meditation, even if it’s just a quick 5-minute session
  • Take a nature walk after dinner, even if the only nature you see are the trees lining your block
  • Download a mindfulness app for guided meditations, relaxing music, and other exercises 
  • Before heading into work, sit quietly in your car (if you commute) and practice deep breathing to transition from home mode to work mode

Cultivating Mental Health Strategies for Kids

Mental health strategies are just as important for kids as they are for adults, and it’s never too early to learn. Some strategies to share with your child include:

  • Labeling their feelings and talking openly without judgment
  • Establishing a routine so your child feels a sense of safety and predictability at home
  • Sharing mindfulness practices with them like journaling, breathing exercises, and yes, even meditation 
  • Limiting how much “bad” news they see; it’s important for them to know what’s going on in the world but be sure it’s suitable to their age level and that you’re ready for difficult conversations
  • Controlling their screen time; too much of it has been known to exacerbate anxiety and stress
  • Making sure they’re getting enough exercise, even if it’s just running and climbing at the park or playing a team sport
  • Considering talking to a therapist if you feel like they could use guidance from a professional

Ensuring your child is leading a healthy lifestyle sets the foundation for your child’s mental health. If you need more support, Brillia for Children & Teens can help reduce stress, anxiety, poor focus, and impulsivity in kids ages 5-18. Like the adult version, Brillia for Children will not cause harmful side effects or mask your child’s personality in any way. It simply provides support to help your child feel calmer and more focused while learning the tools and skills necessary to thrive as an adult.  

If you think Brillia could be helpful for more than one family member, take advantage of our family savings. Enjoy a 20% discount when purchasing two or more three-month bundles, regardless of the product or dosage. Upon adding bundles to your cart, your discount code will be displayed on the cart page for easy application during checkout. If Brillia has proven beneficial for your family, reach out to our customer care team to explore exclusive offers available for multiple bundle subscriptions.

Setting Healthy Family Boundaries for More Balance

One of the key elements in prioritizing well-being for your family is establishing healthy boundaries. Parents often find themselves immersed in the constant demands of parenting and work, leaving little time for self-care, family dinners, family play time, and other important moments of self-preservation and connection. 

Setting boundaries involves recognizing the need for personal time and family time and creating boundaries that protect these parts of your life. Whether it's designating a specific time for personal and family activities or establishing limits on work-related commitments, clear boundaries create space for well-being.

Explore more tips and resources on mental health and parenting at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/mental-health-children-and-parents.html, 2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712716/, 3https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032723000071
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