6 tips to feel less depressed as a parent
Feeling in control of life can lead to more confidence, family happiness, and overall satisfaction. Here are 6 tips to help you manage your feelings.
Tip #1: Have a support system
Everyone has good days and bad days. This is normal, so have others around to help when bad days sneak up on you. Discuss your feelings with those you are close to so they can watch for the signs. Sharing feelings with others can be a challenge, but if they never know how you feel, they will never know if or when you need help. Having someone close that can see the signs that you need help can make all the difference in the world.
Tip #2: Know what you want to get out of your day
So many things need to be done in a day, but what will give you a sense of accomplishment? Choose one or two small (but meaningful) things you would like to complete for the day. Something as simple as taking the kids to the park for family time, or washing all the dishes can help you feel like you made a difference without doing every possible thing. If you still have some time and energy, choose one or two more. At the end of the day, focus on what you got done and not what you didn't.
Tip #3: Take time for you
We've heard it many times, if mom or dad isn't happy, no one is happy. This is very true, but it can work the other way, as well. If mom or dad are happy, then happiness comes easier to everyone else. If you need to take 5 or 10 minutes to calm down and reset your feelings, that's OK. The time you spend helping yourself calm down will pay much larger dividends than charging through everything with a bad attitude. This is no guarantee that kids will behave perfectly, but at least you will be able to handle the situation better. Kids can sense if something is wrong, but they can also feel love and kindness.
Tip #4: Make time for a family meal
If nothing else can bring your entire family together, at least sit down for a meal. Keep in mind that the meal doesn't have to be elaborate, homemade or even at home. Discussing the events of the day, over a meal, and what events are coming up can help reduce miscommunication. Everyone will be there and know what is going on. Having everyone on the same page can help reduce stress and rushing at the last second.
Tip #5: Have fun
Laughing is good for a person. Play with your kids and make time occasionally for special family activities. You can even make cleaning the house a fun family activity by cleaning for 15-20 minutes and then playing a game together. Cleaning the house doesn't have to be solely mom or dad's job. Another fun idea is to let the kids be in charge and decide what each person does. This also teaches kids qualities that will last a lifetime.
Tip #6: Get plenty of rest
If anything comes to mind before bed, write it down. This will help sleep come easier because you won't be worried about forgetting something tomorrow. Sometimes just writing it down can make it easier to remember, but then you also know the idea will be there in the morning. Don't be afraid to let some things go unfinished. Finishing that last bit of cleaning will not make much of a difference if you are too tired to keep up tomorrow.
Everyone has feelings of inadequacy from time to time. This simply means we are human. These tips are not all-inclusive and what works for some may not work others. Oftentimes, talking about your feelings can be the most effective way to discover what works for you. Life as a parent is extremely rewarding, despite all the ups and downs.
Scott is married with 3 children and writes for the Prepare Me Daily blog at www.preparemedaily.com.