Sometimes, it’s hard for me to recognize myself. I am an entirely different person to who I was before I became a parent. I have a short temper now, get agitated easily and very often catch myself losing my cool with my children. After all, so much of my time now is spent feeding, bathing, refereeing, running after my children, often when I’m hungry, tired and sleepy myself. But, I know that for the sake of my own mental health and to strengthen my relationship with my children, I will need to actively take steps on becoming a calmer and happier parent. Here are some effective strategies I am going to use:
Being more present in the moment
Many times, the source of our anxiety, depression or sadness is from either thinking about what went wrong in the past or worrying about the future. These could even be small things such as ‘having to clean up spills after dinner’ or ‘worrying about what your neighbors at the park thought when your child had a full-blown tantrum.’ All these extra thoughts don’t let us be happy so, it’s vital to stay present in the moment and appreciate all the amazing big and small things happening RIGHT NOW.
Starting a gratitude journal
Counting your blessings is no doubt the most potent way to increase your happiness and remind you to be thankful for what you have and who you are in the present. By starting a gratitude journal, in which you write down all that you are thankful for on a daily basis, you will experience less stress, increased happiness and better mental and physical health. Expressing your gratitude is a wonderful way to draw attention to the positive aspects to your life.
Spend quality time with your children
Find several opportunities throughout the day to strengthen the relationship with your children by spending one-on-one quality time with them. The activities can be simple as reading or watching a TV show together but, it will have a huge impact on your children’s happiness and in turn yours as well. Just stop and get to know your children, enjoy their company and see how much better you start feeling.
This one you have probably heard many times before but, we all need reminders sometimes. Exercise is beneficial for both our physical and mental health and an adequate amount of physical activity in a day can really improve your mood and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even twenty minutes a day a few times a week can be a great mood booster.
Work towards your goals
Just because you’re a parent now doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own hobbies or goals that you are working towards. Besides, being a parent, you are also an individual who seeks feelings of accomplishment and self-worth. Think of things that matter to you and then take some out daily to do just that. It could be anything from reading, gardening, volunteering at the nearest charity or taking a short course. When you set goals and get things done, you are bound to feel great about yourself.