We’ve all heard the saying, “Put on your own oxygen mask first”. The idea is that you can’t help others when you yourself are struggling.
It may be a cliché, but there is a lot of truth to that statement. And when it comes to your children, it is a win-win for you to take care of your own mental health first and foremost. Not only will you be in better shape to help your child when they are struggling, but they will see and absorb the things that you do to keep yourself mentally sound.
Tell your child that you’re taking a time-out for a few minutes before you make dinner. They will start to understand that a “time-out” isn’t necessarily a punishment, but an opportunity to regroup.
Go on hikes or to a swim class with your child. Teach them at a young age that exercise can be fun, and makes you feel energized and happy.
Share your love of reading with your child. Read together, or if you need some quiet time once in a while, go to the library or a bookstore, then go home and read. Your child will learn that reading is not only for school and education, but a way to relax.
Prepare healthy, nourishing meals (maybe not every day, but sometimes!) and let your child help you. They will learn that cooking can be fun, and healthy food can be comforting.
Anxiety is a part of life, for adults and children alike. It’s pretty much unavoidable (for most of us), but it doesn’t need to lead to a meltdown or more serious mental health challenges down the line. It is possible to use your own and your child’s anxiety as an opportunity for growth.
Managing and overcoming stress and anxiety is one of the most important things we can learn and teach our children.