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Parent Wellbeing

Let’s take some time out to talk about your wellbeing and how to keep it on track.

Happy family sitting around a table

It’s just not your child that you have to look after!

An important part of being a parent is looking after yourself too

Parenting is a demanding job and takes a lot of physical and emotional energy.

It can be easy to lose sight of the importance of looking after yourself. If you’re tired, stressed or exhausted, it’s difficult to be the parent that you’re striving to be.

But when you feel happy and well you’re better able to cope with stress, maintain relationships and enjoy parenthood.

Wellbeing is more than just physical health - it involves your emotional, social and mental health too!

It’s the overall satisfaction you feel about yourself and your life – which can go up and down depending on what’s happening in your life. Good wellbeing can include:

  • Feeling able to cope with daily stresses
  • Having a sense of purpose and generally enjoying life
  • Feeling able to manage negative emotions
  • Feeling connected to your community
  • Having supportive relationships
  • Being able to do and enjoy things that are important to you

 

Take time to reflect on your own wellbeing

Thinking about these questions might help you figure out what area you need to focus on, or give you some ideas on how to improve your wellbeing. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have someone I can talk to about my feelings, thoughts and experiences?
  • Do I do things that I enjoy or make me feel good?
  • Do I spend time with people outside of my immediate family?
  • Do I get regular physical activity?
  • Do I feel hopeful about tomorrow?
  • Do I make time for distractions and fun?
  • Do I set aside regular time for relaxation and activities that I enjoy?
  • Do I eat regular and healthy meals?
  • Do I get enough sleep?
  • Do I get breaks from my daily responsibilities?
  • Do I feel happy and content with my life most of the time?
  • Do I think clearly and feel that I can work through any problems?

"Remember, you’re a person as well as a parent. Your needs are important too! Take time out to look after your wellbeing and your whole family will benefit."

– Sky, Parentline Counsellor

Take small steps to improve your wellbeing

Looking after yourself doesn’t need to take up a lot of time or involve big changes. You can:

Reach out for support

Plan time to yourself

Don’t be hard on yourself

Remember that tough phases pass

Build supportive relationships

Do things that you enjoy or find relaxing

Avoid expecting too much of yourself

Take any opportunity to get some rest

Don’t compare yourself to other parents

Socialise – join a parenting support group

Say ‘yes’ when someone offers you support

Ask for help – you don’t have to do it alone

Go for a short walk everyday with your child

Reward yourself and plan things to look forward to

Talk about how you feel with family and friends

Eat regular, healthy meals and exercise regularly

Enjoy time with your child - notice what’s special about them    

Value yourself and the job you are doing as a parent

"While you might be a super-parent, you’re not super-human! Your physical and emotional health has limits and if you don’t take care of yourself you could develop mental and physical health problems."

- Sky, Parentline Counsellor

Noticing when you’re not coping

There are times when we all struggle and find it hard to cope.  But when bad days become bad weeks, it’s important to seek help - especially if you’re no longer ‘feeling yourself’.

Many parents experience the symptoms of postnatal depression, depression or anxiety.

If you identify with any of the following, seek help as soon as you can from your local doctor or mental health professional:

 

  • You find it hard to manage from day to day
  • You’ve been feeling sad, hopeless, worried or anxious for a while
  • You’ve noticed changes in your eating, sleeping and energy levels
  • You find yourself having negative or unwanted thoughts

It’s OK to seek support

You’re not alone. There are a lot of supports and services to help you look after your wellbeing.

Looking after yourself is the opposite of selfish

It’s important to look after your own physical, emotional and mental health so that you can be there for your family.

This content was last reviewed 18/05/2018

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