Mental wellbeing for working moms: How to find the right balance
Mothers have many different responsibilities, and finding a balance between them can feel like an impossible task. However, without a healthy balance, your mental wellbeing can suffer.
From taking care of the kids and staying on top of the housework to keeping in touch with friends and family and remaining successful at work, it can be difficult to give 100% to everything you do and not struggle with your mental health as a result. Consequently, many working moms find themselves asking whether striking a healthy balance really is possible.
In this article, we will be sharing how you can find a balance in your life and enjoy better mental wellbeing. If you try the suggestions in this article and are still struggling, it may be that you need to speak to your employer about your workload or working hours. A Worcester employment lawyer will be able to help you if you believe you may have been treated unfairly.
What is mental wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing is a term that is often confused with mental health. While the two share a lot of similarities, they are different. According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
As you can see, mental health and mental wellbeing are very closely linked. If you struggle with low mental wellbeing over an extended period of time, you may be more vulnerable to mental health struggles.
As the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states, “when the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted.” And this is certainly true for mothers who tend to work long hours, carry a lot of responsibilities, and experience a lot of different stressors and pressures.
Is your mental wellbeing suffering?
Mental health and wellbeing struggles can affect mothers of all different ages and life stages. Some mothers may experience declining mental wellbeing due to symptoms of postpartum depression, which can occur within the first two years after giving birth. While others may be experiencing burnout, chronic stress, or anxiety as a result of life’s many pressures.
For many mothers, life can be so hectic and busy that they don’t even consider whether their mental wellbeing is suffering. However, neglecting to check in on yourself, and whether you might need help and support, can cause your mental wellbeing to worsen, leading to serious mental health problems.
As such, it is important to look after your mental wellbeing and take action as soon as you notice signs of trouble. Below are some of the most common signs your mental wellbeing is suffering:
- You find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand
- You are increasingly forgetful
- You experience regular and ongoing fatigue
- Your mood is often irritable or low
- You have less interest in the things you once enjoyed
- You become easily overwhelmed
- You are experiencing excessive anxiety or fear
- You find yourself avoiding social situations
- You are experiencing a decline in your physical health
You must be aware of any changes in yourself, whether physically or emotionally, as the sooner you can recognize a problem, the sooner you can seek the help you need.
Five ways you can find the right balance
As a mom, finding a healthy work-life balance can be extremely challenging. However, it definitely is not impossible. Below we share five ways you can achieve balance as a mom and enjoy improvements in your mental health and wellbeing.
1) Stick to a schedule
How do you know to take time out for yourself? You schedule it in. Just like you never forget to take the kids to school, cook dinner in the evening, or walk the dog after work, there are routines you can create in your life that help you schedule your time more effectively.
Having a schedule helps you tackle each day with a renewed sense of purpose. By working to a schedule, you know where you have to be when and you can more easily make time throughout your day to rest or enjoy some time to yourself.
Sure, it might mean a five minute breather between meetings or a two minute wait in the car before rushing into school to pick-up your kids. But when you schedule your time, you will discover those little moments in the day that you can seize for yourself.
This will help give you a sense of control over your week and will also help ensure you don’t overload your calendar with too many commitments.
2) Prioritize healthy eating
Okay, so this point is easier said than done. However, what you eat has a direct impact not only on your physical health but also on your mental wellbeing. In fact, according to Mental Health America, good nutrition can help at times of stress […] nearly half of Americans overeat or eat unhealthy food to cope with stress […] if you follow some reasonable guidelines you may be able to reduce your stress and promote your overall health and well-being.”
If you literally can’t find the time to cook nutritionally well-balanced meals every day, consider how you can incorporate that nutrition into your diet throughout the day. You could buy healthy snacks in the supermarket, say no to takeaways or diet fads, and concentrate on fresh produce that will help sustain your energy rather than deplete it. The better you eat, the better you will feel.
3) Take time out
Too many mothers are trying to balance their home lives, relationships, and professional lives and many are experiencing burnout as a result. Taking time out for yourself is imperative to protecting your mental health and wellbeing. Sure, it might sound a little cliche but scheduling in some “me” time is one of the best ways to rest and reset.
Ask to take some time off work or ring a friend to come round and babysit for a few hours while you soak in the tub or go for a long walk. There are many ways to take time out and sometimes just half an hour is all you need to feel human again.
4) Get off social media
You don’t have to quit it completely if that feels too extreme. However, reducing your social media usage can be a great way to protect your mental wellbeing. Social media is a leading cause of mental health problems and has associations with poor sleep quality, depression, and anxiety. And many mothers feel its effects profoundly.
Social media is a breeding ground for mental health struggles and negative comparisons, from the images of beautiful, slim models who ‘bounced back’ after giving birth to the Instagram Influencers with eight kids who seem to ‘have it all’. If you want to protect your mental wellbeing and find a positive balance in your life, taking a break from social media can be extremely freeing.
5) Accept your imperfections
No, we’re not talking about that beauty spot on your upper lip or the cellulite on your thighs (although it’s great to accept those imperfections, too!) We are talking about the desire to have a perfectly clean, tidy house all week long, an empty washing basket, polite children that never shout or argue, and clutter-free life. If only our lives were perfect, things would be so much easier. It’s fair to say we have all thought this at some point or other in our lives.
The problem arises when you start to sacrifice your personal health just to ensure your home is always clean, your work is always finished, and your children are always in bed at exactly the same time each night. But this simply isn’t realistic and it is both physically and mentally exhausting.
The best thing you can do is accept your imperfections. There will be days (or even weeks) when your house looks like an absolute mess, your kids’ bedtimes are all over the place, and you are overloaded with projects at work. The best thing you can do is take everything one day at a time. Hopefully, with the tips we have shared above, your life will soon become a little bit more manageable.
Find a balance that works for you
Becoming a mother is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences you will ever have. We hope the advice in this article will help you embrace the challenges of motherhood and strike a balance that works for your family.
Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk