Life can be difficult, but parent life can be on another level. Balancing family, friends, work, money and your own wellbeing can be hard.

We all have mental health, it’s just as important to take care of it as it is to look after our physical health. If our mental health is good it means we can think, feel and react in the ways we need to in order to cope with day to day life. But sometimes we think, feel and react in ways that make it hard to cope. Everyone feels stressed, anxious, emotional or overwhelmed at times, but it’s important to make sure that feeling this way sometimes doesn’t become all the time.

Here are some tips for looking after your mental health and getting support. There is lots of help out there, so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to access it.

Cut yourself some slack

Being a parent is a tough job and sometimes it can feel as if everyone else is finding it so much easier than you are. But here’s the thing, they’re not. So instead of worrying about the things you haven’t done, try giving yourself a huge pat on the back for all the things you have achieved. At the end of the day it can help to make a list of three things about the day that have been to remind you of what a great job you’re doing.

Going for a walk

Did you know that the sound of bird song can actually help calm anxiety? So just for once, head out for a short walk and listen to the sights and sounds around you instead. Not only this, walking is one of the best forms of exercise and its free.

Staying connected

If you’re feeling a bit low, there’s nothing like a good natter with a friend to lift the spirits. Remember to stay connected with friends and family.

Parenting can be a lonely experience. You may feel like you're the only one who's ever had to deal with the challenges of raising children. But it's important to remember that you're not alone. There are other parents out there who are going through the same thing.

Staying connected with other adults can help you to feel supported, less isolated, and more fulfilled as a parent.

Use our session finder to find parenting courses and classes.

Try some relaxation exercises

If you’re feeling tense, spending a few minutes a day doing some relaxation exercises may help. The mental health foundations podcast has lots of ideas you can try, including breathing techniques and mindfulness and meditation exercises. Relaxing and being mindful can help you focus on the present, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Find out more

Do something you love

Remember that time before you had kids, when you could do things like read, play music, go to the gym, spend time with your partner or even just watch a TV programme that isn’t aimed at a toddler.

Try and carve out a bit of time each week to rekindle those lost interests and do something you love. Not only will concentrating on something different help you de-stress but having some you time can help raise your self-esteem.

There is more advice here by following the 5 ways to well being.

Dealing with anxiety or panic

It’s normal to feel anxious or panicky from time to time, particularly in the face of threat or danger. But if these feelings stay with you when the threat has passed and are getting in the way of your everyday life, there are lots of things you can do that will help. For more advice and support visit the NHS website.

Coping with stress

As a parent, there are lots of demands on you, and it’s easy to start feeling stressed and worn down. But there are things you can do to help. This article from tiny happy people has some good suggestions to help you feel less overwhelmed.

Read more

Remember you will feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed some of the time, but if you are feeling like this most of the time it’s important to get help and support. You can do this by making an appointment with your GP. You can also visit Sandwell Talking therapies.

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