Maintaining My Mental Health as a Parent

I have had a long history of anxiety as mentioned before and a couple of bouts of severe depression as well. So maintaining my mental health is very important to me. I believe mental and physical health are tied closely together. So while I don’t believe that there is a 100% correlation, you can have one without the other, I think it's important to maintain both. Especially for me. 

Both can be tricky to manage as a parent so here is what I am currently doing. 

For my mental health, I am on medication. It is safe for breastfeeding, but I am remaining on my medication and have actually increased the dose since Mary was born. I hope to wean off of it at some point but now is not the time. I also have therapy sessions every other week. I try to have Nick or a friend watch Mary, but the clinic I go to is aimed at young families and maternal mental health so they will accommodate me bringing Mary in if I need to. I’ve brought her with me a few times and it worked pretty well.  I've also tried to maintain hobbies. I let them go for a while after Mary was born, and I feel better now that I am back. Writing this blog is one, crocheting is one but I have kinda lost interest in that. I've also started a new hobby of writing. I'm working on a memoir for a family member of mine and a book of my own for fun. I feel so much more mentally refreshed when I am working on things. I just need to stay off of author tube. It's not helpful to watch videos about publishing when I just want to finish a book. I have a bad habit of trying to monetize things and then never doing anything since I can't do it perfectly to earn money. And that is not useful to me at all. So I'm trying to avoid researching monetization of my hobbies.

For my physical health, I am not talking about appearance. Yes, it's important, but not the most important thing, and I believe there is too much pressure around women to try and "bounce back" after pregnancy. But I've always valued feeling strong and being able to do anything I want, so I want to maintain that. I've decided to take up running again. I ran through middle school and high school and I miss it. I was never fantastic, but always able to run a couple of miles. Now I can't run a kilometer. I’ve tried several times since high school to start running and I’ve never stuck to it.  I have realized that I need to recognize the value of running short distances or for short periods of time. Yes, 3 miles used to be a short distance for me, but it is not anymore.  So I have decided at least one day a week I will go for a dedicated run. Currently, it is around our block, just over a kilometer.  Once that starts feeling easy we will run more and more.  We meaning Mary in the pram.  I always walk with Mary to the shops so I am going to start running the first distance.  It is not far maybe half a kilometer that I will be running, but that is far for me at the moment and it will help build my fitness.  I won’t be running home with the groceries though! No pre scrambled eggs thank you. 

I have done some baby and me workouts when Mary was little, but I have not done any of that in several months.  I occasionally do pushups and kiss her at the bottom, or lift her over my head.  I do want to start doing more of that though.  It is an easy way to do weighted workouts without buying any weights.  

I also find the more I work on my physical health, the better my mental health.

Please let me know in the comments below how you maintain your health as a parent!


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