mental wellbeing for Moms Archives - Best Mom Blogs For Self-Care | Mom's Hierarchy Of Needs

Trapped in the Stress Cycle? Take Back Your Mental Health at Home

“Our bodies and minds have so much innate wisdom, our job is to figure out how to honor it and take care of ourselves. Rather than looking at self-care as a luxury, because it’s essential. It’s a mindset and a lifelong journey. And we have the power and the tools to do this,” said Dr. Marni Chanoff, Integrative Psychiatrist.

The mental health crisis preceded the pandemic. And the strain of Covid-living has increased anxiety and depression. It takes a lot of energy to keep kids, careers and partnerships spinning in a positive way. And whether it’s finding doctors or space on the calendar, we tend to avoid dealing with stress. That is, until our bodies rebel.

But what if you can regain energy and peace in meaningful ways at home? Marni is passionate about unlocking the links between our habits, including what we eat, and strong health.

Meds Can Have Unintended Consequences

Marni developed expertise at the intersection of mental health and nutrition. Because she learned that many of the medications available, could harm nutrition and metabolic health. She said, “I worked with severely ill people for many years, which was what drew me to Psychiatry. When I started prescribing medication for acute psychotic disorders, I learned, that many of the most effective medications, can make some people gain up to 50 pounds. It’s a dilemma when you see someone start to get better mentally, as they put on weight, that can take years to take off.”

And Many Can’t Get Access to Healthcare Right Now

Pre-Covid, many people were on long waiting lists for everything from primary care physicians to specialists. And it’s much worse now. Particularly in underserved communities. Marni said, “Navigating the medical system can be awful, even if you have a solid education and good insurance. And so, for people who are struggling with any kind of mental or physical health problems, relying on the medical system as it is right now, can be Continue reading “Trapped in the Stress Cycle? Take Back Your Mental Health at Home”

Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?

“I need the older children in the family and my husband to step up and help out. I feel like I’ve taken up all the slack and their responsibilities have remained the same. My husband says I just need to ask him for “help” but that just puts it on me to manage everything. I’m frustrated and exhausted and he doesn’t get it.”

“I am literally drowning in overwhelm while my husband is having a great time working from home! Because I’m picking up all the pieces keeping everything together.”

“I told my husband that him “helping” around the house is not enough anymore. He’s an adult and he needs full ownership of at least 50% of keeping our lives together.”

Over 1,800 parents, mostly Moms (98,%) have shared their pandemic stories for our research study. And they’re drained from doing more of everything: housework (78%,) kids activities (54%,) and childcare (73%.) Although they’re overwhelmingly married or cohabiting, in the pandemic, only 30% state their partners are doing more housework or childcare. The gendered division of household labor for Moms partnered with Dads isn’t new. And it’s a corrosive undercurrent for many couples.

The consuming nature of parenting and running a home, has ballooned during Covid. Although the physical work is considerable, the mental energy to plan, triage and react to countless daily choices, adds strain to the situation.

Although some couples successfully divide the work, few share the mental load. And that’s often where the perception gap between Moms partnered with Dads lies. But what if we could make all that hidden work visible? Does it change the conversation between couples?

Mind the Gendered Gap

“I’m doing all the emotional work of parenting (my spouse does only non-emotional tasks like grocery shopping and lawn mowing)…)

“…My personal routine has been overshadowed by helping/dealing with everyone else. If I try to work out, I’ve got kids hanging all over me, when I’m trying to work during nap time my husband wants to chat always preceded by “I know you’re busy but, just real quick…”

A recent Morning Consult survey echoes the stunning Continue reading “Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?”

Are You Weighing Your Childcare Options Right Now?

It’s Time for Upgrades to the Tired Systems we Work in

“(I need) safe childcare so I can work well to ensure our financial security and then to be able to better enjoy the time I have with my kids. …I’m always trying to work while always trying to parent and take care of my children and our home. And I’m never actually able to do any of it well.

“(I need) close, reliable, Covid-friendly, affordable childcare and a boss that has realistic expectations from a freshly finished breastfeeding new mom.”

“It is impossible to achieve any semblance of balance between work and family responsibilities. I am able to work from home 1 day/week, but that is challenging while trying to help kids with their school work. On top of everything, I’m going through a divorce and navigating a complete upheaval of my identity…”

Over 1,500 parents have shared their stories in our pandemic survey since March. They’re primarily Moms (95%) working from home (73%) without childcare (80%.) And almost one year into lockdown, they’re trying valiantly to hold onto their jobs and sanity.

Pre-pandemic, most parents worked and relied on the income. But now, if you want to keep your career afloat, there are 3 options. And they’re not great. You can either work around-the-clock, find childcare – which is harder than winning the lottery right now — or Continue reading “Are You Weighing Your Childcare Options Right Now?”

The Great Quest for Milk: 3 Ways to Reclaim a Positive Mindset, from Mel Robbins

“The challenge right now is focus and motivation. You may think, ‘why can’t I just tune it out?’ But it’s not you. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s very difficult to focus on things that matter,” said Mel Robbins, Author and personal development expert, at the Massachusetts Conference for Women.

The pandemic has pushed us past our cognitive limits. And she shared three simple rules to help us regain some control. She went onto explain one of the reasons we’re struggling to concentrate and practical steps we can take, “You’re experiencing something right now that psychologists call, moral fatigue.”

Moral Fatigue Zaps Energy (and Motivation)

Moral fatigue, is like the mental load’s evil cousin. Our brains are not comfortable with having every decision, including small ones, carry life threatening consequences. And in Covid-19, when ‘normal’ activities bring the risk of illness or death, it’s draining. Mel said, “If you’ve got parents or relatives that you’re worried about living through this pandemic, while working from home and doing everything that you’ve been doing, it requires more mental fuel for your brain to get through the day.” Right. Why aren’t we used to this by now?

When Getting Milk, Got Complicated

Mel explained why, “So, Continue reading “The Great Quest for Milk: 3 Ways to Reclaim a Positive Mindset, from Mel Robbins”

Be Choosy About What You Let Into Your World Right Now

Protect Your Mental Health Through the Pandemic

Over 1,200 parents, primarily Mothers (95%) have participated in the pandemic study since March 30th. They’ve shared how the prolonged lockdown has strained everything, including their mental health.

“(I need) some time to myself without kids or chores. For my mental health.”

“I just started taking Lexapro and that was a life saver…”

“Marijuana/cbd oil. I have ptsd, depression, and anxiety. These things help my mood.”

“I’m with my family 24/7. We could all use a break from each other.”

Without support, basic self-care like sleep and continuity of thought, are almost impossible for parents. And with the increased mental load, monotony and erosion of work/life boundaries, anxiety and depression continue to rise. It’s maddening to be needed all the time. Or to work without breaks. Although stress continues to peak, there are strategies we can employ to support our mental health through Covid.

Routines to Manage Stress Are Gone

“(I need) breaks. Naps. Dates with my husband. Play dates with friends. To see someone during the day that isn’t my child. To be able to go somewhere that isn’t my house.”

“… We have no outlets anymore. No long drives or dinners or lunches or adventures with the baby at a playplace or park. The tension only builds…”

Dr. Nicole C. Brathwaite, Psychiatrist, Activist and Entrepreneur said, “Many of the things that used to be easier are now complex. And there’s been an increase in complaints about Continue reading “Be Choosy About What You Let Into Your World Right Now”

Loneliness When You’re Not Alone

Over 1,000* parents, primarily Moms (94%) have shared their experiences with the pandemic since late March. Five months in, time spent caring for mental and physical health, continues to erode. And over 2/3 admit spending less time maintaining relationships with other adults that keep them anchored. Parents have increasingly shared loneliness has been the hardest part of social distance.

“Not being able to be with people I care about. Now everyone is just a phone friend.”

“I’m low on incidental socialization (i.e. chatting with parents while kids are at activities, socializing with people at the gym, getting together with friends who don’t live on my street.)”

“Not being able to see friends and family and/or needing to limit the amount of interaction with them.”

Isolation…With Family?

We love our families. Their persistent presence has been the greatest source of conflict and joy in lockdown, for most surveyed parents. But being ‘always on’ whether for work or kids, is wearing. The bonds we have with other adults — friends, family and colleagues – often provide  Continue reading “Loneliness When You’re Not Alone”

This is not About Self-Care. This is About Your Sanity

Mental health was precarious for parents pre-Covid. And as the crisis continues, over 1,000* surveyed parents, mostly Moms (94%) admit they’ve eliminated time spent on their own wellness to cope with the added workload.

They’re overwhelmingly working from home (71%) without childcare (70%) and report doing ‘terribly’ or ‘worse than usual’ as caregivers to themselves (72%.) They’ve paused exercise, hobbies and date nights. And many refuse to take vacation time out of concern for job security.

Many achieve career success by ignoring well intentioned advice about balance. We’re incented to run, not rest, in most industries. Pre-Covid, more than half of Americans didn’t take all of their paid vacation time. But everything is different now and breaks have become critical.

When asked, ‘what’s been the hardest?’ many cite increased challenges with emotional and mental wellbeing.

“Keeping up with mental health.”

“Maintaining routines even when feeling depressed and unmotivated.”

“Not having a ‘finish line.’ We truly don’t know when this will end, and it makes it hard to keep going and do the right thing.’’

Self-Care Is Essential

For parents, faced with an uneven back-to-school and wobbly job market, self-care may seem frivolous. Yet, like the masks and the other health protocols we follow, it’s vital. Dr. Charmain Jackman, Clinical Psychologist & Founder of InnoPsych said, “It starts with your mindset. You really need to understand that self-care is important. It’s not about pampering, like getting a pedicure. Self-care is about giving your mind and Continue reading “This is not About Self-Care. This is About Your Sanity”

You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t

“They said that they were losing themselves. Losing who they were. And didn’t know if they would be able to resolve it until their kids went off to college and I wasn’t okay with that idea. I wanted to find a solution to that problem,” said Melissa Mueller-Douglas, Founder of MYRetreat and Licensed Social Worker.

We spin ourselves in blurry, hyper-productive circles while our families rest. If we get a chance to sit down, guilt shows up to steal our joy. If you’ve fantasized about a retreat, someplace sacred to regroup, you are not alone. Personal space in lockdown is rare. Before Covid, there was growing acceptance that we need breaks, from doing everything for everyone else. Momcations were on the rise. But the idea that caring for our wellbeing needs to be extravagant or even ‘secluded’ is dangerous. It’s true, most Moms crave self-care alone, but that desire can be self-destructive when conditions make time ‘alone’ infrequent or impossible. Like in a global pandemic.

Bliss is the 90 Minute Reset

Melissa has elevated the concept of retreat to Continue reading “You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t”

The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic

Moms are heroic. Yes, you are a hero.

We set up the meal chains, sewing circles and food drives. We do the essential or remote work and make it look seamless, even though we juggle. Struggle. Zooming kids, looming deadlines and grocery-bingo fade in and out of days without edges. We manage our fears and just keep on soothing. We remain available and reliable to the people in our lives. Being at home has always meant being busy.

The next great act for Moms may just be learning to self-care ‘in place.’

Together, Forward

You may have found your footing emotionally, financially or professionally before the pandemic. Or you were about to unravel and needed a serious reset.

Continue reading “The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic”

How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine

I gave my son the same math homework twice, started my daughter’s Zoom call late and forgot to pull chicken from the freezer. That was yesterday. Because it hasn’t felt holiday-like, I forgot to buy jelly beans. Between debates about ‘carrying the one’ with my oldest and playing musical-rooms for video calls, I’ve been working at half-speed. When I spoke with my attorney, a mother of 3, to apologize for ignoring her emails, I admitted to fighting mental fog. She agreed and said, “I feel like I did when my kids were babies!” Exactly.

The mental load for Moms, from the to-do list in our heads, isn’t new. It starts when our kids are in diapers but it’s increased with COVID19. Big time. We’re relearning how to work, live and parent all at once, which strains our cognitive capacity. When the routines dissolve, school’s at home and housework multiplies, what are our options? Although we have to approach it differently, we can lighten the mental load during this surreal time.

Why we Can’t Concentrate

In most families, Moms remember the haircuts, permission slips and camp deadlines. This invisible choreography is at the heart of overdo and never-done. We tend to forget our brains have limits and it helps to understand what they are. I spoke with Dr. April Seifert, Psychologist and Co-founder of Peak Mind and she explained, “Any time we’ve got way too much on our mind that we’re trying Continue reading “How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine”

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