Mental health self-care for parents

As a parent, you’ve always got a to-do list. But it’s also important that you look after your own mental health and wellbeing. Taking care of your mental health needs will help you feel more able to deal with the tricky moments when they arise.

Make time to do things that give you energy and make you feel good.

  • Get active. Exercise can prompt chemical changes in the brain and cause positive changes in our mood. You don’t need any special equipment. Try following a yoga tutorial on YouTube or a Joe Wicks’ workout in your living room. Go for a run or a solo walk in your local area. Whatever you choose, getting your body moving can be great for your mental wellbeing.
  • Do something you love. Take some time to do activities that relax you. Put your feet up and read your favourite book, watch a film, or take a long bubble bath. This can help remind you that you’re still a whole person, not ‘just’ a parent.
  • Cook a proper meal. Dust off the cookbook and test that recipe you’ve been meaning to try. Making a tasty meal from scratch can give you a sense of achievement, and you get to sample something new. Use it as time to help you unwind. Listen to your favourite podcast or album as you go.
  • Spend quality time with loved ones. Catch up with a friend or family member. Organise a coffee, meet up to go on a walk together or call them on the phone.
  • Celebrate your achievements. Being a parent can be so rewarding but it also comes with plenty of challenges. Take a step back to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished. Be kind to yourself. Write down a few of the hurdles you’ve managed to tackle since becoming a parent. Celebrate even the smallest of wins and take pride in how far you’ve come.
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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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