Motherhood is a transformative and fulfilling experience, but it can also be a stressful and demanding one. At SonderMind, we celebrate all moms — whether it's on Mother’s Day or any day of the year. Read on to learn about the importance of caring for your mental well-being as a mother, and hear from SonderMind provider, Tasharika Njeleka, MA, LPC-S, who specializes in maternal mental health.
If you’re a mom, you can probably relate
You know how hectic and busy life can be with kids. You’re making sure that all their needs are met — whether it’s physical, social, academic, and even mental health needs. Think soccer practice shuttle, dance class volunteer, meal prep maker, homework tutor, and comforter of all “boo boo’s.”
If you’re a working mom, you have the added responsibilities of your job and career which comes with deadlines and deliverables. If you’re in a relationship or a marriage, that also requires time, attention and energy. It’s a lot, and many times moms are spread thin as they’re constantly attending to the needs of those around them.
Moms can experience anxiety and depression
Because life can get complicated and stressful, it is not uncommon for mothers to experience mental health concerns.
“One thing that I'm noticing across my practice is that moms are having experiences with anxiety and depression,” says Tasharika. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects 6.8 million U.S. adults. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. GAD often co-occurs with major depression.
- Depression affects over 17 million U.S. adults and occurs more often in women.
Anxiety disorders develop from many risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, and life events. “Anxiety and depression can stem from a number of things. We have to consider biological factors, environmental factors in our current life situations,” Tasharika adds.
New moms are also at risk. One in five women who are pregnant or postpartum are diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders. One in eight women report symptoms of depression after birth.
Make self-care a priority throughout motherhood
It’s important for moms to make time for themselves. When you care for yourself, not only do you feel better, but you can also take better care of those you love. You don’t have to do anything big or grand (although a full spa day wouldn’t hurt).
Instead, take time to do small things for yourself and see how the benefits can add up. Here are some ideas:
- Take time to exercise. Whether it’s going to the local gym, doing the treadmill, or joining a yoga class, whatever gets you moving can help you recharge. Even taking a five-minute walk in your neighborhood can do wonders.
- Spend time with friends. Yes, you can leave the kids with a trusted babysitter. Make a date with a friend or family member and go out for dinner. Or go for a walk. Spending time with others helps you connect and renew your social battery. If you feel anxious about meeting people, there are things you can do to maintain your friendships and care for yourself.
- Tap into your tunes. It’s amazing what the power of music can do for your physical and mental health. From giving you energy to boosting brain power to sparking creativity, turning on your favorite music can help you feel better, remind you of favorite memories, or inspire your creative juices. So in between your children’s music playlist, make sure you make time for your whole-health playlist as well
- Find me-time. Time for yourself is not selfish. Instead, it’s a way for you to regain balance. Ask your spouse to put the kids to bed so you can take a long, warm bath. Do take-out dinners if you can so you can have extra time to catch up on your favorite show. Treat yourself to some spa time. Even a simple foot soak at home can feel luxurious.
Tasharika reminds all moms that “in the same way that we work to make sure the people around us and the things around us remain functional, we must also stop to take a moment to ensure that we're doing that for ourselves. And we do this by ensuring that we are creating the time and attention to attend to our own mental health concerns.”
It’s okay to seek professional help
Taking care of yourself also means that you care for your mental health. That means seeking the help of a licensed mental health professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed. There are many reasons why people seek therapy, from stress, anxiety, and depression to family and parenting concerns. A mental health professional can help you identify your symptoms and help you develop the tools and coping strategies to manage them.
So supermoms, we want you to know that you’re loved and appreciated, and that it’s important for you to care for yourself. If you want to talk to someone, SonderMind can connect you to a licensed therapist who’s the right fit for you. Just let us know a few things about what you’re looking for, and we’ll take care of the rest. When you’re ready, let’s talk.