As a parent, your focus is often on your child, especially if they’re struggling with a mental health issue. As they become a teenager, concern about independence, managing their diagnosis, and keeping up with life commitments can become overwhelming. Just as you encourage your teen to take care of themselves, you should also prioritize caring for your own mental health. In recognition of International Self-Care Day on July 24th, we are encouraging parents to take some time to practice intentional self-care.
What Is Self-Care?
When people think of self-care, they likely picture a bubble bath, an at-home facial, or something similar. While these are examples of this practice, caring for your well-being can encompass so much more. Generally, self-care includes anything that prioritizes physical or mental health. This is often something enjoyable that allows your mind or body to rest or refocus. Practicing self-care can increase motivation and reenergize you, making future tasks feel less daunting.
Examples of Self-Care
Taking time to prioritize yourself and care for your well-being doesn’t have to be an elaborate task. In fact, sometimes the most rewarding self-care practices are also incredibly simple. Here are some examples of self-care activities you can implement this week:
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood alone to give yourself space to think.
- Spend 20 minutes before bed journaling about the good and the bad of the day.
- Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to get ready in the morning. Use this time to take a longer shower, put more effort into your skincare routine, or do something else that will help you feel refreshed.
- Make the dessert or special meal you’ve been wanting to try.
- Go for a drive and listen to music.
- Find a podcast or audiobook to listen to or read a few pages of a book each night.
These smaller moments of prioritizing your wellness can become a part of your daily routine, resulting in a pattern of self-care.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Parents are often prone to give of themselves until they have nothing left. However, there will come a time when they burn out. Self-care helps to refill your “cup”, so you can both take care of yourself and your teen. It may feel selfish to take time away from your family for yourself, but it actually helps you be more present long-term. By committing 15 or 20 minutes a day to self-care, you create a routine of healthy practices that better equip you to take on the challenges of parenting.
Support for Parents of Struggling Teens
When your adolescent is struggling with mental health issues, it can feel isolating as a parent. Having a healthy support system and taking time for yourself can ease the burden of these challenges. However, sometimes you may need professional help to manage your teen’s situation.
At The Forum, we provide comprehensive mental health support for adolescents and their parents. Our individualized treatment program helps teenagers process and learn to cope with their diagnosis. We also offer family therapy, so parents have an active role in treatment. Parental involvement in therapy allows caregivers to feel heard and helps them better understand what their child is experiencing. If you need more support related to your teenager’s mental illness, contact us today.