Parent support for mental health and emotional wellbeing
Looking after your mental health and emotional wellbeing is a key part of family life. Your family often look to you when they are feeling down or feel they need support, and we can’t pour from an empty cup! You won’t always be able to do this of course, especially in an emergency, BUT you should make yourself a priority too, even if it is only for a short period of time every day.
With this in mind, here are some ideas to support your own mental health and wellbeing – it is called…
Connect: Reach out to friends or family members and arrange a catch-up. This could be arranging to meet at a café, or in your homes; a trip to the cinema together; a walk in the park; a zoom chat if they’re far away. Whatever it is that gives you an opportunity to talk to others will help support you if you are feeling lonely or detached – family life can be incredibly busy so it is important to reach out to friends to catch up and share how things are going for you: a problem shared is a problem halved (most of the time).
Be active: Exercise of whatever form is good both physically and mentally. Exercising releases positive hormones (neurotransmitters) of serotonin and endorphins in our body which help us feel good. Exercise doesn’t always have to be in a gym, or involve specialist equipment, it could be a walk around the park or walking to the shops rather than getting the bus or driving. 20 minutes a day will help boost those feel good hormones. Get out at a local park! Being out in nature in a peaceful setting helps the body release good/positive hormones like Serotonin, Endorphins, Dopamine and Melatonin – this one helps us to sleep! Not only that but continued exposure can also reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce the release of Cortisol – the stress hormone.
Keep learning: Learning something new gives us that sense of achievement. We all respond well when we do something good. There are lots of apps available such as Duolingo – a foreign language app, or brain puzzles are great to keep the mind active. Of course, reading or researching things you are interested in could also help.
This link gives you information on the top 20 learning apps: https://www.edapp.com/blog/free-educational-apps/
Give: This doesn’t mean money or objects, giving your time and thoughts are just as impactful. Could you help a neighbour with their shopping when you go, or could you listen to someone who may be having a difficult time? How about volunteering at a local charity shop for an hour or so? It is difficult to do this when our lives are busy, but there are ways to do it, and helping others is a good way of making us feel better, and those you support!
Take notice/Mindfulness: Taking some time to ‘check-in’ with your own body is vital to know how we truly feel. We often help others before ourselves and in busy lives it can be pushed out of your day. 2-minute mindfulness activities such as sitting, closing your eyes and breathing deeply, can really help. There are meditation apps online, or meditation videos on YouTube which you could watch, and they vary in length. Checking in with how you are feeling makes you more self-aware and may will find it easier to recognise when your stress levels are increasing.
Here is a link to the top 5 mindfulness apps: https://www.mindful.org/free-mindfulness-apps-worthy-of-your-attention/
About those hormones *
*hormones are also called neurotransmitters
The hormones listed above do different jobs in our body. Here is a brief introduction to some of them:
So, what can we do to boost these hormones?
Remember those 5 ways to wellbeing?
Click on the boxes to see ways to boost these hormones, and see the connection!
The importance of laughter
Good old laughing, the true kind and the kind which isn’t at other people’s expense, is an incredible way of making us feel good. Here are some lovely videos which can prompt laughter. Go on, take a watch and see if you can keep a straight face
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lakg26y2nhg – buddha on the train
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc – baby laughing at ripping paper
Support groups for parents in Liverpool
If you feel like you need some extra support, here are some links you may find useful:
The Early Help team.
Young minds support specifically for parents
Our Family Engagement Team have lots of supportive information for our parents and carers. They produce a newsletter every month and offer Coffee Mornings, too.
Get in touch if you would like to speak with them, and they can either talk to you or direct you to other support.
NSPCC support for mental health and parenting.
Support groups for parents and carers in Liverpool offered through CAMHS and YPAS.
Videos of support and information
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxIDKZHW3-E – produced by the Anna Freud organisation. This is aimed at young people but the information is presented in a very clear, concise way
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gJ5V525SCk – The Sanctuary Group have produced this video on the 5 ways to wellbeing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB49AezFJxs – Wessex Water’s video is about spotting the signs of mental ill health.
Our parents and carers are important to us. If you have any worries or concerns, or would like some extra information, please contact school