This weekend, forget the flowers and chocolates; what moms need more are longer naps and someone else to do the meal-planning.
Stay-at-home mom. Single mom. Working mom. Working-from-home mom.
Whatever kind of mom they are, we can be sure that each and everyone of them is more stressed than usual these days, as the day-to-day anxieties of managing the home are now compounded by the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, how about giving your mom the gift of better mental health? Here are some ways you can relieve their mental tension:
- Take on a task. By taking just one or two things away from her to-do list, you are giving mom the gift of time – time that she can use to rest and for her brain to slow down. No gesture is too small — if you can’t cook, offer to be the one to order takeout; if you don’t know how to operate the washing machine, at least offer to hang the clothes up afterwards.
- Encourage her to exercise. Physical movement can release anxiety and mentally rejuvenate those under stress. Exercise also releases endorphins (chemicals that make us happy). Look for online workouts that you can do together, or offer to be her timer or spotter when she does her reps.
- Make her laugh. There’s a reason for the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” A good belly laugh can dispel worries faster than you can say “Knock knock.” Encourage her laughter, whether it’s looking at funny videos on Youtube or convincing her to watch sitcoms instead of Korean dramas.
- Give her sleep. Many mothers are plagued by insomnia, so a full-night’s sleep (or even just a quality nap) is the best gift you can give. Watch the kids in the other room while she naps, or take over their bedtime routine at night so that she has time to wind down herself after a long day of managing the household. Then in the morning, be the one to wake the kids and manage their breakfast needs, to allow her a bit of a lie-in. The gift of sleep will give her back her brain, her sense of calm, and allow her to access the parts of herself that become reactive and anxious when sleep-deprived.
- Listen. Moms often turn to girl friends for advice, but because everyone is isolating at home and there are no more opportunities for girls’ night outs, she must be feeling pretty lonely and unsupported right now. Offer your services instead, and when you do, simply listen and refrain from giving advice (unless she expressly asks for it). Try not to focus on the subject of her worry, but instead, validate the feelings and emotions around it. More often than not, she just needs someone to unburden her feelings to; a reassuring gesture or an understanding nod will make her feel that she is not alone.
Remember that a happy mom can translate to a happy home and family. So if the wonderful super mom in your life continues to struggle emotionally, encourage her to seek care from her doctor and a licensed mental health therapist trained in maternal mental health. Reassure her she does not need to keep it in.
Have a calm and beautiful Mother’s Day!
Written by Jacq of MindNation