PAR­ENT’S GUIDE TO SO­CIAL ME­DIA, GOOD MEN­TAL HEALTH

Khaleej Times - - HEALTH MATTERS -

> Be brave and un­fol­low or un­friend: The sim­ple step of hit­ting the un­fol­low but­ton on a ‘friend’s’ In­sta­gram or Face­book ac­count can re­ally help re­lease the pres­sure and in­stil a sense of calm. Like­wise, un­fol­low­ing celebrity mums or ‘Insta-mums’ will in­stantly re­move com­par­isons with their unique and of­ten unattain­able life­styles.

> If you want to spend time on­line, use apps and web­sites that will help you as a par­ent: Apps such as “Mush” (www. letsmush.com) help mums con­nect with other lo­cal mums; here you can share the ups and downs of par­ent­ing and avoid be­ing iso­lated.

> Re­main ‘guilt-free’ and al­ways re­mem­ber your

‘me time’: Hav­ing some ‘me time’ is a ne­ces­sity to sur­viv­ing the day-to­day life as a mum.

Just 15-20 mins to un­wind ev­ery day can have sig­nif­i­cant emo­tional ben­e­fits. > Be pre­pared: It’s im­por­tant for preg­nant women and new mums to treat their men­tal health with as much care as they do for their phys­i­cal health.

If you’ve had men­tal health prob­lems pre­vi­ously, or if you have cur­rent symp­toms, talk to your doc­tor as soon as pos­si­ble. They will know what help and sup­port there is in your area. Get­ting help early on means you have a chance to pre­vent ill­ness, or at least to have treat­ment early be­fore prob­lems be­come too se­ri­ous.

> Get enough sleep: Qual­ity sleep can be a real prob­lem when you have a new­born to at­tend to, but not get­ting enough can se­ri­ously ex­ac­er­bate men­tal ill health. When the baby naps, for­get about the wash­ing-up, dirty nap­pies, etc — they can all wait. Grab a 10-15-minute power nap at the same time. You will feel so much bet­ter for it. > Ac­cept of­fers of help: Don’t strug­gle in si­lence and be afraid of re­ly­ing on oth­ers.

Ask for help from fam­ily and friends, whether it’s to cook din­ner or look af­ter the chil­dren while you go for a lie-down — most will only be too happy to help.

> Chat it out: It’s easy to feel iso­lated when you’re home with a baby all day, so make sure you stay en­gaged with the peo­ple in your life, prefer­ably face-to-face and not on­line. Talk­ing about your day, your feel­ings, or even your favourite TV show with a part­ner or friend can have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on your emo­tional well-be­ing.

> Ride the emo­tional roller coaster: Emo­tional ups and downs are nor­mal. But a ride that only goes down is bro­ken. Get help if you’re not bond­ing; if you start to have neg­a­tive thoughts about the baby or your­self; or if you ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere mood swings for more than a cou­ple of weeks.

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