Help and advice as a parent for staying positive during the spring/summer.
My name is Deborah Winks and I am a Family Support and Parenting Manager for Flying Start, Wrexham. Following on from the ‘Top tips for staying positive in winter’ which I hope you all found helpful, I have been thinking about moving into the spring and summer. The nights are getting lighter and I know that it can be difficult to shake the winter blues, so I’ve been thinking of some top tips to support your mental health and wellbeing into the spring months.
If you have read the ‘Top tips for staying positive in winter’ then you will know that this year I am actively taking positive steps to commit to looking after my own wellbeing. I hope these tips will empower and encourage you to do the same.
1. Make use of the lighter mornings and evenings
Go for a walk with your child/ren before or after work/the school day. I’ve started to notice the change in the season from the birds that I can hear singing, the lighter mornings and the change in temperature. This makes me feel good as it reminds me that change is around the corner.
2. Get ahead on garden projects
Last summer I spent lots of time gardening, wishing I could enjoy the sunshine rather than digging and doing things that I could have done in spring! Wrap up and spend some time in the garden. Get the children involved with digging and planting and tidying. No matter how big your space, make it your little piece of sunshine. If you don’t have a garden how about making some window boxes or growing some seeds in pots for your windowsill.
3. Think ahead and organise some fun activities over the next few months
The unpredictability and constant change is something that everyone is finding difficult to cope with. That is completely normal, but the lack of planning makes me feel sad and very much like I need something to look forward to. I have begun thinking about planning things that are in my control, so I know that they won’t be cancelled or rescheduled:
- Easter hunt in the garden
- Zoom children’s quiz with friends/cousins
- Pamper evenings with your child/ren
- Toasting marshmallows in the garden
- Planning and making an afternoon tea with your child/ren
- Make some spring pictures by collecting treasure on your walks.
4. Embrace the change in season
Have a spring clean. Open the windows, put some music on and have some fun with the children doing a spring clean. Go on a walk and see if you can spot daffodils and hear the birds singing.
5. Look after yourself
I continue to work hard to practise self-care and be kind to myself. Giving yourself time makes you a better parent as you have more space in your head to be available to take care of your child/ren’s needs. Self-care does not have to take any more time than you have to give. It could be a five minute cup of tea whilst practising some mindfulness, or reading a few pages of a book. Equally, if you do have an hour, it could be a nice soak in the bath, planning your fantasy football team or painting your nails.
6. Don’t suffer in silence
Life can be a challenge at any time. I am proud to say that I have a fantastic network of friends that I know I can pick up the phone and talk to if I feel alone or sad. I know that talking and admitting that you are finding things hard, may not be easy to do but I do know that it will be worth it. Reach out to a be-friending service or telephone support service if you feel that you need to talk and ask for help. Please don’t suffer alone.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world and doesn’t come with instructions. It is ok to feel overwhelmed and worried, but it isn’t ok to feel alone. Ask for help if you need it. I am not embarrassed to say that I do ask for help and feel stronger because of it. All of the things that you are worrying about will be familiar to so many people, so let’s create a community of people who reach out and support each other.
And finally… I love daffodils and think they are the perfect symbol for spring. There is nothing more cheerful than a vase of flowers to lift your mood. Even better, they are really inexpensive so if you do nothing else, pick up a bunch for yourself, or a love one when you are next shopping.