How to look after your mental health this Mother’s Day if you can’t be together
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, inboxes and social media timelines are flooded with adverts about what gifts to get for mum. While it serves as a useful cue for many, for others it’s a painful reminder of the ones that they can’t be with. For those facing the prospect of a Mother’s Day without her, getting through the day will likely be a challenge; therefore, the experts at Living Well UK are urging those who are struggling to take extra care of their mental health this weekend.
Mother’s Day can be a tough experience for anyone who can’t be with their mum – whether that’s due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the result of a family feud, or because she is no longer with us – and so finding the wellbeing tools to cope with those feelings is hugely important.
To help advise on how to do this, Holly Beedon, the Clinical Lead at the leading consortium of mental health charities in the West Midlands, Living Well UK, has compiled her top five tips for looking after your mental health on Mother’s Day…
Tip One – Mark the occasion in your own way
To celebrate or not to celebrate? It’s the question that many will be asking themselves. Holly suggests marking the day, but not going over the top because you feel pressured into doing so. She says:
“Don’t feel like you have to make a big effort. You might just want to put some flowers in your house. Do what feels comfortable for you, but doing something – however small – to honour her can really help.”
Tip Two – Avoid getting sucked in by social media
Social media is notorious for being a ‘highlights reel’ of everybody’s best bits and can be a difficult place to be when you aren’t in the same headspace. Protect yourself from overwhelming feelings of jealousy by avoiding ‘doom-scrolling’ through your Facebook feed. Holly says:
“If you are not feeling great on that day, then stay off social media. Social media will be full of gushing posts, which could make you feel low or angry, even jealous or resentful of others that have their mother around. If you do feel like this, don’t beat yourself up: these feelings are all totally normal.
“Equally, there may be posts from those who have lost their mothers, which could also be potentially triggering for you.”
Tip Three – Talk about her
When you’ve lost or are missing a loved one, Holly says it can be tempting to close yourself away and avoid talking about it. However, she says that talking about the ones we can’t be with can help. She commented:
“Talk to people that you love and trust about your mother. Share stories, look at old pictures and listen to songs that she liked. Don’t hide under the duvet and wish the day away.”
Tip Four – Make a plan
The best way to set yourself up for the day is to plan ahead, according to Holly. She suggests setting out a schedule for the day and preparing for it: even down to micro-details like what time you’ll wake up or what you’ll make for dinner. Holly adds:
“Plan your day. Even if you are going to spend the day alone, pampering yourself, plan the detail of it… What films will you watch? When will you run a bath? What time will you eat?”
Tip Five – Feel your feelings
Finally, but most importantly, Holly highlights the importance of expressing yourself and letting out your feelings. She concludes:
“Don’t bottle up your emotions. It’s okay to have a cry and feel sad or angry. Whether you had a good relationship with your mother or not, the way you feel on this day is completely valid. Don’t hide from these feelings and remember that grieving shows your ability to love. Be kind and compassionate to yourself: there is truly no right or wrong way to feel.”
If you are looking for support or someone to talk to, Living Well UK is on hand to help. Living Well UK provides free mental health support, promoting wellbeing from an individual and community perspective to help find practical solutions to life’s challenges. These include online stress and anxiety courses, counselling and self-help, creative therapies and CBT, all drawing on the knowledge of a consortium of expert members across the city.
To get in touch, use our LiveChat function or call 0121 663 1217. Equally, if you need someone to talk to about how you’re feeling, you can contact the 24/7 mental health helpline on 0121 262 3555.