With this week being Mental Health Awareness Week it is certainly a fitting time to highlight this issue as it can affect anyone. 2020 was a particularly stressful year for children with reports indicating that there was a 70% increase in the number of schoolchildren that were affected by feelings of depression during the pandemic. So it is more important than ever to be on the lookout for any changes in your child’s behaviour.
Be Supportive and Encouraging
You are the best person to know whether something is not right regarding the general mood and wellbeing of your child/children. The best thing to do is demonstrate that you are there for them when they need it and if they would like to talk to you about any concerns they have that you are more than happy to listen and encourage them. It might not be too helpful to try and force them to talk to you, as they will likely open up to you when they feel ready to talk. But just knowing you are supportive and encouraging can help them.
Healthy Meals at Home
Cooking healthy home cooked meals is a good place to start. It is important that they maintain a healthy diet. Unhealthy processed foods and those high in sugar can exacerbate the problem by increasing mood swings and feelings of depression. It is also beneficial to eat a meal together as it provides the opportunity to talk about your day and feel more connected to each other,which can certainly help if they are feeling a bit low.
Encourage Outdoor Exercise
Particularly at the weekends when you are more likely to have more time, try to encourage a group family outing outdoors, whether it is visiting a nearby nature reserve or going for a picnic in the park. Allowing them to exercise outdoors and be surrounded by nature can have a positive effect on low mood.
Trip to the Seaside
Looking for luxury real estate along the coast can be beneficial for the family to have a break and enjoy the seaside, but more importantly try to help your child’s low mood. A survey by the University of Exeter found that participants that lived less than a kilometre away from the sea were 22% less likely to experience feelings of depression. This was in stark contrast to those that lived more than 50km away who did experience feelings of low mood. This demonstrates how breathing in the sea air can have a lot more benefit than you think for your child.
Look After Yourself Too
It is important that you look after your own mental wellbeing as well so that you are in a good place to help your children. Trying to lead as stress-free as life as possible and ensuring you get enough sleep, eat well and have some ‘me’ time are all important for your own wellbeing and sanity.