Take care of yourself for a change!
These moves make it easy to make a mental health day for you
Give shout-outs. Thanking those who help you and your family -- your babysitter, work colleagues, neighbors -- has a bounce-back effect, improving your outlook and your relationships, as well as making you more resistant to emotional upset, according to research at the John Templeton Foundation.
Skip with your child. The steady rhythm naturally calms you and gives you a sense of being in sync with your body and the other person, Sheperd says. "It's like two violin strings getting in tune with each other. Plus, you'll feel like a kid again -- and that rejuvenates you."
Schedule a funny movie. Just looking forward to it can get the endorphins cranking, says Lee Berk, an associate director at the School of Allied Health Professions at Loma Linda University in California. "Afterward, these mood-enhancing effects can benefit the immune system for up to twelve hours."
Reach out. Emotional support isn't merely nice -- it's vital. A recent study at UCLA found that without it, moms of young children tend to have more mental-health issues. So that woman you've been chatting with at your Mommy & Me exercise class? Think of her as a potential ally (and you for her) beyond your immediate circle of family and friends, advises M. Nora Klaver, a life coach in Chicago and author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need.