How to Be a Healthy Role Model
A Parent’s Guide to Wellness
When parents feel good, it helps kids to feel good, too. Elyse Fox, founder of the mental health nonprofit Sad Girls Club and mom to Basel, opens up about her mental health journey and offers some self-care practices that help her be more present with her son.
- Losing your cool? Take a break.
Just like kids, parents occasionally need a time-out. “I think it’s normal to experience burnout as a parent because it’s an endless job with no start or end time.” Of course, kids can sense this tension in their parents, which can heighten their own anxiety. To avoid this happening, Elyse finds it helpful to disconnect in order to reconnect with herself. “I journal and take a break to do nothing—no phone, TV, podcasts...just sitting by myself.”
- Tap into a childlike sense of fun.
Take your kid’s lead and tap into your inner child. If you’re having fun, they’re having fun. For Elyse, this means taking up hobbies that have nothing to do with her career, like arts and crafts. “I’m big on creating things, so I started getting into clay making, knitting, punch needle rug making—just trying to tap into my creative bag.” Starting something new that you wouldn’t have done a few years ago can be healing.
- Ask for help the same way your kids do.
If kids see their parents ask for help, they feel they can, too. Elyse believes that leaning on friends is the first step to healing. “For parents who are struggling with mental health issues, I would say reach out to someone who you trust and respect—someone who can offer tips and tools that can help you become the best version of yourself.” We can normalize mental health for our kids simply by talking about it.
“I wish someone had told me that mental health is just as important as any other part of your health, and that having mental health problems is normal.”
Mom to Basel and Founder of Sad Girls Club