Minding your mental health

Mental healthby Sheri McGregor, M.A.

As parents who’ve been hurt in the drama and trauma of estrangement, it’s especially important to mind our mental wellness. Like this frog who blew in on a winter storm and is now living his best life in our front pond, we can hop on or off lily pads, rest awhile, and find new ways to mind our mental health.

This short list of items known to hold benefits for our well-being is intended as a hopping off point. You surely have activities that you know are good for you — and I hope you’re making a point to partake.

  • Reflect on leaders or mentors who brought out the best in you.
  • Reflect on people who have made you feel seen, heard, and valued. Be around them if you can.
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Practice Yoga
  • Do Tai Chi
  • Get a massage
  • Be physically active
  • Find something hopeful in your future and focus on it. If you can’t think of anything right off, get busy and create something you can look forward to.
  • Foster loving support, and joy in your primary relationships.
  • Help someone!
  • Love on a pet.
  • Nurture playfulness.
  • Walk in nature (or sit/walk in a garden, a patio with a tree or fountain). Just hearing the sounds of nature helps.
  • Initiate inspiring conversations. You can start with something you share in common with the other person(s) that relates to a positive value, vision, or story. Not sure how? Think of someone who made YOU feel good and then emulate how they did that in your interactions with another.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Be fully present.
  • Be emotionally aware. What’s your baseline today? Think: how was my sleep? How much am I preoccupied with what must get done? Then be self-compassionate and honor your needs.
  • Prioritize sleep. A lot of us do not prioritize this very basic need. Don’t push the envelope here …  Did you know that just about every type of mental/emotional instability has poor sleep in common? Take charge of your recharge.

    We owe it to ourselves to take kind care of ourselves top to bottom, inside and out.

Related reading

Letters to estranged adult children

Does healing from estrangement mean you’re cold-hearted?


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4 thoughts on “Minding your mental health

  1. Margaret

    I went from being an amazing mother ( her words)
    To, I mentally abused her, over night !!!
    She is getting married tomorrow without us there,
    I’m so upset I can’t think straight!!
    I did NOT mentally abuse her, she is my life,
    I would never do anything to hurt her, or anybody

  2. Reade A.

    Currently I am undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to mitigate my depression. I am hoping to be able to see the world through new eyes once the treatment is completed. I’m assured that the success rate for TMS patients runs between 50 to 65% or greater.

    Taking care of my mental health is critical to whether I live or jump off a bridge, although I have a good friend who jumped off a bridge and lived. You never know. To that end, after months and months of consideration, I have decided to write both of my EC a final apology letter with the caveat that if they desire to continue the status quo of no contact, I will not contact them again. I want it on the record that I am truly sorry for the errors in judgment I made that hurt them when I was raising them.

    I can almost guarantee I will receive no response. I also sent my oldest granddaughter an apology letter and unsurprisingly haven’t heard from her. Sobeit. Interesting and ironic to note that she is getting her master’s in child and family therapy.

    More than anything I want to put this whole parenting chapter behind me. I’m done with the crying and the guilt. If people ask me whether I have children, the answer will be no. I realize now it would have been better to not have had children, period. They have been mountains more trouble than they are worth.

  3. Bodhi

    Thank you Sheri, for this important reminder. Our mental health requires vigilance, and daily choices, we cannot ignore it. My daughter’s estrangement caused a huge mental health crisis, but after two years, I’ve come to terms. I made a concerted effort to stay active, keep reading, stay curious, travel and engage with my husband and friends. Yoga and meditation, plus music, have played a big role. My garden has been a huge source of joy. It’s never too late to take care of your mental health, and begin to live a full life. Thank you for this newsletter, I look forward to all your postings, you have made a huge positive improvement in my life.

  4. Lynn G.

    You are so wise. And your email with just checking in was very helpful. Feeling lonely this holiday weekend. My husband and I are baffled. He is angry. I’m sad. Thanks for the helpful reminders to cope.


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