It can be challenging to deal with the stress of raising children, even when a parent is young. But mature moms sometimes have less physical energy and less free time, making parenting more taxing. Here are eleven mental health tips for wise motherhood to help support older moms’ physical and mental well-being.
1. Implement Self-Care Strategies When Possible
As an older mom, you experience different challenges than younger moms.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Many women go through similar journeys.
There are benefits to mature motherhood. Seasoned moms possess particular wisdom that some younger mothers may have not yet acquired.
Physical and mental health are interconnected.
When you are physically healthy, you tend to feel better mentally – and the opposite is true.
A key part of maintaining both physical and mental health is living a wellness lifestyle.
It’s never too late to start making positive changes in your life. Decide to shift your mindset to one that gives you full permission to take care of your own health.
Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Not only is this more practical, but your children will see you prioritizing your self-care and, on some unconscious level, absorb the message that healthy people give themselves tune-ups.
2. Therapy Can Help Mature Moms Feel More Centered
A strange part of motherhood is meeting other people’s needs.
Sometimes, a mother feels like everyone else’s needs are getting met before hers.
Therapy provides a solution to this conundrum.
Talking to an objective professional who has been trained to hold you in positive regard while creating a safe space for you to explore, out loud, your thoughts and feelings can be immensely helpful.
Therapists also help with strategies for improving spousal compatibility.
If you’re experiencing mental health challenges, seek a licensed therapist’s services. There is no shame in receiving guidance.
Seeking help is an empowering act of self-care. A mental health professional can provide support and help you develop coping mechanisms.
3. Take Time for Yourself Away from Motherhood
It’s important to make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.
Doing things that help you feel happier – such as reading, bathing, or walking – will improve your mental health.
4. Exercise Consistently When Possible
5. Consume a Healthier Diet
Just like exercise, what you eat can also impact your mental health. Eating nutritious foods helps to improve mood and energy levels. Conversely, eating junk food often makes you feel bloated and sluggish – and can foster negative emotions.
6. Sleep More Deeply
Getting enough quality sleep is critical for good mental health. When well-rested, you can better deal with resistance and pet peeves. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try a few things, such as reading before bed or investing in a more comfortable mattress.
7. Pause to Connect with Other Mature Moms
Spending time with family members and loved ones is an effective way to improve your mental health.
Taking time from your busy life to have tea with a friend – particularly if it’s another mother close to your age – can do wonders for your mental state.
Strong relationships bolster a healthy life.
8. Go on Periodic Technology Fasts
It’s important to take breaks from technology and disconnect from the outside world occasionally. Staying glued to your phone or laptop can increase stress and anxiety.
Make sure to take time daily to disconnect from technology and relax in nature or with a good book.
9. Find a Fun Hobby Well-Suited for Mature Moms
Doing things you enjoy can help improve your mental health. Whether painting, hiking, biking, or gardening, participating in activities that make you happy can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
10. Tap into Mindfulness and the Wisdom of Mature Motherhood
Mindfulness is a form of meditation focusing on your breath and being present in the moment. It can help to lessen stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts.
11. Volunteer with Other Mature Moms
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and help others. It can also be beneficial for your mental health. Volunteering has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression severity. It puts you around other enthusiastic people with whom you can share the goal of making a beneficial difference.
Average Increase in Age of First-Time Mothers
When it comes to motherhood, women have been waiting longer to have their first child:
- In 1935, the average age was 21 for a first-time birth.
- In 2014, it was 26.3.
- In 2022, it is age 30.
Because of fertility treatments (IVF) advancements, it is much more common today to see women becoming pregnant in their late-30s, 40s, and even 50s.
Not only are older moms parenting young children, but sometimes at the same time, they are also caring for aging parents and/or managing a job outside the home. This can add to the stress and makes self-care all the more important.
Mental Health for Mature Moms
It’s vital not to take mental illness lightly. Mental health is important at any age, but it is especially important for moms over 40.
If you think you may have a mental illness, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Generally, mental illness is treated with medication, therapy, or a combination.
The wellness lifestyle has been proven to help improve the mental health of older moms.
Living a wellness lifestyle can mean eating an anti-inflammatory diet, improving the quality of your sleep, modifying thought patterns to move from negative to more positive, and engaging in consistent workouts.
Finding time for activities you enjoy and feel good about is important. This could be spending time with friends and family, reading, or doing something creative.
To end on a positive note, there is another benefit for older moms. According to a recent study (see sources below) – late-life mothering doubles the odds of living a longer lifespan.
Additional Sources on Mature Motherhood:
Older Moms Have Longer Lifespan – https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-older-moms-much-more-likely-to-become-old-ladies-20140625-story.html
Mean Age of Motherhood Is on the Rise – https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db232.htm
Generational Childbearing Differences – https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db68.pdf
Deferred Motherhood and Moms Over 40 – https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2022-05-06/motherhood-deferred-us-median-age-for-giving-birth-hits-30
On Screen Time – https://centerforanxietydisorders.com/how-much-is-too-much-technology-screen-time-and-your-mental-health/
The Brain/Food Connection – https://www.provisionliving.com/blog/brain-food-essential-nutrients/