Mental Health Awareness

How food can play a part in how you feel emotionally each day.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 - Nature

Parenting can be a joyous time, but also a really challenging one.

It's more important than ever that as parents we look after our mental health. Here are some food related tips designed to boost your mood.

 

Honest parenting

There are days with our little ones that are filled with joyous, Hollywood style, fill up your heart, firework moments. But there are plenty of days when you have that head in the fog, exhausted, putting on clothes is a struggle type of feeling. Physically and mentally it feels simply exhausting. Whoever you are, whatever kind of parent you are, it is just the way it is. That’s why taking care of your mental health is vitally important.

Finding new ways to cope

It’s a statement of the obvious to say the past few years have been a significant challenge for everyone. Where we might have relied heavily on our friends and families to help us get through difficult or dark days and lift our spirits, we have had to learn new ways to cope. Hopefully, whatever these things are, we can keep benefiting from them even though life has gone back to ‘normal’. And remember, most people will have struggled and will have had to find new ways to cope. So it’s always worth asking your close network what works for them when the mist hits – because it will. Sometimes the smallest (or strangest) tips can be surprisingly helpful.

Get outside and notice the world

Never has it been more important to make sure you have some tools in your ever-growing parenting kit. (This is the one that you’re slowly now building, because the one you thought would arrive when your baby was born, never did turn up). There is lots of evidence about the benefits of Nature on mental health. Getting out of the front door and breathing in some fresh air. Taking a moment to notice all the small things in the world around you. How a twig sounds when it breaks, the sound of bird song, the feel of grass on bare feet. As 'new-age' as some of it sounds, it’s astonishingly good for all of us to take a second, stop and breathe.

The benefits of food

At doddl, as we’re all parents on different stages of the parenting rollercoaster. We’ve all had experiences that have put pressure on our mental health. That’s why mental health awareness is important to us. So we’ve pulled together some great advice about food (because that’s a big part of our world). These should help boost your mood (especially if you eat them outside 😊). And not only that, but doddl utensils can help your little one get really involved with some of the food prep. By keeping them entertained, they're far more likely to try the food they’ve helped make. And that is a feel-good opportunity in itself. Here we go with some very simple (but effective) tips to support mental health and wellbeing:

1. Eat breakfast

After all it is the most important meal of the day (as we’re always told). It’s all about getting the energy you need into your body, to get going and keep your sugar and energy levels balanced (see below). Especially if you’ve been up half the night (and since the crack of dawn), the energy you need to keep going is a lot. With mental health and starting your day well in mind, here’s a good, simple recipe for you and your little one to enjoy making and eating together. The cocoa feels a bit naughty but has everything in it you need to get through your morning shift.

2. Eat regularly (whoop!)

It’s easy to forget that if your blood sugar drops you can feel sluggish, irritable and depressed. Eating regularly and choosing foods that release energy slowly will help to keep your sugar levels steady. And that’s what we want to keep us more levelheaded when the small person in our lives certainly isn’t. So, snack on foods like cereals. Although avoid the high sugar options to circumnavigate the huge high and then low of a sugar surge. Try wholemeal bread, pasta, nuts and seeds. Try creating this recipe with your little one to reap some of that energy release.

3. Carbohydrates are your friend

Over the years we’ve been told many times that carbohydrates are bad news. Too much carbs and not enough of everything else is definitely not where you want to be. But in the ‘mood boosting’ world, rice and pasta are your friend. So here’s a great recipe to give you a boost of energy that your little one can help you create and eat with you.

4. Keep hydrated

Not food related but critical. Especially if you’re heading outside and especially if, like most parents, you think of yourself after everyone else. Keep drinking (and not alcohol in this instance). Dehydration is a complete drain, physically and emotionally. Quite often we don’t even notice it until we have a banging headache and need a lie down (or we think it’s the kids causing the pain). Amazingly we should be drinking between 2-3 liters of water every day. Remembering to drink is a challenge in itself with everything else you need to think about, so keep it simple and make a large water bottle your new best friend.

Mealtimes can also bring a lot of stress to some parents. If that’s you, or you want to avoid any mealtime stress in the future, check out doddl baby and toddler utensils. The doddl baby utensil set is for babies 6+ months and toddler utensils for 12+ months. All designed to make mealtimes easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

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