Balancing Work & Mental Health: Global Day of Parents

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A Salute to Parents on Global Parents Day

Global Parents Day, celebrated every June 1, can be celebrated by almost everyone: it is a way we can pay tribute to the parents or parent-figures in our lives, but it is also an opportunity for parents themselves to celebrate their commitment to raise the next generation.
In addition, being a parent in the 21st century has imposed a different set of hurdles: the rise of globalization has given accessibility to a wide array of information showcasing expectations of what a parent should be, which at times can be overwhelming to some parents.

For this occasion, then, we found it opportune to discuss parenting and all its wonders and challenges in this day and age with members of the Mind You team: namely, our Development Training Facilitator, Frannie Daez, professional coach and shareholder, Arturo Rocha and Ruby Santillan, one of our psychologists.

Mind You Psychologist
Development Training Facilitator
Professional Coach and Shareholder

1. What are the common difficulties and challenges that working parents go through?

Difficulties and challenges can be subjective. What may be easy as pie for one person may be an insurmountable mountain to climb for another. There are a million answers to this question. So now that you get the picture, I’ll talk about my own challenges. I am a mother of 8 with an age range of 8 to 29. I’m a homeschooling mom and a mom of a child with special needs. I have two grandchildren who get a lot of airtime with Lola, with 3 to 5 day weekly visits. I have no house help but still make sure that their tummies are well fed and their needs are taken care of. I am their mommy, their teacher, their nurse, their psychologist, their cheerleader, their mentor and consultant (to my working kids), I am their cook, their driver, their hug provider and many more. One of my biggest challenges is making the right decisions - to home school or not, to say yes or no to a child asking to go on a night out with friends, to allow them to play video games and how long they can do this for. Decisions about the children, decisions about family dynamics, decisions about myself - whether to go on a trip without the kids or to go back to the workplace. Daily decisions, big decisions, decisions that if wrongly made might scar them for life. This becomes a challenge when we want what’s best for our families. Then once we make a decision, we need to plan and follow-through on them.

Frannie Daez, Development Training Facilitator

The pandemic brings us different challenges not common to what we are used to. For instance, during pre-pandemic times, when we got home, there was already a separation of our jobs with our family. We had our time to spend dinner or watch television with our loved ones, and also a little me time. But when the pandemic came in, everything changed. We are physically present but cannot attend to our kids’ needs. The separation of work and family time can no longer be distinguished.

Ruby Santillan, Mind You Psychologist

Being a father is synonymous with being responsible for the family and this can create a lot of stress and anxiety. As a working dad, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my family fortunes. Time is a huge hurdle because you need time away in order to be able to provide for them. Another challenge is being present with the family, especially when the mind and body are exhausted from work, and we have to push through that illusion.

Arturo Rocha, Professional Coach and Shareholder

2. What do you think are the symptoms of burnout for working parents?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt burnt out. Of course there were times when I was unhappy, scared, frustrated, and pissed. There were times when I wanted to give up and just leave. But those were momentary thoughts. So, I’m not really sure if I was burnt out then or if they were situational and just an effect of what I had experienced at the time.

Frannie Daez, Development Training Facilitator

Being burned out may vary depending on the kind of personality that we have. But, what is common are the overwhelming feelings of responsibilities, demotivation, irritability and sometimes being socially detached.

Ruby Santillan, Mind You Psychologist

Some of the symptoms include physical tiredness, the loss of open communication, and anger being projected in every situation.

Arturo Rocha, Professional Coach and Shareholder

3. Why are setting limitations important for parents too? How does one go about it?

Personally, I would call it prioritizing, instead of setting limitations. An awareness of our realities, our current situations, and the demands of our environment are key to my staying sane. But what really helped me a lot is knowing my purpose, my “why” and my vision for myself. Once this became clear to me, everything else followed. It was easier for me to make decisions, easier for me to commit to things that mattered most and easier for me to say “no” to things that didn’t contribute to my vision and purpose.

Frannie Daez, Development Training Facilitator

Drawing a line on when to stop and when to say no is important for parents. Determining and sorting out your tasks with a specific timeframe would also be of great help. Creating a daily checklist of your priorities chronologically will help paint a picture on how much time you’ll be spending on what, within a particular day. Allotting “peace time” is another important thing.

Ruby Santillan, Mind You Psychologist

Time is such an important commodity, and it is important for parents to set limitations when it comes to work time and family time. Things such as dinner time and weekends should be kept reserved for the family, in as much as it is possible. It’s also important to make your children feel important and be there for their milestones.

Arturo Rocha, Professional Coach and Shareholder

4. How can parents create a healthy work-life balance?

First of all, it’s important to be able to craft our mission and vision. This helps us define our priorities and create balance. When we know that what we have chosen to do contributes to our mission, we become energized and happy doing the things we do.

Frannie Daez, Development Training Facilitator

Being reflective or having an awareness of how you spend your entire day will help you to evaluate if you're lacking in one or another. This will guide you to determine if you need to improve or change your actions to be able to get back on track or to maintain a healthy work-life balance. There’s no perfect formula on how to maintain work life balance but setting limitations or boundaries for everything that you are doing and for everyone you are dealing with is a great start. Staying aware of your day-to-day activities and your emotion towards it helps equip you to stay on track and evaluate your actions.

Ruby Santillan, Mind You Psychologist

This can be done by communicating the best structure to meeting commitments with clarity and intention. Maintaining equilibrium is key, and this can be supported by sharing wins at the dinner table or having regular family outings without allowing work to get in the way.

Arturo Rocha, Professional Coach and Shareholder

5. What practices can parents keep in mind in order to overcome stressful situations?

For me, pausing and getting my bearings help. I pause, I breathe, and try to become aware of my feelings and the reasons I am feeling them. Then, I take it to a more cerebral level and process things. If I can’t find the answers myself, I talk to my husband, a sibling, or a close friend. If that’s not possible, like I’m getting anxious in the middle of the night and everyone’s asleep, I write a letter to myself and then give myself a reply - that’s one of the ways I process my feelings and help myself get back to sleep.

Frannie Daez, Development Training Facilitator

Allow yourself to acknowledge that you are experiencing those stressful situations. Feel the emotions with it. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to scream, scream (in a safe place or in a pillow). Limit your lingering thoughts and identify positive coping strategies that could neutralize it. Coping ways could be relaxing music, your favorite food, doing some art, writing, walking/ biking, or anything else that could help you feel better.

Ruby Santillan, Mind You Psychologist

For me, it’s always important to reframe workload as a contributor to our family’s overall wellbeing. After going home from a stressful day at work, it helps to be present with your family at the dinner table and let your stress be alleviated by something much bigger like love and purpose.

Arturo Rocha, Professional Coach and Shareholder

6. What are some mindful practices that parents can do as they wear different hats in life?

I can never discount the value of having a mission and vision. Another thing I would recommend is listing down our roles in order of importance.Next is setting goals for each of my roles.Putting these all in a visual format makes it clearer and easier for me to keep track of them.Hence, I can arrange my day and put tasks that will help me achieve that balance.

Frannie Daez, Development Training Facilitator

The idea of mindfulness is very simple yet very helpful. Mindfulness is being in the present moment and focusing in that present moment without judging. Simply being mindful of everything that we are doing is a therapy itself. Identifying your goals and reflecting on your actions will help you to work towards your plans.

Ruby Santillan, Mind You Psychologist

It’s important to get in some ‘me time’ as well, be it going for a run or playing a video game with the kids, which can also fall under ‘me time’ category. Meditation is also a great tool to de-stress. Also, having monthly non-negotiable check-ins with the wife to discuss how we feel and what the future of our family looks like is important too.

Arturo Rocha, Professional Coach and Shareholder

To learn more about mental health and how they relate to special occasions such as this, follow Mind You’s social media pages @mindyoumhs and visit their website www.mindyou.com.ph.

If you are a parent and your company is partnered with Mind You, remember that you can register for an account and book a session here.

If your organization is interested in availing of mental healthcare support, reach us at letstalk@mindyou.com.ph or visit www.mindyou.com.ph.

If you are an individual looking to book therapy sessions, we will be launching our services to the public very soon. Leave us your details here to get notified.