Maintaining your energy and positive outlook can be a struggle if you have Depression. Disappointments come down harder on you. Having to bear the frustration of loved ones in addition to your own frustration, can work against the progress you’re making to live a balanced life.

Add to this the many challenges that come with parenting kids in the tween years, and you might start to feel constantly overwhelmed.

Still, there is something interesting to consider here: the unique opportunity to teach powerful life lessons by example. Your modeling will have a significant influence on your tween child’s beliefs about life, especially that we have within is the tools to the cope

A strong commitment to self care should be front and center of your daily life when you struggle with Depression. Start to think about how you engage all the aspects of your self care – getting excellent professional support, adhering to a healthy diet and lifestyle – and be aware that your child is a growing up with an important perspective on self-love.

Mindfulness practice is another powerful ally in living with Depression and parenting a tween.

How?

As many parents do in raising mercurial, hormonal tweens, you are likely relying heavily on structure, discipline and consequences to teach kids to behave properly and make good choices. These are important in raising kids, but equally important is living mindfully in your child’s presence.

A parent who can consistently model mindfulness, while living with depression is one who presents these sensitive children a deeply beautiful example.

The ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation may be ideal for you, as it can vastly improve your emotional well being.

“Loving-kindness” may seem like an odd phrase. It originates from the Buddhist concept of metta, a kind of love that is fully accepting, kind and filled with benevolence and goodwill.  Originally developed to train monks to work with fear, loving kindness meditation has important qualities for people who live with Depression.

Loving kindness meditation helps you discover and grow the seeds of compassion and kindness inside of you. By becoming more kind and compassionate to yourself and others, you create a renewed, stronger, healthier environment which will greatly support you in low periods while also showing your children how to be kind to themselves. This lesson will greatly support them in the unpredictable social environment  and increasing academic expectations that mark the tween years.

Loving kindness meditation is very easy and soothing. You sit quietly and mentally picture someone important to you, like a good friend, a family member or a teacher. While holding the person firmly in mind, you would repeat a phrase invoking a positive intention for him or her. Usually it’s a desire for their safety, happiness, health, ease or peace.

While repeating the phrase, notice your own feelings and thoughts. Just notice without judging.

Continue this practice visualizing several other people, including your tween and yourself. Next repeat the practice keeping in mind someone who is not particularly important to you, ie, a neutral person who does not evoke an emotional response in you.

Finally, repeat the practice while keeping in mind someone who may have hurt or upset you.

Research shows that loving-kindness meditation can reduce depression and negative emotions and increase positive emotions. Studies of loving-kindness meditation support the practice’s positive impact on treatments for chronic physical pain, and feelings of anger and distress.

Depression is often cyclical, During your non depressive state, plan ahead for self care and be prepared with lots of quick fixes. Note which aromatherapy scents uplift your mood, which colors.  FInd comforting teas and healthy snacks. Hold onto beauty salon coupons! Become aware of the details of your physical symptoms and devise self comforting remedies and rituals.

Give yourself the gift of more time – often, just shifting from a sense of fear that time is running out to a sense of ease that time is available, and your goal is manageable.

Allow yourself quiet moments throughout the day, just breathing or walking mindfully to refresh and regenerate

Reduce your material wants in life. No lesson is more important for your family.

At the right time, when your child is older you can discuss openly the experiences both of you had during this period. For now, be present, be compassionate, and practice great self love for your child’s benefit and your own.

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