In honour of International Father’s Mental Health Day, Dan Whiteside has kindly shared his tips for protecting mental health during fatherhood, some of which he wishes he practiced more often himself.
Dan’s Top Tips For Fathers:
Don't be too hard on yourself:
Nobody is perfect, and most likely nobody is doing a better job than you.
Find time for yourself:
Most days can feel like rinse and repeat - wake the child up, give her breakfast, school run, work, school run, dinner, bath, bed - I found that I have to take some time for myself, whether it's getting out on my bike, playing music in my man cave or even just watering the garden!
I run or cycle pretty much every day, and the benefits are immeasurable. When I go for a ride and stop and sit in a park, admire the view, and take in that fresh air it's more or less a form of meditation - for me at least!
Don't feel bad asking for support:
I used to hate asking family for help and support, I was too proud and wanted to do everything myself. One thing covid has made me realise is that asking for help is ok, whether it's a grandparent getting looking after my daughter, or even a phone call to ask about the best way to deal with a parenting situation.
Try not to stress about the little things:
I am a bit of a tidiness/organisation freak, but kids are completely the opposite. They don't understand and pretty much all they do is make a mess. Unless it's a hygiene risk try not to stress about it too much, do the best you can.
Moderate alcohol intake:
Everything is worse with a hangover and a bad nights sleep. I wanted to limit the amount of times my mood and parenting skills were affected by having too much alcohol the night before.
A huge thanks to Dan for sharing these wonderful tips!
Check out Dan’s Instagram for wonderful low ABV cocktails that will inspire you to moderate your alcohol intake.