May is Mental Health Awareness Month and mental health is important to sitters, parents, and children. Mental health is all about taking care of yourself mentally and psychologically. Being aware of your mental health status can range from something as simple as monitoring mood swings to something as chronic as dealing with the daily pressures of bipolar disorder. Mental health challenges can come in many different forms. The key is learning to detect such a challenge and how to alleviate it.
When it comes to babysitting, you don’t really tend to think of your mental health state as being a major cause for concern. In the grand scheme of things, you’re only watching the child for a few hours at a time. What could go wrong? The reality is mental heath is always something to be taken in consideration no matter how small or large the matter may seem.

Let’s say the day you’re scheduled to babysit, you find yourself dealing with some unexpected anxiety. Nothing has gone right all day and you find that you’re no longer in the mood to babysit. You attempt to shake the feeling, but you’re unsuccessful, causing more stress and unease. Upon arrival to the home, you greet the parents with a smile and prepare to take in all their final tips and points before they leave their child in your care. Without realizing it, you’re so distracted with trying to shake the anguish from the day, you end up missing what the parents say. They ask if you have any further questions and you assure them you don’t. They leave and you’re lost. You don’t know what they’re allowed to watch on Netflix, what they should have for dinner, or what time for a bath and bed. The child isn’t in any harm or danger, but you leave feeling more stressed than when you arrived.

Although the above scenario doesn’t seem like a serious deal, the distractions that can come from an altered mental state can become problematic in more ways than one. If ever you feel that your mental health is at stake, take the time to do whatever it takes to get back on track. Taking the time to color or do an activity with the child for whom you’re caring can be a great stress reliever. Watching a show that you can both laugh at and enjoy can also be a good way to brighten your mood. Other ways to keep a level mental health state are to write in a journal, relax with a nice warm bath, or even hanging out with friends. Do whatever makes you happy and keeps you grounded.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with mental health issues, contact an expert as soon as you feel the need to. Always be sure to seek help. Once things get better, use your experiences to encourage others. Keep in mind you’re not alone. Your mental health is most important for you. Treat yourself by caring for yourself.