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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds It’s really, really important for parents and carers to be able to look after their own needs and to be able to put themselves first from time to time, especially when they’re caring for others or looking after and supporting children who are feeling low or have other difficulties. Well, research actually shows us that parents find it incredibly difficult to put their own needs first. It’s almost as if they put their life on hold while their child is not OK. But actually, what we want parents to realise is that the more OK they are, the more they will be able to support their children.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds And a lot of parents say that they feel really guilty about that, and they feel like they can’t possibly have fun or go and do a really nice activity or go and take time out when they know that their child is not feeling OK. And what we’re trying to say is actually, we need to flip that the other way around and think about this as a really crucial first step in being able to support others.

A parent and expert's view

Watch Dr Monika Parkinson explain why self-care is important when supporting a young person with low mood and depression.

As you discussed in the previous Step, self-care can be many things including:

Resting, admitting you’re not coping, having fun, taking time for yourself,
eating well, seeking help from others, saying ‘no’ when you don’t want to do
something, saying ‘yes’ when you really want to do something, having a long
bath, going for a run, getting professional help, listening to your favourite
music or podcast, asking others to help you, doing things slowly, sleeping,
being silly, meditating, learning something new just for you, time with
friends, looking after your health needs, setting aside time for your hobbies,
having a lie in, having a giggle with a friend, watching a film.

In this optional second video, a parent (played by an actor but based on real case examples) shares her view.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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This video is from the free online course:

COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression

University of Reading