Being a parent can be the most rewarding and exciting new part of your life, but whether you're a new mum or not, you are definitely aware of how exhausting and challenging it can be. With this in mind, it's important to prioritise yourself by taking some time to take care of your mental wellbeing.
Sarah Romotsky, Director of Healthcare at Headspace, the aim to live a healthier, happier, more well-rested life, shares some of her expert advice for mums on how to take care of yourself.
1) Be kind to yourself
So often we beat ourselves up over what we haven’t done rather than congratulating ourselves on what we have achieved. Remember to practise self-compassion and forgiveness
, even on those days you feel like nothing is going right: when you’ve slept badly, the washing hasn’t been done and the dishes are piling up.
shows us how to be less reactive to fleeting emotions and instead to respond from a place of clarity. Headspace specifically has been shown to reduce emotional reactivity and negative emotions.
Silence your inner critic and refocus your thoughts on all the positive steps you have taken. One or two small acts of kindness for yourself can make such a big difference to your mood.
2) Connect with the outside world
It is so important to spend some time outside
each day even if it’s just a quick walk around the block, to your local high street or local park. The fresh air on your face and a change of scenery can do you a world of good and is hugely beneficial.
Walking has been proven effective in reducing anxiety and depression, and there is further evidence that walking in nature improves those results even further
. That’s because different parts of our brain activate in nature. Our mind calms, leading to physical changes including a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.
It can be difficult especially for parents of young children to get out of the house each day, but so important for the whole family’s wellbeing. By being present and taking in the sights, sounds and smells around us, we can give our mind some respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Read more: Top 10 apps to get your children outdoors
4) Improve the quality of your sleep
As Prince William said when Prince Harry became a dad: “welcome to the sleep deprivation society that is parenting”. Parents often struggle to get the recommended eight hours of sleep; however, it is important to take steps to improve the quality of your sleep
Getting quality sleep is important for your health: it strengthens your immune system, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lowers your risk for serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease
. Nursing mothers bear the brunt of this sleep deprivation. Make sure you rest throughout the day and nap when the baby naps.
Meditation can be a good addition to your wind down routine. It allows your body to relax and the mind drift off – letting go of tensions and racing thoughts. Let go, feel yourself sink into the mattress, relax and allow yourself to fall into a restful sleep.
5) Acknowledge it is ok to be alone
When you have a newborn, it can be a big adjustment going from a busy work and social schedule to being at home most of the time with your little one. It can feel like your world has become very small and that you are alone and forgotten, and these feelings of loneliness
and isolation can have a negative impact on mental health.
To address feelings of loneliness, it’s healthy to get to a point where we feel OK on our own. Stepping out of the mind through meditation is a powerful antidote to loneliness. It enables us to become more present in our feelings, making the crucial distinction that being alone and feeling alone are two very different things. Over time, we can become more comfortable with feelings of loneliness and these meditation sessions can take as little as three minutes each day.
Let us know if you've tried meditation or any of the other tips on Facebook or Twitter!
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