This must be a particularly tough time for you new mums and mums-to-be: there are enough intense emotions to process without the added anxiety of a global pandemic! So this week feels like a good time to share tips about the small things you can do to look after yourself, and for finding some calm and perhaps even a bit of joy in this coronavirus chaos!⠀
"Taking care of yourself doesn't mean me first, it means, me too" - LR Knost
One of the best tips somebody gave me in late pregnancy was to make a list of things which bring you joy and make you feel good that can be done in 5, 15 and 30 mins. Then, when you have an unexpected pocket of time in the early weeks, you just pick something from the list and don’t waste any time thinking about it!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Get out in nature for some fresh air. Pop your little one in the sling or pram, and go for a gentle walk with your favourite podcast, audiobook or playlist; Walk to your favourite coffee shop in town for a takeaway brew or simply sit in the garden and just breathe in the fresh air. If you have other children, a muddy puddles walk, sticks collecting and packing some snacks (and tea for you) for a little picnic in nature can make the walk more exciting! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Give yourself a ‘gift’ of a few minutes of time for you everyday. First thing in the morning decide on what it’ll be today and commit to making it happen. Let me know how you get on!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Connect with someone you love and who makes you laugh. A 5 minutes chat or Facetime with a friend who you can be totally yourself with and who you feel comforted by, can make such a difference to your mood. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Get creative for a few minutes. Getting the colouring pens out for a bit of mindful colouring, making a photo album (of your baby’s first week for example, to send to grandparents who may not meet the little one for a few weeks) or writing can help us focus on the present moment without getting stuck in a cycle of anxious thoughts and feelings of overwhelm. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Put on your favourite song and dance with your baby. Or try a 5 minutes YouTube Postnatal Yoga video or gentle stretching. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A bath with a few drops of lavender oil or Epsom salts. Line up your favourite book, a scented candle and a cup of tea or something stronger on the side! This might be a nice thing to do when your partner comes home from work so they can have their special time with the baby. If today is a particularly tough day and your baby can’t spare you for the length of a bath, a shower on your own AND moisturising afterwards with a great smelling cream is also a nice treat . Failing that have some cuddles in the bath with your little one.
Connecting with your partner about something other than the baby (or Coronavirus!). A thoughtful text, cuddle during the day, or a glass of wine/cuppa when the baby is asleep can be nice ways of staying connected and supporting each other.
Rest, rest, rest. It can be hard to nap when the baby naps as we so often get told. Rest doesn’t have to be deep sleep: any form of rest such as lying on the bed with your eyes closed, listening to a guided meditation or relaxation, or putting your feet up in front of the TV is helpful for switching off and resetting.
Choosing wisely what social media to expose yourself to. In pregnancy and early parenting especially, hormones are dancing about enough without adding fuel to the fire for emotions like anxiety and overwhelm to take over. Follow Instagram accounts that inform you or bring you joy and find supportive Facebook groups to connect with other (local) mum⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3 simple exercises to try when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious...
Simply pause, feel your feet on the ground and take a few breaths. Saying the words ‘breathing in’, ‘breathing out’ can be helpful or start mentally counting each exhale you take, until you get to 10 i.e. Inhale, Pause, Exhale and then at the end of your out-breath mentally count, 'One.' Repeat until you feel calmer. The Mountain Pose in yoga is a great alternative.
Name 1 thing you can touch, smell, see, hear and taste. This helps bring us back to the here and now, I play it with my toddler lots!
Before you go to sleep at night, write down 3 things that you are grateful for today. This can help remind us that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it feels very dark right now. ⠀⠀
If you need free advice or support about ways to stay calm during COVID-19, PLEASE get in touch. I don't have all the answers but I’m here ❤️