“On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure more, I remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days has been 100%. And that’s pretty good.”
There we go again, the announcement that didn’t come as a huge surprise but did come as a big disappointment, frustration, sadness and everything in between! It had started to feel a bit more normal recently - we’d enjoyed reconnecting with friends that we hadn’t seen all year, going out to eat at favourite places and maybe even going on that much-needed holiday. It all feels a bit ‘deja-vu’ to be back here again in lockdown. If the prospect of the next few weeks feels pretty daunting, you are definitely not alone! So here are a few ideas to hopefully help you find a bit of calm and comfort amongst the unrest...
1. Focus on what you can still control and can still do such as trips to the park/beach/playground, walk with a friend (babies and pre-schoolers are exempt from the 2 people limit here in the UK) or getting your favourite takeaway coffee. In pregnancy, focusing on looking after yourself and your little one growing, remembering that your midwife is always available for support in between appointments if you have any concerns or questions. If birth is approaching, focus on what you can control in your birth environment or practice your hypnobirthing and relaxation techniques for labour.
2. Find ways of connecting with other adults and especially those people that bring you joy and make you feel like you e.g. Facetime your old school friend who makes you laugh, go for a walk with a local mum friend or treat yourself to a takeaway date with your partner.
3. What are you grateful for? Before going to bed at night, write down or bring to mind 3 things that you are grateful for today. A little dose of positivity for your brain to absorb as you sleep. A nice memory to read through when this has all passed and to cheer you up on tougher days.⠀
4. Focusing on what is certain and constant right now – For example, the familiarity of nature in Autumn (less rain would be nice though!); your baby developing, growing, moving; the comfort of small routines and rituals that we have always done; or focusing on the breath/body which are always here e.g. counting each breath until 10 or feeling the sensations of your feet on the ground.
5. Having small goals and celebrating achievements – for example if you are pregnant, have you thought about your hospital bag, birth preferences or preparing for the postnatal period, practically and emotionally? If your little one has arrived, perhaps you managed to get yourself and your baby outside for a walk or today might be a day where you fed around the clock and that in itself is a massive achievement!
6. Scheduling in some chunks of time for YOU. It’s so important to have some time to recharge our own battery, especially at the moment – have that shower/bath with the door closed and your partner holding the baby, pop on a face mask or do something creative for a few minutes – it all adds up to feeling a bit more like yourself. More ideas here.
7. Be kind to yourself if it feels like you are moving through treacle/fog at snail’s pace. It’s totally normal to feel intense emotions like overwhelm, sadness or anxiety, not helped by those pregnancy/post birth hormones. Maybe using this next month as a time to slow down, rest and heal post birth and bond with your baby uninterrupted, or prepare mentally and physically for birth ahead.
8. Do something that makes you laugh e.g. Line up a great Netflix series, create a bank of funny videos to watch in early labour/early days, dance/sing to your favourite song etc. We had a good dance with disco lights yesterday, the toddlers loved it!
9. Plan fun things to look forward to in December, and fill that wish jar with all the wishes and dreams you have for yourself, your family and partner when it’s all over.
10. Remember that you WILL get through this. You have done it before and you will do it again. Remember all that you have achieved and gone through in the previous lockdown - perhaps you give birth at the peak of the pandemic, survived the hard first trimester of pregnancy in lockdown or went through early labour without your birth partner. Or your newborn didn’t meet your family and friends for the first few months earth side. You are AMAZING and you have got this!
I’m here if you’d like to connect with me! Get in touch to schedule a free chat for wellbeing support and advice on how to keep calm amongst the chaos. I would love to help if I can.