Becoming a mum is the most amazing experience in the world, it’s also the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Lack of sleep, lots of outside advice plus doing everything for the first time is a tricky combination that can send even the most chilled of us into a spin of anxiety and fear. One thing I learnt early on in my journey of motherhood was that I had to learn how to fit in looking after my baby girl AND me. I’m still learning (every day) but here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
‘wellbeing’ is totally different for each us and with less time it’s about doing the things that are going to have the biggest impact. Get to know yourself – what makes you feel great? Do you need connection with others or space to yourself? Movement or stillness? Create a wellbeing toolkit totally tailored to you. My podcast with the self care expert Suzy Reading will give you loads of practical ideas.
MANAGE YOUR ENERGY
I’ve never been more tired in my life since becoming a mum, so managing energy is key. Apart from sleep which isn’t always available (I also have some tips on that below) there’s lots of other ways to manage your energy. Diet is the obvious one (avoiding too much sugar and caffeine, however tempted you might be) but also think about emotional energy such as spending time with people who give and don’t drain your energy. Start jotting down how you feel after interacting with certain people (especially new mum friends) if you feel drained after being with them, it could be a good idea to limit how much you see them. After all, your energy is precious.
TAKE ‘MINDFUL MOMENTS’ THROUGHOUT THE DAY
It’s such a buzz word, but for good reason – meditation and mindfulness can have an incredibly positive impact on almost every area of our lives. But sitting meditation, or any ‘formal’ practice just isn’t possible with a new baby so I recommend using mindfulness throughout the day – pushing the buggy, washing the latest set of sick-stained clothes…. in fact anything can be done mindfully and it’s such a powerful tool for keeping calm and connected. Something as simple as 3 deep breaths, with focus on the inhale and exhale can send a signal to your body and mind to relax.
SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN, FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN
I’m not going to tell you to sleep when your baby sleeps, as everyone says that, and for some of us it’s just not possible. But I will tell you to focus on the quality of your sleep when you can get it. Managing your mental wellbeing when you’re awake is the first step to doing this, dealing with troubling things whilst you’re awake, so they are less likely to churn around your mind whilst you’re trying to sleep. Meditation will also help you get to sleep quicker and have better quality sleep when you can get it. Try a guided meditation to get to sleep, there are lots of really great free ones on YouTube or try the Calm App.
Find Zoe on Instagram @motherkind.co
Email her firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to The Motherkind Podcast here