Can you remember the first months as a new mum?
Interestingly, when seasoned mums talk about this time, they often gloss over the struggles. I think that mums do this because we don’t carry the struggles forward with us. We mostly just carry the love. I think it is lovely that we remember things this way.
But at the same time, glossing over the struggle can make new mums feel isolated.
“No one told me it would be quite this hard. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this.”
But, honestly, you are cut out for it, and we’ve all been exactly where you are. Motherhood is intensely rewarding, but it’s equally as challenging.
Below are 5 tips to help mums, new and seasoned, improve their outlook and mental health during the difficult times. But before that, it is a good idea to consider postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety. While taking time to care for yourself may improve your outlook, these are conditions that require medical supervision. Talk to your doctor if you think you’re struggling with either PND or PNA.
Here are five things mothers can do to improve their mental health.
Join a mum’s group
Mum’s groups can offer amazing support to mothers who feel alone. They can be a place to vent about tantrums, significant others and ask questions. The key is to find the right group for you. If you’ve had a bad experience with one, don’t get discouraged. Keep looking. There are plenty of mum’s groups that meet locally or virtually, so you’re sure to find the right fit eventually. Once you do, these people will become an important part of your support network. I know they have for me.
Take a “me” day
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mum or not, you’ll probably need some time for yourself. Whenever you find the opportunity, take it! Use the time to enjoy a pedicure, massage therapy or exercise – whatever makes you happy. You’ll know it’s time when you find yourself easily losing your temper or getting emotional for no obvious reason.
Whenever you read about mums improving their mental health, the advice is usually about getting away from the kids (see #2!). But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Whenever you find moments where you’re correcting your kids’ behaviour more than usual, take a break from your routine together. Step out of your collective comfort zone. Plan something that will be (mostly) fun for all of you. Maybe it’s a bike ride, a shopping trip or a day at an adventure park. By having fun with the kids, you’re reinforcing your bond and reminding yourself why you love these little people so much.
Give yourself an hour each day
You may not find the need for quite as many getaway days if you take time for yourself daily. Try to give yourself an hour before the kids wake or after they go to sleep. During this time, do something that’s just for you. You may just sit and sip your coffee while enjoying the silence. That’s perfect. Do whatever makes you happy in the moment. Just try to avoid spending too much time with technology. Our gadgets have a way of forcing time escape from our grasps. Before you know it, your hour will be up, and you’ll wonder where it went.
Depression can sometimes be a symptom of nutritional deficiencies. Magnesium and zinc are two of many nutrients that are closely tied to mental health. Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics can also help improve or maintain your mental health. This is why it’s crucial to eat balanced meals. Picking off your kids’ plates may be okay for one meal, but it’s not a long-term solution. Turn your own diet around, and you may find that you’re better equipped to handle all the mum’ing you’re doing.
What are your best sanity-saving solutions for motherhood?
This is a collaborative post