Self Care Do’s and Don’ts for New Mums

Self care is such a big term right now and the need to look after ourselves but what do we really mean by it?

Why do we need to care about self care?
1. You cannot be the best parent you can be if you don’t have your own needs met
2. We are meant to share parenting in communities and tribes not on our own
3. Life is busy – we are overloaded juggling motherhood, work, relationships, friends, constant noise from screens/social media and our brains are frazzled
4. We have never parented so much – we now spend TWICE as much time with our kids as the typical 1960s housewife
How can you integrate self care?
Self care does not need to be complicated or something else to add to your to do list – it’s incorporating lots of little habits of wellbeing into your everyday life.
Here’s some ideas to think about
DO’s
• Eating well – it’s easy to end up eating rubbish food when you’re stressed/bored/fed up/exhausted. Whilst that might satisfy an immediate need, it can make you feel worse.  We know that the gut can influence the brain so think about what your brain needs to function well.
• Silence – motherhood can mean that our brains are frazzled from constant noise of kids, tv, social media.  Spend time each day in silence.  Just a few minutes of mindful silence will allow your brain to stop processing.  Maybe try this in this morning, or if your kids sleep or rest at lunchtime.  Or in the car before you leave work or pick up your kids from nursery.  Literally noticing a few minutes of silence.
• Journaling  – journaling has so much evidence behind it and how effective it can be. Use it as a place to allow your feelings to come to the surface, to notice what’s bothering you, to write your goals and affirmations, to keep your gratitude list.  Spend 5-10 mins each day doing this and you will see huge improvements in how you feel.
• Exercise – we all need exercise a few times a week.  It doesn’t need to be complicated.  There’s loads of home workouts and yoga classes on youtube/online as well as in person classes. And of course, you can’t beat a walk in nature.
• Friends and family – make time for friends and family in person each and every week.  Even if you can’t physically see them, pick up the phone and chat, have a zoom call, make plans.  We are social creatures and we need conversation.
• Learn how to regulate your nervous system – the demands of motherhood can lead to a nervous system that’s completely dis-regulated leaving you feeling frazzled, burned out and exhausted. Learn EFT/Meditation/Breath work/Yoga Nidra and other many approaches and integrate these into your daily life.  There’s loads of resources available on line.
• Learning to say no – it’s ok to say no, not feel that you need to do everything and prioritise yourself.  We are brilliant at putting other people ahead of ourselves and it can impact us.  Get comfortable learning to say no.
• Leaving it till tomorrow – leave things to tomorrow is allowed – emails, messages, people, housework etc can wait.  And equally releasing that expectation from others that they must reply immediately.
• Sleep – our sleep can be affected with babies and toddlers who don’t sleep more than 2 hours in a row… prioritise your sleep and rope in help so you can get sleep and catch up during the day.
• Zone out – books, films, binge-watching series on Netflix are all good for your mental wellbeing – don’t ever feel guilty for prioritising some zone out time over replying to those emails
DON’Ts
• Alcohol – a lot of us can turn to alcohol as both a stress management tool and a way to unwind yet we know alcohol can be damaging to our mental wellbeing.  If you’re feeling stressed, use other stress relieving tools rather than turning to alcohol.
• Screen time – we are all so connected to our phones and yes they serve a purpose as well as allow us to keep in touch with our mum friends. They also can make us feel pretty rubbish and detrimental to our sleep. Try to have some phone free days and def no phones overnight.

Keeping you well is one of the least selfish things you can do – self-care is so vital – after all, we all know the saying – ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup.’

If you’re a mum who is feeling frazzled and burned out, chat to  Tricia Murray and find out what support she can offer you to help you feel better.