This week is Maternal Mental Health Matters Week. It’s a week dedicated to raising awareness of maternal mental health and supporting women and families affected by perinatal mental ill-health. As part of Maternal Mental Health Matters Week I’m joining forces with one of my best blogging buddies, Rachel from Mummy in Training, to bring you our top ten self-care techniques. Rachel and I will each be sharing our five favourite self-care techniques. So you’ll only be able to get the full list of 10 self-care tips by heading over to Rachel’s blog post, here.
My Top Self-Care Techniques
As a mother, there are always many plates to spin and different hats to wear. You’re often being pulled in a million and one directions. And everyone needs you. You are the foundation and cornerstone of your family. The person that you children depend on the most. You need to be well and operating at 100%.
But this is almost impossible. The many stresses and strains of parenthood mean that we’re often running on empty. Throw in sleepless nights and perinatal mental ill-health. And you have a mother who desperately needs to prioritise her needs. A mother who needs some self-care.
However, it can be hard to know where to start. Self-care often feels like something you just don’t have time for. It is not a priority and takes up too much time. So Rachel and I have produced this list of 10 easy self-care techniques.
These techniques are easy to do. You can do them while the baby naps. Or perhaps you can find half an hour during your day to concentrate on yourself and put your needs first.
These are my top five self-care techniques:
1. Gentle exercise
I’m not talking about going outside and running a half marathon. But if you’re feeling low then doing some gentle exercise can really lift your mood. And if you’re not feeling in the mood to raise your heartbeat, then you could always spend 10 minutes stretching.
Or, you could do as I do, and follow a YouTube video. I like to do this first thing in the morning, while the children are eating their breakfast. Exercising sets me up for the day and it makes sure that I’m up and about (rather than lying on the sofa).
My favourite exercise YouTube channels include different length workouts for a variety of levels. So even if you are a complete beginner and only have 10 minutes to spare, they’ll be an exercise video for you. For yoga, I love Yoga With Adriene. Whereas I often find cardio workouts on Bodyfit by Amy. Amy has also produced exercise videos for pre and post-natal. Which makes this channel a great choice for a mum.
2. Watch Your Favourite Film
As much as I love reading a great book, sometimes you just want to lose yourself in a good film. And I find there is something very comforting about watching your favourite film. Nothing is going to shock you and it’s just like seeing an old and very good friend.
When I was really ill in my early 20s, I could easily spend days re-watching Sliding Doors, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones’ Diary and While You Were Sleeping. All completely inoffensive and lovely films. And watching them was like being given a big hug.
So snuggle down on your sofa, with your drink of choice and watch your favourite film.
3. Switch Off
We now live in a world where we are constantly switched on. Social media and the internet mean that you can never fully relax. And for many people, trawling through social media can be detrimental to their mental health.
If you can manage it then hide your phone for an evening and switch off from social media. Leave your phone in a different room from the one you’re in. And leave it there when you go to bed.
If this all seems quite extreme, then try switching off from social media for 30 minutes. Then over the next few nights increase the time you have away from Facebook or Instagram. There are even a number of apps that can stop you accessing social media for a certain amount of time.
Use the time that you would normally have spent on Facebook wisely. Instead, do something that you really love to do or take up a new hobby. Colour, read, watch a film, nap, knit, crochet or write in a journal. Do the things that make you happy.
4. Leisurely Bath
This is definitely one of my favourite things to do when I’m feeling in need of some self-care. I run myself a hot and luxurious bath. I will fill it with relaxing bath oil or bubble bath. I will then lie back and read my book or just appreciate the silence and think.
And my final top self-care technique it to let your inner Beyoncé out and sing and dance. This has the added benefit of being something fun that you can do with the kids. And if they are anything like my children then they will love it.
Dancing and singing is not only great fun. But it’s also brilliant exercise and floods your body with healing oxygen. It will have you smiling before you can say, Taylor Swift!
So there you have it! Five fabulous and easy self-care techniques. Please remember to head over to Rachel’s post and read her top five self-care techniques. You can also follow Rachel on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or alternatively you can read about Rachel’s story of baby loss which she shared on My Rainbow Baby.
What are your favourite self-care techniques?