Step away from the rice puffs and Everest-like pile of laundry – it’s time to put YOU first for a change!
While Mother’s Day is the one day of the year you’re guaranteed (cough) to have everyone else take care of you, what about the rest of the time? As mums you may let self-care slide, but let’s prioritise getting back to the best version of you, because, if nothing else, a healthy mum makes for a happier family.
Reboot your mind
According to a recent survey, more than a third of women reported mental health issues relating to parenthood – most commonly stress, anxiety and postnatal depression. We need to look after ourselves better.
Avoid burnout by making time for yourself and address any negative thoughts with positive action or asking for help. Create a regular time each week where you can be let off mum duties to meet your needs – be alone with a book, take a walk, download a mindfulness app or join a course where you can indulge one of your passions. You’re more than ‘just mum’, see?
Win the TATT battle
Tired All The Time – TATT – is the most common sleep issue. For anyone lucky enough not to know what we’re talking about, TATT is what it says on the tin: prolonged periods of fatigue or exhaustion. And it affects women more than men *gasps*! Fortunately, for mums, more sleep doesn’t necessarily fix it – you weren’t getting that anyway. Instead the main causes of TATT are lots of tearing-your-hair-out moments (where DO they come from kids?) and poor lifestyle choices – particularly wine o’clock.
Throughout the day, relieve stress by taking deep breaths to tap into the body’s natural relaxation responses. Switch the wind-down wine for a calming chamomile or green tea, and massage the acupressure point at the base of the skull, one finger’s width to the side of the spine, for three minutes, for a little pick me up. Essential oils such as peppermint, citrus and ginger are also handy instant reenergisers. Sleep is overrated anyway, right?
Get a mum diet makeover
Forget getting back in your skinnies in six weeks – we’d give anything to just muddle it through motherhood with a couple of days not encrusted with rusks and milk vomit and snacking cheese straws on the hoof. But it’s time for a rethink because their healthy choices start with what they learn from you. All mums need to make sure they get enough water, particularly if you’re breast- feeding, but drinking a glass every hour can be unrealistic when you’re tackling your multifaceted chef/cleaner/taxi driver/nanny/personal shopper/nurse/counsellor job description, so it’s a smart idea to find ways to eat your water – through soups, stews, yoghurts, fruits and vegetables, to keep levels topped up.
Keep your food choices healthy by cooking large batches of nutritious meals (get some inspiration here www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/wellbeing/nutrition/recipes/) so you have a ready supply of tasty ‘leftovers’ to heat up or pile into a wholewheat wrap. Eggs are a quick and easy protein-rich source, avocados drenched in lemon juice and black pepper are nutrient-packed and take seconds to prep, and hummus and veg dippers have saved many a sugar-crashing supermum in her time.
Reconnect with your partner
Have kids, they said. It’ll bring you closer, they said… well, yes, but sometimes closer isn’t necessarily happier, with parents reporting less relationship satisfaction after the little ones come along. While you wouldn’t change a thing, experts agree that how well you get on with your partner is the biggest predictor of happiness, and it’s the little romantic gestures and good communication that keep it going.
Make 10 minutes each day to sit down to listen to each other, a daily briefing where you and your partner talk about anything — apart from kids, work, and household tasks or responsibilities. Experts say learning new things about your partner refreshes the relationship, mimicking the emotions you felt in the first few years of marriage.
Reclaim your body
Your body’s amazing – just look at what it made! And while you can appreciate every inch of it, that doesn’t mean you have the time for fitness… but, OK, stop right there, this is EXACTLY what it means. Exercise positively affects not just your energy levels and strength, but promotes mental health, confidence and skin quality.
Try these tips for easy ways to fit exercise into a busy day or these simple ideas for working out indoors. Plus getting the kids involved will teach them healthy habits (and wear them out… just saying).
What could be a better boost to beating mummy burnout than that?
5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great Kindle Edition, Terri L. Orbuch