Mental health is center-stage of the media at the moment- and we couldn't be happier! Sometimes, starting the discussion about your own mental health can seem overwhelming.
Opening up can seem like a road you'd rather not take, especially when you have several other minds (and bodies) to care for daily. For those busy mamas (meaning all mums) we have come up with 5 simple changes you can make to make sure your own mental health is being well looked after!
1. Take control of what goes in
I don't mean in your tummy, I mean in your mind. Try to identify what triggers your low moods or anxiety. Don't binge watch the Ted Bundy Tapes or the Madeline McCann documentary if they leave you feeling anxious. Try mum-friendly Netflix shows like Workin' Moms and The Let-Down- they won't disappoint. Don't follow Victoria Secret employees on Instagram, if they leave you feeling less than gorgeous. Follow the hashtag #bodypositive instead, to filter out toxic vibes.
2. Surround yourself with people who make you happy
Choose not to respond to sly-digs from family members or anyone who passes judgment on your parenting. Fill your friend-pool and social media feed with people who make you feel beautiful inside and out. If you find a mum who is on your level: i.e ordering a pizza because she can't be arsed cooking on that weekday where after school activities peak, try to befriend her.
If you are surrounded by those who one-up you constantly, back away slowly and look for those who build you up as a mum.
I would never advise another mum to go for a 5k run every day, as I know it's easier said than done. But an hours walk, even with one of the kids, can do wonders. Hell, just being outside can boost your mood especially in our less-than-tropic climate. Haul yourself away from household duties or your work laptop if you see a snippet of sunlight- you'll be all the better for it!
4. Practice mindfulness
I know, queue the eye-rolls. What busy mama has time to meditate? The answer is none. None of us have time to cross our legs on a mat and relax to the point of flotation. However, we can be consciously mindful for five minutes per day, to gain back some control over our minds. Check out the Headspace App or look up some mindfulness videos on youtube.
5. Find what works and try to stick to it
For some of us, our idea of self-care could be as simple as a bath or a facemask. For others, it could be an hour of me-time every night with a page-turner. You may need a house full of chaos to feel calm. Others might benefit from a full weekend to themselves once a month or a regular date-night, or look forward to an hour with a therapist every other week.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for looking after your mental health. It may take some time to find what relaxes you or, more importantly, what suits you. The most important thing is to keep your mental health a main priority, at the forefront of your mind, just as you would your physical health.
Remember, if you had broken leg or a virus you just couldn't kick, you'd be heading straight to the GP- for your sake and for that of those you love. Your mental health is NO DIFFERENT and if you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it!