5 Self-Care Practices for Mums to Prioritise Their Mental Health

Being a mum can be overwhelming at times, especially in those early days, so it's essential to prioritise your maternal mental health. As Giovanna Fletcher's motto goes, 'Happy mum, happy baby,' and she's not wrong. 

Here are five self-care practices you can incorporate into your daily routine. 

Get Out and About With Your Baby

Getting outside for some fresh air can be crucial to your mood. Even if it's a stroll with the pushchair, exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve mental health. A baby carrier is an excellent investment for a hands-free walk; while caring for yourself, you also get to bond with your little one. 

Connect With Other Mums

Friends are a brilliant support network, and local baby groups are a great way to meet like-minded mothers. This can be a scary prospect for many. I've blogged about how hard I've found making new mummy friends, especially with a reflux baby, but it's worth a try, and even finding just one friend can make a big difference to your mental health. 

If you're pregnant and reading this, NCT is another good way to make new friends. I'm still in touch with my NCT girls six years later. Worried about finding people on your level? Don't. You'll find you have your children in common, and that's a great place to start when it comes to friendship. 

Connecting with other mums online via Instagram or Facebook support groups like our Jellie group Up Around The Clock and Your Baby Club's Facebook community is also worth doing. These online platforms provide ideal places to dip a toe in the new mummy world you find yourself in. 

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Practice Self-compassion

Under self-compassion comes mindfulness, getting sleeping and knowing when to take a break. All of these things are key for keeping your mental health in check. 

Mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing can help you reset after a stressful moment or day. I know that time isn't on your side with a newborn, but try to snatch a few minutes just to breathe – even if it's just when you're brushing your teeth. There are so many apps to help you get the hang of it. (White noise, sleep sounds, music, lullabies, stories, etc.!) I love CALM for its meditations and bedtime stories, and lots of CALM content will be helpful for your baby too.

Trrrrry your best to get some sleep. And ignore annoying pieces of advice, especially that old adage "sleep when the baby sleeps," which is quite frankly ridiculous if you're running a busy home, trying to keep your business going (did I mention I didn't take a mat leave?!) or just coping with the upheaval of a new baby and all those emotional ups and downs the fourth trimester tends to bring. 

Set Boundaries 

As a mother, it can be easy to put everyone else's needs before your own. Still, it's essential to set boundaries to protect your mental health. Learning to say "no" is an important skill and necessary for you to make time for what you really want to do.  

Ask For Help 

I remember when Maddie was around a month old, and her reflux was in full swing. She screamed from 10 am – 5 pm one day. My husband worked in London, and I was alone in the house. I didn't feel I could ask anybody for help because I thought I should be able to cope with my own baby. As the day went on, I slowly started to lose the plot, ended up in tears too, and at about 4.40 pm, I called my mum and dad, who live about 25 minutes away. I didn't have to say much; as she instantly sensed my situation and said, "We're on our way. " She put the phone down and arrived on my doorstep in record time, just at the point when I thought I couldn't take any more. 

Mum lifted Maddie out of my arms, and instantly, she stopped crying. I breathed in and said a prayer of relief. "You should have called us sooner." She said. Lesson learned. Sometimes you need to lean on those around you. If you have somebody you can call, call them.  

If you're struggling with your mental health, don't be afraid to seek professional help. Your GP or health visitor can refer you to a mental health specialist. 

PANDAS Foundation – UK-based community offering peer-to-peer support for you and your family.

Mind – a mental health charity that provides information, advice, and support for anyone experiencing mental health problems.

Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is a network of over 100 organisations dedicated to ensuring women and families affected by perinatal mental health problems have access to high-quality, comprehensive perinatal mental health care. 

NHS – the NHS provides various services to support parents experiencing mental health problems, including talking therapies and medication.

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