How to beat the Winter Blues as a new parent...
I don't know about everyone else, but this year winter has felt REALLY LONG,
and when you're spending a lot of time taking care of a small human, things can feel particularly overwhelming. Especially as we're not able to bask in the sunshine, and even things like laundry seem to take forever...
After speaking to many new parents and from my experience as a post natal teacher, I've put together a few ideas that will inspire you to keep going until the Spring brightens up our days.
Take a walk outside
The weather isn't always great for it if you're a fairweather walker, particularly with the recent floods and storms that we've been experiencing, but leaving the house behind for a change of scene can sometimes quite literally put you in a different headspace, and sometimes that's all it takes.
Not only that, but elevating our heart rate slightly can help promote those much needed endorphins, and is a gentle way to support postnatal recovery, building core strength and increasing stamina and mobility.
Mindfulness is about being present with yourself in any given moment. Noticing your current thoughts and feelings, and sensations that you are experiencing. By observing your streams of consciousness, you can observe patterns, and also viewing them in an objective way, you can start to recognise which of these may be helpful or unhelpful, and being able to take a step back stops you from being totally all consumed in those moments.
There are a lot of apps, videos, and self-help books now available, or if you fancy, pop along to a Mother & Baby Yoga Class, where there is some mindful breathing through each session to offer you some space amongst a community on a similar journey to you.
Go for coffee
Again, it's that change of scene, but sometimes having something that you enjoy or being just a little bit indulgent can create some space that you need to breathe. This gets harder as your baby gets older, obviously, but if you can time it around their naps, you can enjoy that headspace in peace, or better still, thrash out your thoughts with a loved one and put the world to rights.
Parent & Baby Groups
The best place to meet other parents experiencing a similar journey to you is at your local parent & baby groups, and there's a lot to choose from. From stay and plays, to baby massage, to mother & baby yoga, to music groups and sensory classes, you can be sure that you'll find something to suit both you and your baby.
Parenting can feel isolating, so it's important not to feel like you're doing it alone, and finding others on the path can create some of the most rewarding connections. Some liken it to finding a tribe, but whatever you call your network, having people to lean on, and sharing some of those emotions when things are tricky can make a difference.
Of course, sometimes, with all of the strategies and support in the world, things can still be too much, and it's important to recognise that we should actively speak up about our feelings, and keep an eye on our loved ones around us too.
To access additional support, please speak to your GP, Health Visitor, or call 111, or there are helplines available for you to access (some are listed below). Please don't hesitate to call 999 in an emergency.
Samaritans (open 24/7): 116 123
MIND (9am-6pm Monday-Friday): 0300 123 3393
PANDAS (9am-8pm everyday): 0808 1961 776