I was thrilled when Battersea wellbeing studio Eve and Grace asked me to be an ambassador. Marsha, who runs the studio asked me to write a piece for their blog on how I fit in my own wellbeing with being a mum. I loved writing it, hope you enjoy reading it. Let me know your tips in the comments....
The 4 things I’ve learnt about juggling wellbeing and parenthood.
Before my daughter was born my wellbeing was front and centre of my life - yoga most days, daily meditation, weekend workshops and hours of journalling. I look back now I’m a parent and can’t believe I ever complained about being busy or tired!
When Jessie was born 2 years ago I was overwhelmed with the heady mix of love and responsibility - I focussed all my time, energy and effort on her and pretty much forgot about me.
It’s so easy to do, becoming a parent is the most incredible thing in the world. But slowly my lack of self care started to tell - I found myself becoming increasingly anxious, irritable and stuck back in my well-trodden thought patterns of perfectionism, judgment and self-criticism.
I realised I had to find a way of looking after both of us.
I deeply believe I have to nourish myself to be a good mum. Looking after my wellbeing isn’t selfish or a luxury, it’s a necessity if I’m going to be the best mum I can be. But with less time and freedom it’s about integrating wellbeing into daily lives, rather than seeing it as something separate or another thing to add to the ever expanding to do list.
Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
Know what works for you - ‘wellbeing’ is totally different for each us and with less time it’s about doing the things that are going to have the biggest impact. Get to know yourself - what makes you feel great? Do you need connection with others or space to yourself? Movement or stillness? Create a wellbeing toolkit totally tailored to you. My podcast with the self care expert Suzy Reading will give you loads of practical ideas.
Managing energy - I’ve never been more tired in my life since becoming a mum, so managing my energy is key. Apart from sleep which isn’t always available (I also have some tips on that below) there’s lots of other ways I manage my energy. Diet is the obvious one but also I think about my emotional energy such as spending time with people who give and don’t drain my energy.
Take mindful moments throughout the day - Before Jessie I used to meditate 20 minutes morning and evening. That’s just not possible with a toddler so now I do 5 mins in the morning and evening when I can. I also use mindfulness throughout my day - pushing the buggy, washing Jessie’s hands (talking her through it as a guided meditation), in fact anything can be done mindfully and it’s such a powerful tool for keeping calm and connected. Anxiety Expert Chloe Brotheridge explains how it changes our brain chemistry in my podcast with her or for my 60 second meditation click here.
Sleep when you can, for as long as you can - when I don’t get enough sleep my other wellbeing tools just don’t work as well. I try to get in bed by 9pm every night, even if that means the house is a mess and the washing isn’t done. I do miss out on time with my husband - but my wellbeing is more important. I’m also a huge advocate of daytime napping (if you can) and asking for help so you can get a few more hours shut eye. Meditation will help you get to sleep quicker and have better quality sleep when you can get it. Try a guided meditation to get to sleep, there are lots of really great free ones on YouTube.