Having children and being a mum really is one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most challenging, jobs in the world.
There are so many days where there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours to get everything done. Days where you feel like your moving through a fog due to sleep deprivation, and where there are way too many things to do while you are caring for a little person who is completely dependent upon you.
And, even when they’re not babies anymore, there really is no time for rest, no holidays as you knew them, and, well, the show must go on!
It’s not surprising that sometimes you can feel overwhelmed and stressed!
When we feel overwhelmed, upset or stressed, our breathing can become quick and shallow. Taking the time to stop and breathe deeply will instantly calm you down both mentally as well as physically. It will help relax your entire body, and, once you have calmed yourself, you are better able to cope with what you need to do or work out how to move forward.
What are some of the signs that I’m stressed?
We all display the signs of stress differently. Shallow, quick breathing is one sign. However, here are other signs to look out for:
- Muscle tension, particularly in the jaw and shoulders
- Difficulty coping
Simple Breathing Exercise – “Five, Five, Five, Five”
Find a comfortable position. You can sit, stand or lie on your back or side. And you can hold your little one while doing this exercise.
If you like and it is possible, close your eyes.
Breathe in through your nose, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Now hold your breath, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Then, breathe out gently through your lips as if blowing through a straw, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
With every breath out, relax your body a bit more.
Repeat this longer breath five times, feeling the release and relaxation with every breath.
If initially counting to five is too much, especially when holding your breath, then start with three counts and work up to five counts.
Ok, so, I took some long deep breaths, but what else can I do?
1. Introduce some mindfulness or meditation into your day
Take 5 to 10 minutes each day, either when you wake or before you go to sleep, to simply be still and breath. It is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
There are so many wonderful guided mediation apps available now, with my favourite being Smiling Mind , that it really is easy to integrate a few minutes each day. Other apps that I have liked to use are Calm and Headspace.
And, for those Mumas-To-Be (and Dads-To-Be) there is another beautiful guided mediation app, Mind The Bump that has been developed by Smiling Mind and beyondblue to help individuals and couples support there mental health and wellbeing as they go on this amazing journey of becoming a new parent.
I’ve never been one to be able to stop, be still and quieten my mind. But this year I realised it was something that I needed to include in my day. And, from my experience over the past few months, it really has improved my ability to cope with my daily stresses and challenges, reduced my anxiety, helped with my perspective on life, and, when I do it before I sleep, I believe it has contributed to the quality of my sleep improving.
2. Be thankful each day
Sometimes, when you’re overwhelmed, anxious or stressed, it really is hard to be positive or focus on the good things that are happening in your life.
However, taking the time to be in the moment and feeling gratitude for something in your day, however big or small, will make your heart smile or make you feel a sense of accomplishment, both of which will support your mental and physical wellbeing.
A smile from your child, a new milestone by your little one, the sun shining or the simple fact that you woke up to a new day (it’s certainly better than the alternative!)
3. Focus on one task at a time
We always think that to be the perfect mum, you have to be able to be ‘multi-tasker extraordinaire’! But, as you probably know, when the brain isn’t functioning quite as well as it has previously, just completing one task can be a challenge, let alone two or three at a time.
So, give yourself a break, and try and complete just one task before moving onto the next. It will give you a sense of achievement, and, I can almost guarantee that you will be as efficient as before, if not more efficient!
4. Enjoy the benefits of essential oils
Last year, I was introduced to the beautiful therapeutic benefits of doTERRA® Essential Oils. The power of pure, natural, aromatic oils can really contribute to supporting your emotional and physical health and wellness.
And, though I am still exploring the different ways these oils can contribute to supporting my health and wellness, I have found that the simple action of diffusing a calming and balancing blend of these gorgeous oils, such as Lavender, Frankincense and Wild Orange, have really helped to bring me a sense of calm when I really am struggling (especially during the evening “witching hours”!)
These therapeutic grade oils provide a palette of aromas, which can assist in energising, calming, healing, balancing, uplifting or any other therapy you are seeking.
If you’d like to learn more about doTERRA® and explore natural solutions to support you and your family’s health and wellness, please do not hesitate to contact me.
5. Seek help
“Perinatal anxiety and depression is common, does not discriminate and has many faces. Up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men experience antenatal depression and up to 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men postnatal depression…The earlier help is sought the better the outcome for mother, infant and family unit” – PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia)
If you are not able to deal with your stress, anxiety or depression, it is ok to seek help, and, there is help out there.
If you don’t feel you can speak to a friend or family member, speak with your GP, your Child Healthcare Nurse or contact an organisation like PANDA, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, who provide a national helpline which you can contact:
Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm (AEDST)
Tel: 1300 726 306
There are also organisations, such as beyondblue and Lifeline, who are able to provide support:
Remember, your babies are only little for a short time, so, try and enjoy the precious, happy moments, and know that the challenging times will pass. Take the time to breathe slowly and deeply when things are getting hard and you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
And, if that is not working, make sure you talk to someone or seek the help that you need. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to look after yourself. In fact, taking the time to care for yourself and seek help if you need it will lead to you being a happier, healthier mum. And it will have a positive impact on your relationships with your child, your partner and your friends and family.
Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.