Looking after children can turn even the most composed and organised person into a stressed out quivering mess wondering quite what it is about dinner time that makes it such a disaster. It’s only a meal you say to yourself for the hundredth time as you back yourself away from the edge. We all get stressed, we all try to manage it. But what about when stress is completely getting on top of you, and you start to feel overwhelmed. Firstly by all that you have to do, and secondly by the good old mammy guilt. Hello there mammy guilt, I had five moments to myself there, thanks for invading my thoughts. I was really enjoying that cup of tea.
Here are my top tips for conquering stress and anxiety, they might not work for you, but hopefully they might get you thinking about your own mental health and how you can best look after it. I have had postnatal depression twice and find that once I actively look after myself, it becomes less of a giant burning issue, and one that I can say that I have gotten the upper hand on.
I have recently joined a gym, but I find anything helps. If stuck for time/childcare, I stick on the radio and have a bit of a bop around the kitchen. Five minutes is enough to give myself the serotonin kick I need and its fun too. Particularly is you can get the kids involved.
As a parent, the person that you inevitably think last about is yourself. Leaving you to the leftovers, stale bread and rice cakes. I have taken to planning my meals for the week and now shop accordingly. Think about what you enjoy eating, and don’t skip meals!
I personally try not to make this food related, as I could put away five doughnuts no problem. Instead I focus on myself (try to) and might buy a new nail varnish or book. If I have an afternoon off, I have been known to by the newspaper and read it from start to finish. It’s the little things.
I try to get this in the garden either actually gardening or catching up on some rays. I prefer the latter, but a newly planted pot with some nice fresh flowers always seems to cheer me up.
Mainly at all those health articles saying that a good eight hours uninterrupted sleep is the only way to survive modern day life/loss weight/change the world. Dear editor, will you mind my baby for me while I nod off and squeeze a few hours in? She wakes every two hours even though she’s nine months old, gets up for the day at five am and cries if you lie down. Thanks.
I wish you well with managing stress and finding ways to check in with yourself. If you find that you are still overwhelmed, I advise you to check in with your GP. This has helped me greatly and was a great starting point in turning around my thinking.