SELF CARE – the things you do to replenish your mental, physical and emotional health or “filling up your cup”.
When I first became a mum, all I could think of was my baby and his wellbeing. I also felt guilty if I was not 100% focussed on him. Ultimately, I forgot to take care of myself. Part of my recovery from postnatal depression was to think of self-care strategies that I could use particularly when my “cup” was starting to empty. Here are a few that I turn to:
People who know me, know that I am not a fan of exercise. However, I do enjoy taking our dog for a walk to the local park. We usually meet other dog walkers there and it makes me happy seeing him play and run around with the other doggies. Another thing I do which I never thought I would enjoy is yoga. I find the breathing exercises and different postures help me to stay focussed and de-clutter my mind. My favourite classes at the moment are power flow and yin.
In the past, I would never leave Leo out of my sight – this meant putting him in a bouncer and bringing him into the bathroom with me while I showered. As I started to recover, I really started to enjoy showering alone. Having that space to myself allows me to switch off. Some nights, I also love to put on a facial mask (nothing too expensive), soak my feet in a small tub of bubbles, and watch an old episode of Friends.
Those who know me, know that I love my RnB – hello Fox FM’s RnB Fridays! I make any excuse to get in the car with Leo and we (mainly me) bop along to the music. I am also a closet Taylor Swift fan and will put her music on when I am doing mundane tasks like folding the washing. In fact, Taylor Swift’s Shake it off was one of the first songs I really enjoyed when I started to feel better!
ASKING FOR HELP
I still find this difficult, but I am definitely so much better at it than I was in the past. I get help with the cooking, whereby, family will cook us lunch or dinner. I get help with babysitting so that I can go to my appointments or go out for dates. I also find calling my family and friends and having a good chat, particularly when I am having a bad day, really helps. I do believe in the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and I only wish I had asked for help sooner.
SPEAKING TO A PROFESSIONAL
For me, this means once a month or sometimes once a fortnight, I will meet with my psychologist for an hour. Having that hour to talk to my psychologist helps make meaning of all my thoughts and feelings. I am usually reluctant to go prior to the session, but afterwards I am grateful I went.