How’s your Mental Health, Mama?
“I don’t feel down everyday, so I shouldn’t seek help”.
“She’s got it so much worse than me and she “manages”, so I won’t reach out for support”.
“I should just harden up, I wanted kids”.
“My parents managed, so I should just get on with it and stop complaining”.
Any of these sound familiar?
The Way you Feel Matters.
Your mental health matters. There will always be someone better or worse off than you – that does not make you any less deserving of help and support.
We each have different triggers, different levels of how much stress we can handle. We CANNOT compare ourselves to others. We don’t always know the full story, we don’t know their past, we don’t know their children, we don’t know their relationships, their financial situation, or how their physical and mental health is currently.
Focus on YOU, Mama. How are YOU feeling? If you are struggling, in any way, no matter how big or small. Reach out. Reach out and NEVER be afraid to ask for support. Motherhood is HARD. There is no denying that, so let’s all support each other, instead of comparing and judging. Reaching out for support is incredibly strong, do not be afraid to ask for what you need.
Here are a few ways to check in with your mental health:
1. Check in with yourself, how do you feel, really? Carve out some alone time and sit with your thoughts, journal, or chat with a close friend, whom you can share anything with. Get it all out. Name the emotion you are feeling, allow it to be. Accept that is how you are feeling right now.
2. Now that you know HOW you feel, let’s look at the WHY? Are you stressed? Why? Is it because you are saying yes to everything and everyone and getting overwhelmed? Is it because you are finding it hard being a first time Mum, but are too scared to ask for help, in case of judgement, so you keep going, getting more and more stressed? Are you exhausted? Why? Is it because you are staying up for 3 hours after baby has gone to bed, then getting up for the night feeds, then doing everything during the day, looking after baby, cleaning, cooking, then doing the night-time routine? Dig deep, and find the root cause. Keep asking why, until you get to the root cause of the emotion you are feeling.
3. Now that you know why you are feeling the way you are, you can take steps to improve your situation. If it’s exhaustion, can you go to bed earlier, or ask your partner and friends or family for support? Can you cook big batches and freeze them for you and baby? What can you do to reduce stress? To improve sleep? To feel better? What can you minimise or eliminate? What can you ask for support with? Start saying no, setting boundaries with yourself and others. Feel empowered to do what you need to do to improve your mental health. Writing down what increases and decreases your stress may help, then you can easily look at it and see what you can reduce or eliminate!
4. We are all individuals and it is important to find ways to nourish your mental health that work for YOU. Everyday, find small moments to do things you love, to care and nurture yourself, mind, body and soul. It may be a walk, alone in nature, yoga, meditation, a coconut milk hot chocolate, reading a good book, listening to a podcast, a massage, watching a funny movie, making an epic salad. What do these small moments look like for you? How many small moments can you fit into your day, for moments of joy, just for you? Injecting mindful moments into our day and being present, can really help to shift us out of our heads.
5. Who can you ask for support? Friends? family members? your partner? Your Dr? Other Mums in your playgroup? An outside support service like Healthline? A Coach? A counsellor? There are many ways we can be supported. Reach out and find the support that YOU need, at this point in YOUR Motherhood journey.
Just as we check in with our physical health, we must regularly check in with our mental health. Try and make it a habit of checking in with yourself each morning or evening, before you go to bed. How am I feeling? Am I coping right now? Could I do with tweaking some things in my life to better support me? Do I need to reach out for a bit of support right now? What can I do to look after my mental health right now?
From the bottom of my heart, I want you to know that it is ALWAYS ok to feel the way you feel. You got this, Mama!