No one thrives all of the time, or is immune to mental health challenges… and being a mother brings with it a whole new dimension to how we experience the world! In Australia, around 1 in 5 women will experience depression, and 1 in 3 will experience anxiety in their lifetime*. Here are 5 simple (but not always easy) things you can do to nourish your mental wellbeing:
1) Share the struggle – We all have good and bad days. Don’t be afraid to share your challenges and what’s on your mind with others, instead of bottling things up until they spill over. Friends, family, your partner and other mothers can be great sounding boards, and you might be surprised when your openness prompts others to share their own experiences.
2) Don’t become a sucker to social media – Stop comparing your day-to-day to someone else’s highlights reel. See social media for what it really is, and if it starts to impact your life negatively, let it go for a while. Chances are you won’t miss much!
3) Make self-care a priority – Self-care isn’t indulgent, it is smart. When a mother’s cup is full, she’s better equipped to fill the cups of others. Self-care doesn’t have to mean a trip to the day spa. Consider making a list of things that truly energise you, and see how you can integrate some of these into your life, to give you a break from the seemingly endless energy expenditure of modern day parenting.
4) Give yourself a break – Make a decision to let go of any unrealistic standards that you are holding yourself too. Chances are, you’re your own worst critic! When things don’t go your way, or you mess something up, consider treating yourself as you would a close friend… with compassion and understanding.
5) Nourish and move your body – Our minds and bodies are so inextricably connected. Eating well, getting as much sleep as you can(!!) and exercising your body will all help to create the physiological conditions you need to thrive.
If you experience what you think are excessive amounts of sadness or guilt, a change in appetite, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, or you just don’t feel right, it’s important that you contact your GP or your trusted Healthcare Professional. In Australia, you can also call the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia National Helpline on 1300 726 306. Monday – Friday 9am - 7.30pm AEST/AEDT or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, 24 hrs, 7 days.