Beccy and Alexis share their favourite 10 instant mood lifts for new mums:
Sometimes it can feel like life is coming at us from every direction. If and when you feel this way, stop what you are doing and take 5 glorious ocean breathes to calm the overwhelm and lift your mood. Close your eyes and relax your shoulders. Visualise the sea washing up gently onto the shore. Breathe in through your nose and imagine the sea being sucked back from the shore, then open your mouth and breathe out (like you would if you were trying to see your breath in the air on a frosty day) and imagine the sea lapping up onto the beach.
It may be that you have not even noticed that you are feeling the discomfort of dehydration. Pour yourself a lovely big glass of refreshing cold water, perhaps adding fresh fruit, mint or cucumber to jazz it up.
Lavender is a natural sedative and can be calming when inhaled. Place one drop of lavender oil, plus one drop of carrier oil (such as a quality cooking oil from your kitchen) rub together in the palm of your hand, then cup your hands over your nose and mouth, close your eyes, and inhale!
A good cry can help your body release stress hormones and may actually flush out toxins. There is even research to suggest that our tears may contain different chemicals depending on the reason we are crying.
Sometimes motherhood can feel isolating. Keeping in touch with your tribe can lift your mood immediately. Pick up the phone, call on someone who makes you feel held and nurtured. Having a laugh or a cry with someone who just ‘gets you’ will remind you that you are absolutely not alone on your motherhood journey.
The environment you are in will have an effect on how you are feeling. If you are exhausted and your day is feeling dark and a little bleak, throw open the shutters/curtains and let some uplifting light in. If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, you may benefit from turning the lights down and making your surroundings feel cosy and calm.
Whether it be a dance, stretch, run up your stairs or star jumps in the garden (if your pelvic floor is up to it!) just get your body jiggling and you are likely to feel the benefits very quickly.
Putting your favourite tunes on can turn around the way you are feeling. If your mood is a little flat why not bring out the big tunes of your youth, especially music attached to uplifting memories. Those forgotten songs of the nineties and noughties will take you on a fun little journey down memory lane.
If the walls just feel like they are closing in around you and you are starting to get cabin fever then step outside for some natural light and fresh air. You don’t have to go far. It may just be a wander into your garden, or a brisk walk around the block but changing your surroundings can instantly lift the funk you may have found yourself in.
We’re not saying shut off and don’t respond to baby, on the contrary, a crying baby often needs to be held and jiggled and cuddled, but the high pitch and noise of their cry can be very stressful and make us release cortisone – a stress hormone which leaves us feeling frazzled. Pop some earplugs in, and you will soften the noise of the cry and feel instantly calmer, whilst still dishing out the much-needed mama hugs.
Excerpt from The Little Book of Self Care for New Mums by Beccy Hands & Alexis Stickland (Vermillion, £12.99).
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