Following on from my previous post on loneliness in motherhood, I have finally started to make a few changes to focus on looking after my mental health each day, and I thought I would collate them together in a post to share with you, in case any of them are helpful!
I’ll start at the beginning of my day…
1. CUT DOWN ON CAFFEINE
This is something I never thought I’d say. For the majority of Lawson’s life so far, I have been fully reliant on knocking back 2 (sometimes 3) cups of coffee each day; one with breakfast and one with lunch. This has been my daily routine for over a year, and it’s only with my recent dismissal of the Slimming World diet, and my new found love for hot squash, that I’ve found myself not drinking very much coffee… Like at all… I’ve actually found that I’m not that tired during the day, and the difference it’s making to my sleep is incredible!
I’m aware that this is probably in every article about mental health ever, but I am finding that even the smallest bit of exercise is making a big difference to my headspace right now. During Lawson’s nap time, which is generally around 9.30/10am ish, I make it my first priority, before I do any cleaning or blog/YouTube work, to do a little work out. I either do Blogilates (which I would HIGHLY recommend) if I’m in the mood to sweat it out, or if I want more of a chilled vibe, I will do some Yoga with Adrienne (which I also highly recommend!) I tend to do only about 15 minutes, but it’s made a huge difference to how positive I feel.
3. SPEND LESS TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Ok so this is one that I’m still working on, but I’ve come to realise that sometimes I will come away from a good old scrolling session actually feeling pretty shit about myself. I don’t even realise I’m doing it, but with every picture I scroll past on Instagram or Facebook, something in my brain is saying “Why doesn’t my house look like that?” “Why can’t I afford to buy nice things?” “Why can’t I do make-up as good as her?” I could go on and on. I find myself getting lost in a black hole of comparison, and it is not healthy! So I’ve made the decision to cut back on my scrolling time, especially when Lawson is around.
4. LISTEN TO MUSIC INSTEAD OF WATCHING TV
I’m one of those people that has to have background noise. I just can’t be in silence, it makes me feel so uncomfortable! So it’s second nature to me to just switch the tele on, even if really quietly, just so I feel like I have some company. However, I’ve recently switched to playing music sometimes instead, and have found it has lifted my mood so much more – especially because at the moment it’s my Christmas playlist being blasted out!
5. GET OUTDOORS
Again, I feel like this is a fairly obvious one when it comes to chatting mental health, but I seriously notice such a negative impact on my mind when I stay indoors all day. I get cabin fever pretty easily (like just one day indoors sends me a bit crazy), and so I have been making an effort to go out each day, even if it’s just around the block listening to music in my headphones. Fresh air makes all the difference.
6. EAT WELL
I will be the first to put my hand up and say that I find this really hard. And by no means do I do this every day. However, recently I have been trying to make healthier food decisions like eating less meat, less processed foods, and more fruit and vegetables, and I do feel so much more positive when I do this. Making better food choices makes me feel more confident in myself, and makes me feel better physically too.
7. PRACTICE SOME KIND OF MEDITATION
This can take any form you like, it might be practicing some deep breaths, repeating some positive affirmations or actually doing a guided meditation like on the Headspace app (great app by the way!) For me, it’s prayer. I suck at remembering to pray, but every time I do, even if it’s while I’m on the loo relishing the opportunity for 2 minutes of peace to pee by myself, I feel so much better. I know this sounds weird, but I try to do this every time I sit on the toilet now, and it’s making a big difference!
8. MAKE TIME TO DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE
Each day, I now make a bit of time (usually in the evening when Lawson is asleep) to do something that I love or that is just for me. This might be as simple as painting my nails, watching a favourite YouTuber, reading a book or taking a bath. Even if it’s 5 minutes, I now make this a total priority each day and it makes me feel like I do have at least a bit of time to chill and relax!
9. LISTEN TO A PODCAST BEFORE BED
This is something I have started doing very recently, and the difference it’s made to my headspace has been amazing! I’m the sort of person that does all of her worrying and overthinking at night time, usually just before I fall asleep. I’ve noticed that this doesn’t really achieve anything other than sending me off to sleep in a less than relaxed state. So, I’ve started listening to ‘Not Another Mummy Podcast’ by Alison Perry. These are super easy to listen to, and she interviews a different guest each week. I make sure I literally just lie there and listen, not doing anything else, and I fall asleep afterwards feeling so much more relaxed and less anxious.
10. EARLY NIGHTS
I always wake up in a better mood if I know I’ve been to bed early the night before. Seems silly, doesn’t it? But it works! I now try to make sure I’m in bed at 9pm each night (she says as she writes this very post at 6 minutes past 9…), then listen to my podcast and give myself some real time to wind down. I try to avoid scrolling when it gets to this time, as it just sends my brain into a mental overload!
I hope these things have been helpful. These things have genuinely made such a huge difference to the way I think in recent weeks, so I hope they help you too!
Let me know if there’s anything you do on a daily basis to look after your mental health, I’d love to hear from you!