What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it was different (whether that is good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant).
This is easier said than done when you have a new born and, perhaps, a toddler to mind and attend to their every needs.
But, the needs of the Mum are paramount. The mantra “May I be filled with loving kindness for myself as a mother” is something that should be thought in pre-natal classes. Being a Mum is one of the hardest jobs you will ever experience. Yes, we may have partners that are very supportive, loving and kind, but no one, except you, truly understands the fears, the worries, the guilt, am I doing it right, why doesn’t my baby stop crying, am I any good, I am so tired I cannot think, I am so anxious and stressed, look at my flabby belly etc etc. So, how can mindfulness help YOU !!!
Firstly, drop the GUILT. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give yourself (most importantly) and your baby/toddler. There is no way you can be the perfect mother but there are many ways you can be a good mother….and remember that YOU are.
Mindfulness is attending to the present moment without, judgment, even if it means the washing is still in the machine and this morning’s dishes are still in the sink. You are doing the best you can in this present moment. Just have an appreciation of yourself.
If in the present moment you are feeling anxious or stressed what can you do to alleviate those feelings ?
- Take a mindful break – stop, notice, accept and pay attention to your breath. Notice your body sensations – are your shoulders raised, is your jaw tight or are you feeling tension in your tummy area. Is your breath shallow? This mindful break may be only two minutes but in those two minutes you have brought your attention back to yourself. You are acknowledging how you are feeling and, if possible, show compassion to those feelings. By placing your hand over your heart area and taking slow deep breathes, ensuring your out- breath is longer than your in-breath, will help to calm you down.
- Hugging your child – take three synchronised deep breathes together. Drop your shoulders and relax any muscle that may feel tight. Let go and feel the tension melt away. A great one to teach your toddler. You will both benefit.
- Take a coffee/tea break – I mean a real one ! Not one on the go ! Maybe your baby or toddler is napping. It is now time to enjoy that cuppa. Sit in a comfortable chair, hold the cup in both hands, smell the drink and take the first sip, mindfully. Really savour the moment. Imagine each sip is allowing your body to relax. Again, this may be only 2 or 3 minutes, but it will be worth it.
- Sleep when you can. 5/10 minute power nap will renew you, giving your body permission to relax.
- Practice patience and compassion for your body. Your amazing body has cradled and nurtured your baby for 9 months. Yes it may be flabby or loose but just honour it and know that in time it will recover.
- Fresh air – never underestimate the benefit of fresh air and having a walk……one of nature’s best medicines.
- Talking to a friend who understands – the best feeling ever !
- Some mantras that you may wish to say during the day. Mantras helps the mind to shut off the constant chatter or negative thinking we all like to undertake as mothers!
“I am always doing my best”
“I will try again tomorrow”
“I have everything I need right now”
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – never be afraid to ask for help if you are unable to cope or having a really bad day. That simple hug, 20 minutes in the bath or going for a walk on your own may be just what you need to come back to yourself. Remember you may be a Mum, but you are also YOU.
NOW, let us enjoy a moment of self care.
Counsellor/Psychotherapist – 085 1828041