self-care

Anna is an experienced psychotherapist and Surrey-dwelling mum of boys. She specialises in motherhood and mental health and has recently co-launched Blöm Cards. She is a yoga lover, a coffee drinker and an Instagram obsessive, often found sharing her day and insights at @mamas_scrapbook.

It’s a joy to welcome Anna to the blog:

Top 3 mental health tips for busy mums

You can’t pour from an empty cup. We’ve seen it cursively written in Instagram squares and dotted over Pinterest. Let’s face it, as mums, we might have full hearts, but most of us have bone dry cups!

We exist to ensure that the needs of our children are met, that they are generally content and out of trouble. We get used to their language of need, the little nuances of their moods and emotions. But in the process, we often lose sight of our own. We spend time scrabbling to find find that mystical thing called ‘balance’, wrestling mum guilt and expending our energy on getting through the days intact.

But what about YOU? Where do your needs fit into this? Where do they get met? Do you even know what your emotional needs are? When did you last think about how you feel?

You’re not a machine. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Our culture is about being ‘okay’, being efficient, doing it all, being it all, having it all. It’s about giving out without giving up. But that’s not sustainable, and gosh, don’t I know it. Not only in my work as a Psychotherapist, but in my own life.

Here are my three top areas for you to invest in to ensure that your mental and emotional needs are being met. Spend time exploring and considering how you might invest in these areas, and I can assure you, you will lessen your chances of depression, anxiety and stress.

 

Find your tribe

It’s all well and good having an army of friends and a buzzing phone but the important thing is how much you let people know you. Really know you. That transforms friendships that are good for a rant and a laugh, into supportive relationships that will positively affect your mental health in a deeper way. I’ve got many friends I’d chat with, but a close handful of friends I talk to about the messier stuff.

Friendship is a risk. It’s a risk of vulnerability and letting people in. It’s about sharing life in all its messy richness. It’s about knowing that you were simply not made to do this thing called ‘life’ alone. It’s about showing the side of you that needs others and allowing yourself be helped.

Vulnerability enriches and deepens relationship but it takes strength and a daring to believe that you’re worth knowing. If you don’t believe it, then it takes risk to trial it, to test it, to share, to show more of yourself.

This has been my journey. It started with tentative baby steps around people I knew cared about me – sharing little bits of my inner self and being astounded that they didn’t turn and run. Each venture of vulnerability introduced me to increasing depths of friendship. Not everyone will understand you, not everyone will like you… But let yourself be known with the right people, and you’ll find a taste for the friendship that only vulnerability brings.

 

Slow down

I’m the queen of efficiency. My morning routine is akin to a choreographed dance around the kitchen. I’m a driven mess of perfectionism. My mind argues that slowing down is s an indulgent waste of time. It’s not. Intentional rest is utterly vital for mental health.

Rest is a challenge. It needs to be added into the diary so that it doesn’t get squeezed out by never-ending to-do lists. Intentional rest isn’t about collapsing onto the sofa and zoning out to the drone of a box-set, it’s about slowing down, winding down and being kind. It’s about not treating yourself like a relentless machine that you own, but something valuable that you are.

How can you introduce at least ten minutes of intentional rest into your day? Purposeful rest lowers blood pressure and calms the mind. I’m doing a month of ten minutes yoga a day and it’s been incredibly anchoring. I’m also not taking my phone into the bath! It’s the little, intentional things that refill your cup

 

Be Kind

I’m not talking about being kind to others. That’s far easier! I’m talking about being kind to yourself.

We have a constant, internal dialogue with ourselves. It’s something you may not even notice or think to change, but I believe it’s the single, most powerful conversation of our lives. It feeds directly into self-esteem, value and worth.

What tone does your internal voice take? Is it forgiving, compassionate and patient? Or is it critical, bullying and quick to anger?

Think of your lovely son or daughter. Now imagine that you heard someone speaking to them in the manner you speak with yourself. Is it okay? If they heard that dialogue day in, day out, would it benefit or damage their sense of self-worth and esteem? So, what does it do to you to hear your dialogue and to have certain messages consistently reinforced?

You need to start becoming aware of this dialogue and start talking back to the negative voice. Start introducing a kinder, more patient tone. If you have to think of the most loving person in your life, and how they would respond to you speaking out these harsh words, then imagine what they would say, and repeat itto yourself!

Openness with the right people, support from people who care about you, and investing in yourself are three vital ingredients for good mental health within motherhood. You are worth the investment, mama.

Anna x

 

Instagram: @mamas_scrapbook
Blog: www.mamasscrapbook.com
Blöm Cards insta: @blom_cards
Blöm Cards web: https://blomcards.wordpress.com/

 

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14 Responses

  1. Jacqui Paterson

    I think ‘find your tribe’ resonated the most with me. I’m a typical Capricorn – I make my friends very slowly and carefully, but once they’ve been vetted they’re friends for eternity. I’m also an extroverted introvert and a natural loner, but when I override that instinct to hide away from people, the rewards I get from those friendships always MASSIVELY outweigh any awkwardness I feel along the way.
    Jacqui Paterson recently posted…WIN! YOUR VERY OWN SUPER-SOFT MOLANG CUDDLE BUDDY // worth £16.99!My Profile

    Reply
    • Anna

      I’m an extroverted introvert too! I absolutely relate to that! I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Thank you x

      Reply
  2. Carol Cameleon

    Such wise words and never truer. I manage to get some ‘self-care’ in every day. Sometimes it’s 10 minutes, others I manage more but I absolutely to have that time every day. #BrillBlogPosts
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  3. Babes about Town

    Love the idea of intentional rest, so easy to overlook when you’re a busy mama hustla! Also totally agree with the power of a tribe, I always turn to my online and offline tribe when my resources are running low, and they definitely help me get through the rough patches. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Babes about Town recently posted…Top London Christmas Shows for Families 2017My Profile

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    • Anna

      Thank you! I think that’s it isn’t it – rest often has to be intentional to be really beneficial. It’s so easy to zone out to boxsets when you finally get some downtime. I’m glad you have a good online and offline tribe. Anna x

      Reply
  4. your DIY family

    Love this post. Every mum out there needs to read it. So well expressed and I agree with it all. We all need to be reminded of this often, especially about being kind to ourselves, so I shall keep coming back to this post. Thank you for sharing xx
    your DIY family recently posted…Simple and chic DIY Christmas tree cake toppersMy Profile

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    • Anna

      Thank you for your kind words. We absolutely have to be reminded to look after ourselves hey! It just doesn’t often come that naturally! Anna x

      Reply
  5. Joana at Mind The Mummy

    THIS! Every mum should read this post, it is so relevant and increasingly vital! We are not superwomen if we juggle everything at the same time and look away from ourselves. We are merely jugglers getting lost amid all the ball throwing. The only way we can get a proper superhero grip on things is if we restore our superpowers by connecting back to ourselves. Otherwise we will fall prey to the kryptonite that is daily life and it will consume us as we give more of ourselves to others and become depleted to the point of mental illness. Fantastic advice Anna Mathur!
    Joana at Mind The Mummy recently posted…The First Day of the Rest of Our LivesMy Profile

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    • Anna

      Yes, you’re so right! We just get lost amidst keeping everything in the air. It’s so vital to come back to ourselves. I really need to do this more often as I’ve definitely suffered a number of times, mentally, for not taking the break I need! Take care, Anna x

      Reply
  6. Juliet McGrattan

    This is a brilliant post. My favourite line is “When did you last think about how you feel?” and that doesn’t mean just acknowledging that you feel tired! Actually spending time to think about what you feel and what you need. I’m as guilty as the next for not doing this. There are so many gems of information in this post I’m bookmarking it for future reference.
    Juliet McGrattan recently posted…Sorted – eight months on …My Profile

    Reply
    • Anna

      I’m terrible for taking the time to think about how I feel. In fact, it’s so easy become desensitised to our own feelings as we constantly de-prioritise them. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you. Anna x

      Reply
  7. Michelle Reeves

    Love this Vicki and completely agree with everything Anna says – we are kind to others but relentless with ourselves and I see this often with my clients too. A great reminder at a very frantic time of you, thank you x

    Reply

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