You’re sleep deprived – in fact, you haven’t slept an hour straight for three months. On top of welcoming a new baby, you’re juggling a gazillion other things: food shopping, bills, visitors and appointments. How do other mums seem to look so calm during these stressful times? Here’s how to boost your zen...
1. Stop multitasking
Prioritise your responsibilities, rather than trying to do everything immediately. ‘Focus on one or two things that are the most important and get those done first,’ says author and occupational therapist Angela Lockwood. ‘Be completely focused on what you are doing, then move on to the next thing on your list.’ Rebecca Ryan, mum and author of the book Mindfulness For Mothers (Pan Macmillan, $19.99), agrees. ‘Do one thing at a time, if you can. Multitasking can drain your energy,’ she says.
2. Streamline your tech
Grab that phone, switch it to silent and turn off all notifications – and shut that laptop down, Angela says. ‘When we are distracted, we feel pulled in every direction. Take control of how you use your time and only respond to phone calls, emails and social media when you want to,’ she explains. ‘Doing this puts you back in control. This is most important when it is rest time!'
3. Ask for help
Angela recommends when someone asks to help, take them up on their kind offer. ‘If people didn’t want to help, they wouldn’t offer,’ she explains. ‘When you offer help, you mean it, so stop feeling guilty about asking others for help.’
4. Learn from your baby
According to Rebecca, children are very mindful and we can learn that behaviour from them. ‘Children are often absorbed in the moment – when they are engaged in play, when they sing, dance, do craft, or when they are captivated by something in the natural world, like a feather or butterflies,’ Rebecca says. Joining in with your child’s play encourages this type of behaviour by allowing us to be in the moment and can also boost our feelings of calmness.
As soon as someone suggests a new mum meditate, the response is likely to be: ‘I don’t have time to mediate!’ But according to Rebecca, not finding time is why you should meditate. ‘My tip is to start today and start simply,’ she suggests. ‘Try looking for pauses in the ebb and flow of your day, and when you find a gap, take three slow, deliberate breaths.’ Rebecca believes that with some practice, you can become calm within a few minutes.