An Expert's Advice on How To Conquer Motherhood Overwhelm
Finding fulfillment outside of motherhood will make you a better mom.
Many women, moms in particular, believe that self-care is an indulgent luxury that they don't have time for. But it's absolutely necessary to take care of your mental health.
Happy Sunday, Friends!
The first signs of Spring are showing themselves and it feels DAMN GOOD.
In today’s news….It’s been a hot minute since we’ve done a Q+A, so I thought it was due time.
I spoke with Peg Sadie, MA, Psychotherapist, and Resilience Coach seen in InStyle Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine and Parents Magazine (no big deal), who helps moms conquer overwhelm.
From housework to work work to parenting, we all feel overwhelmed now and again. But we definitely shouldn’t feel overwhelmed all of the time. Thankfully, Peg is giving us the goods on how to not be so god damned spastic when it comes to our To-Do lists.
You propose this idea of “radical self-care.” What is that? Can you share specific examples?
Radical self-care is the concept of prioritizing your needs above all others', something not easy for most women because society reinforces the idea that "good" mothers are self-less. But, if you're not taking care of yourself emotionally as well as physically, you could experience mommy burnout as well as harbor resentment.
Some examples of radical self-care are:
Listening to your body: Give yourself permission to rest as needed. So many moms find themselves burned out because they don't pay attention to the warning signs their body is sending them.
Schedule weekly self-care onto your calendar first, before anything else. Moms have a tendency to put themselves last and then complain they "don't have time" for self-care. This solves that problem.
Know your energy limitations and plan accordingly. For example, if you're an introvert, make sure to schedule much needed alone time onto your calendar.
Say no to anything that doesn't feel good to you. Time is your most precious commodity and it's difficult for many women to say "no" out of obligation or fear of judgement. When you say "yes" to something, you're saying "no" to something else, like spending quality time with your family or working on that novel you've been wanting to write. It's much easier to rationalize the "no" if you look at the ROI or big picture.
Prioritize your wants, needs, dreams and goals without guilt. Finding fulfillment outside of motherhood will make you a better mom.
What are some ways moms can take care of their mental health?
Ensuring you get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet. Inadequate sleep and poor nutrition are both directly linked to increased anxiety and depression.
Reduce stress by simplifying your processes, like meal planning/shopping in advance or automating bill payments.
Detox your relationships by limiting interactions with people who don't support you or enhance your life. You'll know who they are by paying attention to how you feel when you spend time with them. Do you feel drained and anxious? Or happy and peaceful?
The amount of clutter you have (even if you can't see it) can directly affect your physical and mental health. You're more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, weight gain, headaches, and insomnia than those who routinely get rid of their excess stuff.
Outsource when possible. There are always going to be seasons that are more difficult than others in motherhood. If you're able to outsource certain household duties (like hiring a housekeeper or using a meal delivery service) to reduce stress and allow for more quality time with your family, I highly recommend it.
Being a mom can feel incredibly isolating. How do you help your clients deal with this new feeling when they become mothers?
Create a mental health plan prior to giving birth which could include:
Joining a mommy group or baby and me yoga class. Making sure to get outside every day with the baby stroller. This can really make a positive difference in your mood. Reduced levels of vitamin D, which can be gained from sun exposure, are linked to depression and anxiety.
Staying connected to friends plays a huge role in maintaining your maternal mental health. Even if it's just a weekly phone call with your bestie. Also, you may not feel like going out because you're tired or don't feel your best...but the time apart can help stave off resentment and will actually make you a better mom in the long run.
Something to keep in mind is that it's not the number of people you socialize with but the feeling of connection that's important. People who feel more deeply connected to others are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
The sooner you get back to enjoying the things you did before, like exercise, socializing, and favorite hobbies, the easier it will be to adjust to your new normal.
If you could give mothers of young children one piece of advice, what would it be?
Ask for help and share your struggles with those you trust. So many moms suffer in silence while they're drowning in overwhelm and it can lead to self-isolation, depression, and anxiety.
I also encourage my clients to limit their social media usage. It's easy to feel bad about your life when you're looking at others' highlight reels. It's just not real life.
Also, trust your gut instinct. Women undervalue their gift of "knowing" or intuition. If a decision doesn't feel right in your body, there's a reason. Ultimately, nobody knows what's best for your child more than you, not even the experts.
Thank you for reading and continuing to support my work. You guys are the best.
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Be you. A more in control of your life you.
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