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Feeling Tired and Overwhelmed? Time for a Reboot

The sun’s out, you’ve managed to get dressed and leave the house for a walk.  Your baby seems warm enough and calm. So why aren’t you beaming from ear to ear giving yourself a mental high five?

The truth is you’re too exhausted to celebrate!  Even if you had a pretty good night last night you’re still catching up on the zzzzz’s from last week aren’t you?  You’re feeling pretty overwhelmed with the non-stop needs of your baby and your household and the intense feelings of concern for your baby’s welfare that arrived at conception and only seem to intensify.

You might feel like no-one else quite understands what you’re experiencing and you’re worried you’re not doing enough.

We want you to know we hear you!  You are not alone in what you’re feeling, and we’ve all been there at some point.

What you’re feeling isn’t uncommon but it’s a long way from ideal. We want to help you get through this period, and start to more often feel that you’re flourishing as a mum!  So here are some ideas for when you’re tired, stressed and overwhelmed to help you reboot.

  1. Be a kind friend – to yourself.  If your best friend just had a baby, would you tell her daily or even hourly she’s inadequate as a mum? Or, would you encourage her, tell her she’s doing fine, that everything will work out and to stop giving herself a hard time? The latter of course! The compassion, encouragement and love we give to others we need to give to ourselves.
  2. Find something to be thankful for.  When you’re having a tough time it can be hard even to do this, but research in this area suggests it’s well worth trying.  Start small – if you can notice how good your coffee tastes and how lovely the sun feels on your skin you are appreciating beauty around you and you can perhaps feel some gratitude for those moments of pleasure.  You can try to notice and savour that brief flash of gratitude and hopefully it can help broaden your ability to appreciate what else is good around you.
  3. Don’t accept your hype!  If your brain is running a constant feed of negative thoughts try to stop the flow and dispute specific thoughts.  Look for evidence to the contrary or replace repeated negative thoughts with a kinder, more helpful thought.  Eg. “I’m hopeless, I’m never on time” is an intensely self-critical thought but you could dispute the thought, eg. “actually last week I was on time for Mother’s group and the GP”.  Another option is to be kinder to yourself.  If instead of self-criticism you could tell yourself – “I’m choosing to make sure the baby sleeps for as long as she wants to, this sometimes makes me late”.
  4. Keep talking – when our baby arrives it can take over our heart and mind and move other people, including our partner, away from the centre of our attention.  This is very normal but it might stop you from benefiting from all the benefits of a close, warm relationship.  Try to make an effort to chat about good moments that happened during the day.  Sharing simple things that gave you a flash of pleasure will allow you to relive the positive feeling and let your partner understand the ups as well as the downs that you’re experiencing. This is likely to help them better support you.
  5. Don’t worry, be happy!  What makes you laugh out loud?  What’s your favourite karaoke song?  Have you seen the YouTube clip of roller skating babies?……..This is about deliberately giving yourself a boost of pure fun and joy.  When we do something that makes us feel good our wellbeing is immediately boosted and it helps us to think more clearly and creatively.  The great thing is that even a moment of laughter can give us a long-lasting boost.

We all have times when we feel a bit tired and flat but if you find that you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed for days/weeks at a time it’s really important to reach out for more help.  Feeling like this puts you at greater risk of depression and anxiety.  Talking to your GP is a great place to start and we’ve provided a few additional resources too.

National Perinatal depression hotline 1300 726 306
www.panda.org.au

This video should put a smile on your face 🙂

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