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Happy New Year! Here's to a gentle January x

By Katherine Whitby

Registered Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor, Baby Massage Instructor & Mummy of Two Founder of Baby Steps

Before the Christmas decorations are down, social media and magazines are FULL of info and ads about the New Year with a 'new you'. Billions of new years resolutions and health kicks that we will struggle to keep when we are likely to be feeling pretty tired after the festive period are waking up to grey weather with little folk who need our time and energy.

"Get to bed early, eat 9 fruit and vegetables a day, move more, exercise, practise yoga, write a daily journal, mediate, be mindful, walk 10,000 steps each day, home cook your family meals, take supplements & vitamins, drink 2L of water........." Aaaaaah it's exhausting thinking about it!!!!

Nature doesn't put pressure on itself to blossom in the depths of winter and dark but hibernates, rests and restores ready to bloom in Spring. And as I have said before nature knows what it is doing!! If you are feeling sluggish after the usual excesses and exhaustion of Christmas then here are some gentle ways you may like. Of course they can be introduced any month of the year!!

I have been lucky enough to meet and attend courses by GP, Dr Rangan Chatterjee who champions Lifestyle Medicine. You may know him from BBC ‘Doctor in the House’. He argues that 80% of patients seen by GPs have problems caused by stress, which could be managed by changes in lifestyle, rather than medicine. In his book ‘Feel Better in 5’ released timely on Boxing Day, breaks it down even further into 5-minute Health Snacks for ‘mind, body and heart’. Surely even busy, frazzled parents can fit those in?!!! This is genuinely a positive, realistic way to feel better and healthier and take care of ourselves. Often as parents of small kids we just don’t get to stop, even when we need to.

Here are ideas I have learnt along the way as a Mummy myself, in my work and from Dr Chatterjee to take care of ourselves. See what you think. Are there any you recommend?

Mind/ Relax

· Guilt free and screen free ‘me time’ everyday. A quiet cuppa, a hot bubble bath, reading a book/ magazine – 5, 10 ,15 minutes whatever you can squeeze in!

· Writing a gratitude journal at the beginning or end of the day. Writing 3 things you feel thankful for. You will start or end your day feeling positive no matter how rubbish your day or night has been!

· If you are finding it really hard to unwind the Calm or Headspace app might help.

Move/ Body

· ‘Exercise snacking’ – any chance to add in more movement to your day. Walking more especially with a buggy is great. Can you walk a bit further? Make one less journey by car? Use stairs more?

· Dancing with your baby, friends, family, on your own. Makes you smile, feel good, gets your body moving. So many benefits win, win!!

· Check out Joe Wicks ‘28 days of Sweat’ on You Tube for 10 minute workouts you can fit in at home with your baby there. Or look up Dr Chatterjee also on You Tube and find exercises that take literally a couple of minutes to wake up your glutes, giving huge benefits for your back, when carrying your baby.

Sleep/ Head

· Having phone free time before you go to bed, ideally a ‘Tech free 90’ mins. This long is not always quite possible between putting kids to bed and you! Also, not looking at your phone during the night. It stimulates you and your baby making is harder to get back to sleep.

· Having morning light has been proven to help you sleep at night, so ideally spending at least 20 minutes outside in the morning.

· A nature fix – however many minutes your day allows take some time to breathe in nature – the big sky, birds singing, trees, flowers. This also ticks movement and morning light!

Eating – couple of easy ones to help us….

· Have at least 8 glasses of water a day. Some water bottles now have fab lines on to remind us when we need to top up.

· Eat 5 Vegetables a day. It’s easy to have most of our 5 a day in fruit, so up the veg for loads of health benefits.

I hope these tips help you. Do get in touch if you have any to share. We share loads of tips to help parents relax and make life easier, happier and lighter in my Baby Massage and Relaxation course and my Mama and Baby Wellbeing course or I would love you to join my lovely FREE community

For more tips follow me on Instagram and Facebook ,

Wishing you a gentle January,

Katherine x

Baby Steps offers Baby & First Aid, Weaning courses at home or at Baby Steps HQ nestled in the woods (Gu26 6DG), the perfect cocoon for parents and babies, Baby & First Aid, Weaning courses along with Baby Massage & Relaxation, Mama and Baby Wellbeing. Babies are always welcome.

This information is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor or any other health professional. Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made or actions taken by a user based on this information.

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