Updated: Feb 19, 2020
Taking Care of You
By Katherine Whitby
Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor, Mummy of Two and Founder of Baby Steps
15th February 2020
While we are starting to see glimmers of beautiful sunshine and Spring flowers, we are still very much in Winter. Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, winds, rain, sleet, all keep me in hibernation mode. While I am definitely a Summer girl, I adore the cosiness of Autumn and Winter. Candles, log fires, curling up with a good book and trashy magazines (when I get 5 minutes!!), warming food and a hot bubble bath, all make me very happy.
Winter gives us the opportunity to rest and slow down. However, do we actually do that?? NO!! You will be saying?!! Me too! The magic, fun, chaos and stress of Christmas can leave us wiped out. The dark, cold, wet weather can affect our mood and often at the start of the year we feel exhausted and sluggish. On top of that we are juggling the demands of family life – no lie ins, broken sleep, chores, rushing around, work and looking after poorly kids. Perhaps we are also putting pressure on ourselves with some new year health kick – what we eat, how many litres of water we drink, exercise…….wow the list goes on. It is exhausting thinking about it!!!!
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. His latest 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?
· 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.
· ‘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.
· 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 will be including ideas like these in my Baby Massage course launching in April. We will be sharing loads of tips to help parents relax and make life easier, happier and lighter. Please get in touch if you and your baby would like to book on a 4 week course at Baby Steps HQ. It will be a special part of your week, I promise you!