A real mums guide to lockdown survival (spoiler, it may include wine!)

10 things you can do to help your mental health during lockdown

After reluctantly realising I had Post Natal Depression, around 5 months after having my second child, I have worked tirelessly over the last 2 and a half years to banish it, once and for all.

In fact, my journey of self-discovery not only helped me get over my battle with this oh-so-common maternal mental heath issue, but ending up leading me somewhere I never EVER thought possible- into the elusive world of fitness!

I knew to try to ‘find me’ again I had to start doing things for myself. Things that involved being brave, leaving the comfort zone of my own home, and actually talking to people and trying to make connections. I needed to find my identity and I needed to work out what makes me tick, what brings me joy, what I love doing, and most importantly, what makes me happy.

So, to cut a long story, very short. I found fitness. I found a lot of other things, of course, but the foundation of everything relied upon the endorphin release, and the natural ‘high’ that only doing physical activity brings. It gave me the courage to talk to others. It gave me the confidence to start to believe in myself. It even gave me a new career- one I never would have dreamed possible!

So, here we are now. 

Forced into a social shutdown situation that none of us could have ever predicted, anticipated, or to be honest, even thought plausible in anything other than a movie script.

We are all terrified.

I am terrified something will happen to me or my loved ones.

I am terrified I won’t make enough money to pay my bills.

I am terrified the business I have spent the last 6 months building up will be destroyed.

I am terrified my mental health will suffer.

I am doing everything that is asked of me. 

I am staying in.

I am washing my hands.

I am only leaving the house if absolutely essential.

I am not visiting my loved ones.

I am keeping up to date with everything we can do to help the situation.

These are the physical things, we are being told, we can do to help.

What they are not telling us, which is just as important, if not more considering the current climate of suicides in most recent times, is the things we can do to help ourselves, mentally.

Here is my top ten, things you can do to help your mental health, that has so far helped me survive this lockdown.

  1. EXERCISE - of course I was going to start with this one, and I’ve already explained why, but those feel good endorphins really do set you up for the day, especially if you do it first thing. You don’t have to go hardcore, even just a walk will help.

  2. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA USEAGE - I know we all want to stay in touch but there’s so much negativity out there that it can really start to tap into your anxieties.

  3. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS - a big favourite of mine, it really helps me control my anxiety. Practice focussing on the here and now, being present in the moment. Lots of fab apps out there to help with this!

  4. READ - another soul soother and great to do just before bed, instead of checking Facebook for the 100th time that day!

  5. TAKE 5 - if like me, you’re a Mum, having time to yourself without ANYONE around, even when on the toilet, is rare! Don’t be afraid to take 5 minutes and breath. If you’re lucky enough to live with a partner- pass them over and have a morning off. That’s right, a morning off! 

  6. HAVE A BATH/ HOT SHOWER - light some candles, get a magazine and just Relaxxxxx... NO PHONES!

  7. STAY IN TOUCH WITH LOVED ONES - thank the lord for modern technology! Keep chatting to your friends and family daily to help you feel less isolated and encourage human interaction and adult conversations.

  8. LEARN - there’s never been a better time to clear your mind and learn something new, even if it’s something as simple as how to French braid! The sense of achievement will be great and there’s so many YouTube tutorials out there for practically everything, you could leave this a genius!

  9. LAUGH - Whether it’s watching your most favourite funny film, having a joke competition with the kids or even just forcing the laughter like those strange groups that do it together... it WILL make you feel better!

  10. BE CREATIVE - What is your outlet? Do you draw/ paint/ write? Even if it’s just adults only colouring books, everyone can be creative. My outlet is writing... as you can tell from this piece which has seen me turn off from the real world for the last half hour!

Whether you try some of these or have your own go-to’s that help, as long as the importance of your mental health is as important as your physical one, during this time, that’s all that matters. 

And that’s what I LOVE about exercise, it improves my mental state AND my physical state, which is win-win in my book.

Plus, it totally negates the bottles of wine and chocolate digestives I get through to stave off the lockdown boredom as well. #winning

This blog was written by Debbie Gliniany, Newport and Cardiff OneFitMama instructor who is a mum to two children and has a passion for making mums feel great about themselves!

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