Our guest post today is written by Dami Ben-Omotehinse. Dami is a Lawyer with a passion for helping people amplify their value. You can follow her on instagram @damilolabo where she shares career tips.
The third Monday in January is dubbed “Blue Monday’, and is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, allegedly due to a combination of Christmas bills, guilt from abandoned New Year resolutions, and the cold.
In 2004, psychologist Cliff Arnall came up with a “formula” for the January blues. However, capitalism had a role to play as Arnall was asked to do so by travel firm, Sky Travel, who used the phrase to promote winter travel deals. Smart right? Arnall has since admitted that the formula was totally “formulated” and has urged people to refute the Blue Monday notion.
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Even if “Blue Monday” may be a gimmick, feeling blue as a new mum is not. The stress from a long pregnancy, labor, and caring for a living, breathing, barely-sleeping human takes its toll. I remember like it was yesterday - the first few weeks after I had my first child – I was a walking zombie, I barely came out of my room, barely took showers and was outright OVERWHELMED! By the time I had my second child nearly 4 years later, I had learnt some lessons the hard way and was better prepared to adapt. I have shared some tips below that I hope will help ease the blues and make those first few weeks more bearable, if not enjoyable!
Leverage support: leverage every form of support you can get from your partner and/or family. Do not feel pressured to do everything yourself. Whenever you can, hand over your baby to someone else and if you are exclusively breastfeeding, you can pump milk in advance for this purpose. If you are able to, outsource meal preparation and cleaning your home. The time saved from outsourcing this task can help you get the much needed rest you will need. There are no awards for superwoman, superhuman or super mummy, especially when the entry qualifications includes a stressed, overwhelmed or crying mommy.
Picture credit: mommaaddict.com
You before mummy: It is very easy to lose yourself as a new mom, it is also easy to talk yourself away from putting yourself first. However, I recommend identifying the minimum non-negotiables you require to feel like yourself, and prioritizing this. It could be as little as having a shower, a long soak in the bath, putting on lip-gloss or mascara, listening to a podcast or reading a book (e-books count). Once you identify what the mood booster is for you, please schedule it into your life and watch your mood improve daily.
Stay positive: It can be hard to stay positive with everything going on around us. However, staying positive does a lot more good than harm. Whether you need to write notes to self, give yourself pep talks, or surround yourself with a tribe of supportive people – friends or family, look for ways to consciously improve your outlook. Consciously avoid or eliminate negative situations or people. Make a conscious effort to ensure your ecosystem is positive.
All in all, life can be tough and although the above tips can be helpful, in some cases, you may need more support. Where this is the case, please connect with your health services immediately. Seeking help is a sign of strength and not weakness and it will give you the tools your need to be the mom you want to be. Hang in there mama, the sun will shine again soon!