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Krista: This is Secret Mom Hacks episode number 13. My name is Krista and I am your host. It's May 3rd, 2023. And in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, today's show is going to cover six mental health tips for moms. So my tagline for this podcast, Secret Mom Hacks, is "because babies don't come with instructions."

I came up with that tagline because I can't tell you how many nights I'd be up at two o'clock in the morning googling how to get my baby to sleep through the night, or what is cluster feeding or best lactation supplement. The list goes on and on. The fact is us moms spend a lot of mental energy on being the best moms we can be. And when we're constantly exerting ourselves without filling our own cups, our mental health can certainly take a toll.

But before we get into these six tips, I just wanna say thanks for tuning in, mama. As of this recording, I am chasing around a four-and-a-half-year-old that no amount of Googling, mom groups, or what to expect when you're expecting books were able to prepare me for.

There's a lot of stuff people don't talk about when it comes to pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, postpartum, and as someone who was previously terrified of childbirth, parenthood and all that follows, I'm here to help you pull back the curtain on all of it. And every now and then it may get a little messy.

We may share a little TMI, but that's why you're here, right? My goal is you'll leave every episode feeling refreshed, inspired, and hopeful, knowing you are not on this mom journey alone. There's a lot of subject matter to cover when it comes to mom life, and we are covering it all.

So let's dive into these six mental health tips for moms.

Tip number one is to make time for yourself. How many of us are guilty for like never doing that? As moms, we are often so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves. We get those leftovers, right? So this is my first tip to make time for yourself. Maybe you make time to enjoy a long hot bath.

That's actually my favorite. Get a good bath bomb. Get a glass of my favorite beverage. Maybe it's hot cocoa, maybe it's wine, maybe it's water, maybe it's a soda, light a candle. Get some good music going, or one of my other favorite podcasts or grab the iPad and put it on my favorite Netflix show and prop it up there on the side of the tub.

That is one of my absolute favorite ways to make time for myself. So whether it's that hot bath, going for a walk, or just sitting down with a good book, just stepping away from everything, shutting out the world, turning off the tablet, silencing the phone, enjoying a good book or a magazine. Whatever it is that you can do, find something that you enjoy and make time for it every single day.

Okay? I realize that may be asking for a lot, right? We all have the same amount of time in our days, and I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I get up and I blink and the day is gone, but whatever it is you can do, okay? If it's not every single day. At least three to four times a week.

Make time for yourself. And I realize you may feel selfish at first. I certainly do, but I also know that if I'm not taking care of myself, I cannot take care of my loved ones. I end a lot of my podcast episodes reminding you of that, right? That it's hard for us to take care of everyone else if we're not taking care of ourselves.

And it's so true. Taking care of yourself will actually help you to be a better mom in the long run. We all wanna be the best parents we can be. It's really difficult to do that when we are not taking time for ourselves. If our cup is empty, then it's really hard for us to fill up everyone else's cups around us that are important to us.

Tip number two is to stay connected. Again, I mentioned this in the intro to my podcast. I felt like so many times when I would be up early in the morning nursing or at night getting my little one down, there were moments that I just really felt alone. I felt like I was on an island.

So tip number two is to stay connected. It really can, it can feel isolating. So it's important to stay connected with other moms to help us remind each other that we are not alone. So whether that's joining a mom's group or a playgroup, reaching out to other moms in your community, having that local support system, whether it's in your community or in your neighborhood, it can make a huge difference when we're feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

So I'll just share some of my own personal experience the way that I've been able to stay connected - a few of the ways that I've been able to stay connected with other moms. There is a church women's group here that I've been able to plug into several times, and a lot of times they even have childcare, which is really nice.

So I can take my daughter, she can go have fun with her friends. I can step off, go with the other mamas and just get some great mom time. So maybe there's a local church group in your area for other moms. Another way I've been able to stay connected is through a local community Facebook group.

There are several of those actually here in my area. So definitely wherever you live, jump into Facebook, jump online and just Google Boston Mom Group or Miami Mom community, or Los Angeles local moms, something like that. Wherever you live. Google the name of your town and mom group or mom community. And you know what?

If there's not one, maybe you could start one, because chances are if that's something you're craving, if you're craving community, there are other moms likely feeling the same way. So those are two of my favorite ways, either through, a faith-based community group with other moms or just the non-faith based groups as well.

And then third, so my daughter has been in daycare and of course my daughter has several close friends in her class. And I've been able to get in touch with her close friends' moms. And so there's a few of us that are on this thread together and we're always going back and forth about various things.

And then those moms started adding in a few other moms that have children in my daughter's class as well. So before you know it, this little mom text thread has ballooned to several moms. It's like nearly all the moms in my daughter's class, which is awesome because that's a hyper-local way to stay connected with other mamas.

So I don't know what your situation of course is, but if your child is in daycare or preschool maybe there's a way that you can get in touch with parents of other children who are in your child's class and stay connected that way. So any way that you can just stay in touch with other parents and workshop things, talk shop, you know, as you're trying to figure out this thing called parenthood that is going to be a huge benefit to keeping our mental health up to par.

Okay, tip number three is to practice mindfulness. So mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and your feelings without judgment. As moms, we are often so busy multitasking that we forget to be mindful, and I don't know about you, but I always feel like my phone is dinging and blinging and ringing and, and all of that. And so a lot of times when I'm with my family, I really try to silence the phone, be present, be engaged with those you love. Guys, before you know it, we talk about just the days, going by in a blink.

So my daughter's almost five. I feel like the last five years have gone by in a blink, and I never want her to look back and think, wow, my mom was always on her phone. Right? I want her to remember how engaged and thoughtful I was when we were all together. So, I know that we're often so busy multitasking.

I'm not saying not to multitask, but just try to be engaged. Do whatever you can to just be in the moment, take a few moments every day, just focusing on what is happening around you. Not thinking about what's happening across town or in the news or in our email inboxes. And sometimes it really could be just as simple as taking a few quick, deep breaths or just doing this quick body scan to just check in with yourself, seeing how you're feeling, being mindful about, what your body is feeling like, what your mind is thinking, what's really weighing on you.

And focusing on just feeling those feelings, but also if something is really weighing on you or stressing on you certainly we wanna address those feelings and those thoughts and emotions, but when we are around our family and our loved ones, especially our, our little ones, we don't wanna be frazzled.

We want to be in that moment and doing whatever we can to help our children to be mindful as well, putting the tablets aside, engaging in real-life conversation, engaging in hands-on activities, reading, et cetera. And I think that mindfulness, that's something that we can talk about with our kiddos as well and the importance of it.

Tip number four is to get enough sleep. Y'all sleep is so important for our mental health yet it's so often the first thing to go when we are busy or stressed. So my fourth tip is definitely to prioritize sleep. Try to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night. And if you're having trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor or a sleep specialist.

So many ailments I feel like can boil down to just getting enough sleep, that's why they say, when we are under the weather, rest, your body needs to recharge. And so that goes for just again, day-to-day things as well. When we're feeling stressed, when we're feeling anxious, often just getting seven or eight hours of sleep will help us get right back on the right track.

Okay, tip number five is to ask for help. As moms, we often feel like we need to do everything ourselves, but it is okay to ask for help, especially moms of little teeny tiny babies. If you have a newborn, Do not feel like you have to do all of this by yourself. I remember when I first had my daughter, I had several people sign up for a meal train.

So what that meant was shortly after we had gotten back home, we had several friends, family, coworkers, et cetera, who had signed up to bring us meals, so it was for like two or three weeks, and that was awesome, because as you know, especially if you're in the thick of it, but we're focused on feeding that baby and tending to the needs of the baby, making sure the baby's fed, the baby's changed, the baby is clothed and happy and clean, and so often we are forgetting to feed ourselves. And we gotta eat more than just cereal and snack bars, right? Protein bars, I'm not throwing shade against those cuz I love me some cereal and snack bars every now and then, but just to have a good bowl of soup and salad, or maybe someone would send a sandwich tray.

So we would have a couple days worth of sandwiches or a big crock pot meal or stove top meals, or just oven-ready meals. Oh my goodness, that was one of my very favorite things after we had gotten home with baby, was to have that meal train. And so when people were offering the help, I took it.

But don't just wait for somebody to offer help because you know what? Everybody's busy and some people will be reluctant to offer the help. But if you ask them, people are often more than willing and so happy to help and pitch in because they love you, they care for you, they wanna see you succeed. It can be such a stressful time in our lives.

It's a very loving time in our lives, but it's also, it can be very stressful. So, don't be afraid to ask for help. It is okay, whether it's, maybe it's asking your partner to take on more responsibilities or hiring a babysitter so you can take a break. Maybe it's asking one of your in-laws or a coworker whom you trust. Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

And my last tip, tip number six for today is to practice self-compassion. Being a mom is hard work, y'all. And we all make mistakes. So instead of being hard on yourself, try to be kind and compassionate. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.

I sometimes will have negative self-talk. I think that's something that we can all relate with, right? Having just negative thoughts and ideas or bad self-talk that goes through our heads. "Those pants look terrible on me," or "I hate the way my chest looks in that shirt," or whatever example you wanna give for yourself, guys, just practice self-compassion.

Like one of my favorite things to do when I'm getting ready is "yeah, I look good in that shirt," or "I really like how that skirt makes my legs look." Or "I am perfectly capable of making these five things happen today." This is an exercise I sometimes have to go through with myself.

As I start going down that road of negative self-talk, I have to snap myself out of it and imagine what if my daughter were thinking those things? If my daughter were having those types of thoughts, I immediately would tell her to stop that. "You are so smart. You are so beautiful. You are completely capable. You can do what you set your mind to. You've got, everything you need to be able to succeed in your endeavors today." Those positive affirmations are hugely important, and just practicing that self-compassion is going to go a long way in preserving our mental health.

Those are my six mental health tips for moms as we are celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month this May. I hope you're having a great day, and I really appreciate you spending some time with me today. If you enjoyed today's episode, please subscribe If you haven't already, give me a five-star rating and leave a review sharing your favorite takeaway so far.

Also, make sure you stop by, where you can find transcripts, resources, and more. Stay tuned for next week's episode, and until then you've got this mama.


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