Sandra Igwe's Top Tips for Mental Health & Wellbeing

Sandra Igwe's Top Tips for Mental Health & Wellbeing image
As part of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked Sandra Igwe, Founder of The Motherhood Group, for her top tips to look after your mental health and wellbeing.
As a mum, sometimes we are too busy to prioritise ourselves, or we're too busy worrying about everything and everyone else, but us. Or maybe we're feeling low but haven't done anything about it because this might seem like a new normal for. And as hard as it sounds, many mums can suffer from stress and anxiety, but these emotions are all part of the journey of being a parent. Remember, no one thrives all of the time, but by investing in your mental wellbeing, you can definitely thrive more often.  So, below are my 5 Top Mental Health and Wellbeing Tips for Mums:

1. Start doing what brings you joy - and do more of it.

Are you able to recall the last time you did something that you enjoy, something just for you, not concerning yourself with anyone else’s wants and needs?  It could be as simple as a long hot bath, or as luxurious as a 5 star Spa date, if you have the resources, carve out the time and make it happen. It does not matter what you like, just make sure you find time to do the things you enjoy.  Pouring into yourself is just as important as pouring into your kids - you cannot pour an empty cup. When you do what brings you joy, you're happier and this will help you maintain a healthier relationship with everyone in the family.

2. Change your scenery and feel better.

You don’t have to go to Paris (unless that's your personal self-care plan) but try to change up your routine by changing your scenery.  If you're constantly at home, same home outfit, same TV show on, same window - often you might get the same results and feelings. New sights and sounds and unfamiliar scenery make us think about things in new ways and experience new levels of awareness. Take a different route home from work, take yourself and the kids to the local park, maybe to a family members house. New sights and experiences are powerful sources of energy and happiness.

3. Sleep and rest as much as you physically can.

Every mum has complained about lack of sleep at some point.  And yes, sleepless nights can often come with the package of having kids, but this doesn’t last forever - well at least not for me. Try your best to get an extra hour or two in bed, recharge, reset and rest. Aim for at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night and this will do wonders for you.  Avoid caffeine in the evenings and swap for a lemon tea or a decaf!
4. Reach out and ask for help, don't be shy.

It can be normal to experience lots of ups and downs when you have a new baby or you're a mother. There’s a lot to get used to – physically, socially and emotionally! Speak to your partner or talk to your friends and family about how you feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Talking through your worries can help a great deal.
5. Accept that you are not Superhuman

Mums often put extra pressure on themselves which is completely common, but try to have realistic expectations and accept that looking after your baby is a full-time job! You may not manage to get all the housework done all the time, you might not be able to look glammed up 24/7, you might not make nutritional meals 5 times a day. But as long as your baby is happy and healthy, you're doing a great job! Motherhood shouldn’t mean superhuman, it means you make a conscious effort to be there for you and your child in the best way you can, which will always fall short from being perfect - and that's fine.

Sandra Igwe is the Founder of The Motherhood Group, a unique platform for black mums, as well as a Digital Content Creator and Trustee of Birthrights

Mental health challenges among Black and Ethnic Minority mothers are 13% higher than any other race, yet they are statistically less likely to receive diagnosis or treatment. Community groups are bridging the gap and are now a part of creating solutions. Sandra Igwe LLB MBA, is a British Social Entrepreneur, Knowledge Exchange Professional and Mother of Two. She is passionate about creating platforms, programs and tools for mothers to excel and thrive. She has worked diligently to bridge the gap between maternal health services and BAME community groups, allowing their voices to be heard. Watch her brilliant TEDx talk