When Parents are tired… To Vent or to Relax?

All parents have moments, or even whole days, when they feel they cannot wash one more sticky hand, pick up one more pile of dirty clothes, or summon the energy for one more rendition of Old MacDonald.  

You may think that the only answer is a one-way ticket to somewhere far, far away. However, it’s probably more realistic to acknowledge that you’re simply suffering from burnout. 

You need to take a real break, and do something just for yourself.  

Tips on how to Reboot instead of Venting the soul out:

1. A warm soak  A long bubble bath with candles, music, and a good book is a favourite escape for many mums. The warmth of the water, and soft lights and sounds, can really help you to unwind.  Tell the kids ‘Mum’s having a bit of peace and quiet, so if you need something, tell Daddy.’ Close and lock the door. Turn the radio to your favourite station, indulge in your favourite bubble or bath oil, make the water nice and warm (why not have a cup of tea or wine), grab your favourite magazine or a novel, and slide in. A bath break can have other essential benefits.

2. Body work  Some form of physical pampering is always good. Some mums suggested a manicure, a pedicure, a massage, a facial, or a new haircut. Not only will you look and feel better, but for a brief interlude you can enjoy having someone take care of you.  “I usually have a massage every month. It’s not really an indulgence – it always feels great, helps me relax, and gets my mind off the weekly grind. I’d go bananas without some time to switch off.” Gail  

3. A night on the town  A “date” with your partner will give you both a break and a chance to get to know each other all over again! But try not to spend the whole evening talking about the kids. Reminisce about how you met, your first date, your favourite memory of life before kids. It will help you reconnect at a time when you both really need each other. 

4. Adult conversation  Dinner or an outing with a friend provides a change of pace, a new perspective, a fresh experience and adult conversation.  “My husband and I take turns to go out. He’ll go out and play his guitar with friends… I will have dinner or go out with a friend, sometimes to see a band I enjoy that he doesn’t. ” Francine  

5. Healthy indulgences  A walk in the fresh air, a bike ride on a deserted street, a run on the beach or other healthy indulgences. Choose a favourite activity that gets you out of your everyday routine and into another dimension.  go to the Gym, take three classes a week, which include strength exercises, stretching, and lots of hard work. It is an excellent way to work off stress and frustration during the week. 

6. Deep sleep  The chance to sleep late in the morning, or enjoy an afternoon nap: any kind of extra sleep is something of a miracle, but these are the best. Many readers find that lie-ins can do a lot to recharge batteries.  “If Peter takes the baby out in the morning, I can go back to sleep after the first breastfeed of the day and know I won’t be disturbed for a few hours. I don’t feel guilty. I’m up and about every other morning and, to be honest, I need the rest!” Helena  

7. Mini-makeover  A shopping spree and a new outfit, say readers, can do wonders for the spirit. Like a mini-makeover, it will help you feel renewed.  “When I finally got round to having my hair done, I felt so much better. I’d looked like a wreck and felt like a wreck for so long. Once I looked a bit better, I started to feel a bit better, too.” Michelle  

8. Things that grow  Gardening, readers say, nurtures not only plants but people. The fresh air, exercise, and rewards of watching your garden flourish are especially refreshing and provide a sense of accomplishment when the rest of your life seems mired in piles of washing and dirty dishes.  “I planted a couple of dozen plants on Saturday and this was quite relaxing. Gardening was my ‘thing’ before becoming pregnant and I hope to get my garden back in order now that my daughter is a little older.” Deirdre  

9. Time alone  A solitary swim, a solo walk, or a similar outing provides a simple break that many readers say they depend on. Just being alone can give you time to stock up on some sanity.  “My favourite way to indulge myself is to take the day off work, then go shopping and to lunch by myself. After lunch, if I feel up to more shopping, I go. If not, I go home to have a rest and maybe watch a DVD. I feel great that evening and have a lot of fun with the children when they get in from nursery.” Tina  

10. Word play  Time alone to read a book or even just a magazine all the way through is a major feat when you’re a mother. Snatch the time when you can, and you’ll find that reading provides a world of escape when your own life feels fragmented. It also gives you time with people who won’t throw temper tantrums or demand your constant attention!  “My favourite way to rejuvenate myself is to wait for the baby to settle for his morning sleep, then pull out my latest magazine, close the door, flop on my bed, and slowly read each and every article. It’s a small but very luxurious way to spend some time by myself.” Myra 

Whichever indulgence you choose, enjoy it!

But what about Parents and Freedom?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal to miss your freedom. 
Your life has changed dramatically since your baby was born.  
Having a baby can challenge your sense of control. You may worry that you don’t have enough time, help, training, money or emotional support to cope with your baby. 

This can make you feel trapped, bored, resentful, irritable or even angry.  Be assured lots of mums feel like this, and you can get through it.  It may help you to work out what you miss about your life before your baby came along. 

Get a pen and notepad and make a list. Be very specific. Perhaps you miss spending time with your best friend, or staying up late and going out.  Come up with as many things as you can and jot each one down. The more things you include in the list, the easier it’ll be for you to pinpoint exactly how you’re feeling.  
When you’ve finished, go over each item on the list with your partner or a close friend. See how you can add one or two back into your life. Then organise a time in the week that you can do these activities. 

Having a baby doesn’t mean giving up all the things you enjoy. It’s important to take care of yourself, too.  If you still feel unsettled, talk to other mums. 
You’ll probably find they’re feeling just like you, and knowing that you’re not alone can help you adjust to your new life.  

If you have been feeling low for a few weeks, and nothing seems to lift your mood, talk to your health visitor or GP. Some mums develop postnatal depression. If you think you may be affected by depression, it’s important that you get the help you need.

Cheerio and  #Cheerio

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