About a month ago I was getting to a pretty bad place in my mind. After suffering antenatal depression during my last pregnancy I knew and was totally aware of the warning signs that I may be slipping back to that dark place.
I knew to get myself out of that place I had to change my mindset – either I could let me sickness and my dark thoughts control me or I could take control and implement the things I have learnt along the way to get control of my thoughts again.
I decided that I needed to stop laying in bed all day everyday and get out in the fresh air more often, I needed to start eating a more varied diet, I needed to start moving my body more and most importantly I needed to start living more mindfully.
When I suffer depression my brain feels numb, like I don’t have emotions, like nothing matters and I switch to auto pilot, my life feels like it goes on repeat day in and day out. I noticed that people would ask me how I was I would just feel so emotionless which reminded me of how I felt in my last pregnancy.
I decided the best way to be mindful was to start playing, being more present and spending more quality time with my daughter after all she is what brings me the most joy in my life. In the past few weeks I have been so much more present with her, more patient and more understanding of her emotions and how she reflects mine. We’ve laughed more, we’ve played more, we danced more and I honestly feel like we’ve grown closer. Taking more notice of her behaviour and her emotions has made me even more aware of just how incredibly smart she is, how kind she is and how much she learns each day.
In the past few weeks just being more mindful ad present with my Millie has really helped my mindset and given my confidence in myself as a mother which I was having serious doubts over during my first few months of pregnancy as I was unable to give her the attention she craved.
So what exactly is mindfulness and what does it mean to me?
Mindfulness as described on Google dictionary is “a mental state by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment and accepting ones feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
To me this means being totally present in the moment and allowing myself to take note of how I’m feeling, what I’m seeing, hearing, tasting or touching and how that effects my mental state. By being present or mindful in the moment it allows my mind to switch off from worrying about the future (anxiety) or the past and to be grateful for what I have in that very moment simply by being alive. This helps me to feel positive and to manage my depressive thoughts and feelings. It also allows me to know what I want to feel more of if my feelings are positive and if I’m in a situation that makes me feel low or uncomfortable it allows me to know that I don’t want to be there again or that the people or things I am around are not meant for me. When I’m feeling depressed I have a sense of feeling numb or emotionless so being mindful allows me to literally just feel things which is uplifting and that changes my mindset also.
Some other ways I’ve been practicing mindfulness to help my mindset include:
- Reading & taking time for me.
- Listening to motivational and inspiring Podcasts.
- Spending more time outside and taking notice of what is around me and enjoying the sunshine.
- Dancing and listening to my favourite music.
- Practicing deep breathing in the mornings before I start my day.
- Paying more attention to things that make me smile.
- Getting up before Millie to spend some time alone enjoying a cup of tea and just sitting – being present in that moment.
- Spending a few minutes each day connecting with and talking to my baby in my belly to help build a connection which I really struggle with.
- Finding mantras to help me with my emotions and my confidence with my body. I find Pintrest really useful.
- Writing, journaling and being creative. Expanding my ideas, setting some goals for the future and what I want our life to look and feel like.
- Planning a holiday for the 3 of us to enjoy as a family before the birth of our next child.
- Practicing gratitude everyday out loud with Millie.
As you know if you have followed along with me for a while I have ups and downs with my mental health and my mindset but being aware of it is a huge step in making change and I do feel like I have caught myself early enough to create real positive change in my life right now and for my health through out this pregnancy. During my last pregnancy I was medicated with anti depressants and I am really wanting to try my hardest to avoid that this time purely for the fact the adjustment to them is incredibly hard for me – so far I’m feeling positive I can do this!
If you’re feeling like you need a change in your mindset too try being more mindful in your day and see how it can have a positive impact on you too.
You can always send me an email to ask or share your story with me and I’ve loved and appreciated all the beautiful women who have contacted me lately.
And as always if you are feeling low or depressed don’t be afraid to speak out and seek some help. There is light and you will find it again.
May 22, 2018