Mama talks... relaxation

Clio Wood runs postnatal retreats in France and across the UK. These are blissful little pockets of family time for you to focus on your fitness, your postnatal nutrition (beyond biscuits) and your cocktail of emotional ups and downs since becoming parents.

Like me, she had a rocky start. She needed somewhere to go that would help her with all these things and she couldn’t find much out there. So she created it herself! I’m immensely proud to be a part of the feelgood team at &Breathe Postnatal and look forward to hanging out with many more amazing mamas and papas on retreats to come.

How to fill your cup - Clio Wood

We're all different, and we all parent in different ways.  Our to-do lists are unique (although no doubt with plenty of fix/nag/cuddle/repeat overlap). But the one thing we have in common is our need to do our best for our kids.  And we can only do that if we are feeling tip top ourselves.  

You don't need me to tell you this – I'm preaching to the choir, I know.  But sometimes we let it slide, and this list is a good reminder of all the things that might make you feel like you again. Here are some of the best things to do when your cup is in need of filling:

  1. get out of the house.  The garden is not far enough, go down the street, get on a bus, and breathe some different air.
  2. organise something specific.  Meet a friend, book a massage or blow dry, go to a film.  Whatever it is, have a purpose and make it absorbing enough to take your mind off your to-do list.
  3. do some exercise. I know, I know, it’s hard to motivate yourself, but trust me, you'll feel better afterwards – endorphins a-go-go! If cardio isn't your thing, slow it down and stretch it out with yoga instead.  Great for the mind and body.
  4. take a break from screens.  Even if work is not what you're trying to escape, your eyes and brain will thank you for it.
  5. get some childcare. It sounds obvious, but how many times have you said 'I can't leave them because...'?
  6. buy something you don't need.  Treat yourself.  If you feel massively guilty about it/really can't afford it, you can always take it back.
  7. go on hols.  Retreat.  I appreciate this isn't an immediate win, but the power of something to look forward to cannot be underestimated.
  8. make it a kid-friendly holiday.  If they have all the baby gear/stuff to entertain the kids AND take care of you, you're on to a winner.
  9. eat healthily.  Yes, it is the best thing in the long-run.  And there is such a thing as a healthy pudding.
  10. invest in some earplugs. If you're not sleeping because you're hearing the baby all night long (real or imagined), block it out and let your hubby deal with it instead, even if it's just once in a while; if you can afford it, a maternity nurse or night nanny can be well worth the investment.
  11. talk to your friends, or find an online mum forum that speaks your language. You'll realise that whatever you're going through, someone else has definitely been there.
  12. reach out for help if you're struggling (therapist, PANDAS, temporary nanny).  There's no shame in it.  At all.