Being a new mum is tough.
You’ve just experienced a dramatic life change, your hormones are all over the place, sleep is scarce, and you’re potentially spending the majority of your day alone with a tiny baby dependent on you for absolutely everything.
It’s no surprise this can impact your mental health. Post-natal depression (with symptoms including mood swings, difficulty bonding with your baby, trouble thinking clearly and feelings of isolation) occurs in more than 10% parents and if you’re lucky enough to avoid anything serious, you’ll probably have experienced at least some of the above from time-to-time.
I’ve definitely had days when I just needed to have a cry and accept that achieving anything other than keeping my baby alive was not going to happen. But that’s ok.
Whilst exercise won’t cure severe depression or anxiety, it has been found to alleviate the symptoms and if nothing else it might just help you feel a little bit better that day.
Need more motivation? Here’s the facts:
Exercising releases lots of mood boosting chemical endorphins into the body which can improve feelings of positivity and self-esteem.
Exercise can improve sleep quality which in turn affects your mood, hormone balance and your general perception of how easy life is (N.B Whilst this will improve your sleep, there is absolutely no data to suggest your baby will sleep any better so improvements may be marginal, for a while at least).
Working out with other people will boost your mood, improve motivation and provides an additional level of support, so get yourself down to a local post-natal fitness class and see what you can do. Click here (FHIIT MUM).
When you exercise you are more likely to eat well and make nutritious food choices. What you put in your mouth has a direct impact on the health of your brain and your mood.
Exercising can help deal with body image issues relating to your post-natal body by helping you feel strong again which can improve your confidence.
Celebrate what you can do.
Don’t spend time procrastinating on what exercise to do. Pick something you enjoy and you’ll be far less likely to sack it off if you’re feeling low.
Don’t over complicate it. Walking has incredible benefits for your mental, as well as physical health ( see NEAT), so if you can't face anything else, even a quick stroll around the park can have a huge impact on the rest of your day.