So many mummas are struggling to regain their health after having children and many are wondering what happened to their energy and vitality. Some have even forgotten what great health feels like, accepting a new low baseline as the norm.
Chris Sturgess is owner and operator of Naked Health Personal Training and has spent the last 12 years as a personal trainer and health coach. After the birth of his son in 2015, he began specialising in working with pre and postnatal women, citing a lack of good quality professional advice concerning exercise for pregnant and new mums.
In this guest article, he touches on some of the contributing factors preventing mums from feeling like themselves after having a baby, and he offers some simple strategies to reclaim a healthier body and mind.
GIVING MUMS THE MOTIVATION TO TACKLE TIREDNESS – BY CHRIS STURGESS
Social pressures and the media, in particular, put unnatural pressure on women to look a certain way, be a certain shape, height and weight. I’ve seen it myself with mums who attend my exercise classes; the majority have joined primarily to lose weight. They look at social media and see women “getting their pre-baby body back”. For example, they see Kate Middleton the day after she gave birth looking like perfection (when she probably feels far from that). We’re constantly being told that this is what healthy looks like. It’s all about aesthetics and it’s totally wrong. It only adds fuel to the fire of fad diets, emotional eating and poor mental health.
Rather than relying on the mirror or social media and other external factors by which to measure your self-worth, look inward. Listen to your body, because every day it’s giving you little messages of what it needs and what it doesn’t.
Some things to think about:
- When you eat do ever feel bloated or sluggish?
- Do you often have dark shadows or swollen eyes?
- Do you often feel foggy in the head or forgetful?
- How high is your energy, from a scale of 1-10?
I know so many mums who can totally relate to this quote from Dr Libby Weaver, one of Australia’s leading nutritional biochemists: “A life without energy is incredibly difficult, EVERYTHING is more challenging when we’re exhausted. It impacts the food that we choose, the drink choices that we make. It impacts whether we get off the couch to go for a walk or do that early morning workout. It can also impact our career outlook and the relationships we have with those we hold close.”
So how do you even start to get you energy back? The tiredness, overwhelm, stress, brain fog, forgetfulness and the bad food choices you might make, are all real, so how can you tackle it and break the cycle?
The acronym comes from a book which I highly recommend; “The Postnatal Depletion Cure”, by Dr Oscar Serrallach. S stands for Sleep/Recovery, P – Purpose/Goals, A – Activity/Exercise, and N – Nutrition/Digestion. I use these four factors as a simple tool for my Mums to focus on if they present with Postnatal depletion or if it’s evident during pregnancy they are not coping well. Of course there so much more to elaborate on in each area!
LEAN ON YOUR VILLAGE
Ask for help, from your partner, family, friends, mother’s group, neighbours. Don’t be shy. Often mums feel like asking for help means they’re failing, but expertly delegating the load is the key to reducing stress.
Sure, we all breathe, but taking the time each day to do it consciously and with focus can do wonders for your wellbeing. Deep yogic breathing is a skill you can learn to help deal with stress. It instantly forces stress levels down, aids immunity, and switches you into fat-burning state, as well as providing you with the patience you need to parent.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Make the time to take care of yourself, so that you can care for others. Start small. Commit to one exercise class per week. You don’t need to go too hard. There are special considerations for a pregnant or postnatal body to factor in but just making the effort and getting out there in the outdoors can shift your whole perspective and boost motivation.
If you are ready to start feeling like your old self again and tackle mood, fatigue and weight, Chris Sturgess has opened enrolments for Term 3 of his Movement For Mummas outdoor group personal training program. Classes are specifically designed for pregnant and postnatal mums, with onsite nannies to look after your little people while you focus on yourself.
To find out more, or register for a free trial class, leave your details here.