There are a wealth of different self care techniques that are readily available within your local community, through the internet or by speaking to a health care professional. Some of the self help techniques you may be familiar with are books on prescriptions, digital apps, exercise, keeping a mood diary, identifying what your stressors are and accessing free support from talking therapies.
Looking after yourself
Click to the right to watch a video from Best Beginnings and get some tips from Dr Alain Gregoire on looking after yourself.
Making changes to your lifestyle can help relieve symptoms of physical and mental illness such as stress, anxiety and depression,. It is advisable to seek advice from a health care professional before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle. Exercise plays a big role in making positive lifestyle changes - this can be something as simple as going for a regular walk - and it's free! Accessing social support or joining a new group and even just getting better sleep.
- Where possible, try to stick to a regular sleeping pattern
- Be active during the day
- Do something relaxing before going to bed, such as listening to music or having a bath
- Learn some simple breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques
- Have an hour of screen-free time before bed
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods before bed
Recent research show that our gut has a direct link to our mental health - so much so the gut is referred to as the second brain. New evidence is emerging which indicates that inflammation is linked to depression. Eating anti-inflammatory foods may be one way of tackling some of the symptoms of depression. Taking supplementary probiotics with two or more live cultures (for example lactobacillus and bifidobacerium) can improve the integrity of the gut, thus preventing toxins entering the bloodstream. Drinking water can alleviate symptoms of fatigue.
We know that it can be difficult to stop smoking, if you have made the decision that you want to stop smoking there are a number of different support networks that you can access for free. Speak to your practice nurse, midwife, health visitor or GP about local schemes that you can access to help you achieve your goal.
Evidence shows that having positive relationships can help us to live longer and happier lives with fewer mental health problems (Mental Health Foundation, 2018). Positive relationships give us a purpose and a sense of belonging. Positive relationships are important no matter how old you are. For babies, children and young people, having positive relationships is key for their mental development and wellbeing (Mental Health Foundation, 2018). The couple relationship between parents is also important for a child’s emotional wellbeing (OnePlusOne, 2015). So if you are having problems with your relationships, there is no better time to seek help than when you are pregnant or have a small baby. There is lots of support available - you can seek support from your health visitor, GP, Relate or talking therapies.
- Southampton: http://sid.southampton.gov.uk
- Dorset: http://advicedorset.org.uk/
- Be Mindful (bemindful.co.uk) has more information about mindfulness
- NHS choices (https://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Sleep-self-assessment.aspx and https://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/sleep/Pages/sleep-home.aspx) have more information and advice on sleep and have a sleep assessment
- One You (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/sleep)
- Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk) has more information for if you are finding it difficult to sleep
- Infant sleep information source (https://www.isisonline.org.uk/) has information on babies’ sleep patterns and habits
- Hampshire Lanterns is a support group for mums across Hampshire
- Baby Buddy is the multi-award winning free app that guides you through pregnancy, birth, parenting and beyond. You can explore the of Baby Buddy or download the full version of the app for free on the and . There is a lot of information including videos about your physical and mental health.
- PANDAS Foundation
- Local Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Teams: - Hampshire Tel: 01962 89 778 - Dorset Tel: 01202 584 329.
- Recovery College in Hampshire & Dorset
- HIOW wildlife trusts run local groups for families and activities to support wellbeing
- Ready, Steady, Mums Walking Group
- Chat Health 0-5 Text Messaging Service
- Mums Net