Navigating as a new mum pre-pandemic, is a life changing moment. A blurry first year, of mixed emotions from joy, laughter and gratitude for this beautiful little human, through to exhaustive tears, frustration and anxiety. One minute, drinking bier at Oktoberfest, the next, wondering whether it will be possible to leave the house again – let alone fit into a dirndl.
Being an expat mama, away from and missing loved ones, grappling with the local lingo on 3 hours sleep, was always challenging and that was before the pandemic hit.
Parenting in a pandemic, was not something anyone could have prepared for. Mothers were not supposed to raise their babies in isolation and without a loving helpful tribe by their side. A recent study showed almost 9 in 10 (87%) parents were more anxious as a result of COVID-19. With parental loneliness rising from 38% to 63%, as more new mums face their first year in lockdown.
It is no surprise anxiety, overwhelm and parental burnout are on the increase. These are difficult times and it is normal to have difficult emotions. What can you do however, when your anxiety reaches a point where it is taking over, or you feel like something is actually off?
The pandemic has been raging for almost a year, that is a lot of stress and anxiety pulsing through our bodies. We are practically bathing in cortisol, over capacity and this is on top of inadequate sleep and support, that comes with being a new expat mum without a tribe. Our amygdala, that is the fight, flight and freeze response in the brain, is firing off like a car alarm and impacts our entire body and mind. You might feel tension in your body such as tight shoulders or back or perhaps you are experiencing constant anxious thoughts and heart palpitations.
One of my favourite relaxing techniques, that I use with clients and is so successful with anxiety is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). You literally tap on the meridian points in the body, and express how you feel. Say it, feel it, let it go. Numerous studies have shown that this can help dial down the distress of the amygdala and restore calm.
Focussing on the breath and taking deep belly breaths, especially during those testing sleep deprived moments. Not only does it centre the mind back to the present but it also calms down the nervous system.
Having overcome 10 years of anxiety, I trained as an EFT and NLP Practitioner and now coach clients and hosts workshops to support those with anxiety. Originally from the UK, I now live in Munich with my Bavarian partner and lively toddler. www.jofiddy.com