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10 Tips to Manage Lockdown Anxiety for Pregnant and New Mums

1. Anxiety is often caused by the feeling of a lack of control, so we will struggle with lockdown anxiety more if we hold onto things that are out of our control. Let go of all the plans you had, the things you can’t do for now – and just take each day as it comes. Try to get into the forced slower pace of life. You may even miss it when it’s gone.

2. As we all know, the NHS is working harder than ever to look after us all, and I and my colleagues deeply care about maintaining communication and support. Apps like Bia Mother have trusted experts, qualified professionals and coaches at your fingertips, or you could take my online antenatal course, recorded during my own pandemic pregnancy. When you focus on what is within reach you gain a sense of control and that gives you power over anxiety. It’s amazing how much of a difference this makes.

3. Build your tribe online. You could start a WhatsApp group or join social apps like Mush  or Mums Anywhere – there is still so much you can do to connect with people from home. Ask your neighbours for help with shopping if you need it. Build a sense of community in your local area.

4. The media can induce lockdown anxiety and the feeling that something bad is coming and there’s nothing you can do about it. Try not to engage too much with scaremongering stories and articles. Follow the RCOG guidelines, and stay up to date with any government updates, but there's no need to watch every news report or endlessly 'doomscroll' through social media before bed. If you can't kick your phone addiction, why not visit happy news sites like Positive News or Good News Network for a boost of positivity?

5. There's always an upside. For years I have been recommending that women have at least two weeks at home with their baby to bond and get to know each other. It isn’t good for newborns to be passed around from person to person anyway – they need to adjust to their new world and environment with you at home. And it's never mattered less if you don’t make it out of your dressing gown – there's no FOMO when no-one else is doing anything exciting either!

6. Go into your body and focus on what is happening there. Sometimes being in your body and rather than your mind can help. So, if you feel panicky, can you audit what is happening to your body? Are your shoulders high? Is your breathing quick? Can you relax your shoulders, roll them and take a deep breath in? You can change your mind as a result of changing your body.

7. As clichéd as it sounds, 'happy mum, happy baby' is so true. Even if you take just 5 minutes a day, you really need to prioritise yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself. You can use hypnobirthing throughout pregnancy and for a long time after birth. The breathing and communication with your body is timeless.

8. Have a strong morning routine. Doing the same key things every morning maintains a healthy mindset and some level of normality. For example, you could do some exercise or yoga, then take a shower and get dressed. Follow by eating a healthy breakfast and take a moment to be thankful for what you have. Gratitude can also help set you up for the day.

9. An evening routine can be useful too. Here's some things that help me deal with lockdown anxiety before sleep:

  • writing a little ‘to-do’ list for the next day
  • giving myself a facial massage
  • soaking my feet
  • meditating
  • reading

These all great ways to set up for bedtime.

10. In conclusion, always remember that you are in the safest place possible in your home. Try to be grateful for what you do have – you and your baby are safe and healthy.

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