PODCAST: Episode Ten // Dr Emma Svanberg

In today's episode, I talk to Dr Emma Svanberg who is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in the perinatal period.

She supports women and their partners through pregnancy, birth and the early years of parenthood. Emma is also a  qualified Hypnobirthing teacher and runs a number of free groups in North London for parents and parents-to-be. She also shares her ideas about the psychology of parenting on social media and has run a number of campaigns to raise awareness of common mental health issues facing parents.

You can listen below:

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What would you like more of?

At busy times of our lives, we may still not be getting what we want. We are living in a state of ‘busy’ rather than ‘contented’. Time and money may feel scarce and those intentions and resolutions we set at the beginning of the year can feel out of reach. 

I am a great believer in shaking things up and making space for the new. It often doesn’t have to be a huge change- for example we have recently moved a book shelf from the hallway into the living room. My bruised shins are grateful but also it was opportunity to assess what we had.

I love books (and definitely, despite protesting, have the potential to become a full time hoarder) but I couldn’t see what I had and therefore wasn’t enjoying them. The unit became a dumping ground collecting all kinds of nonsense.

By making time to complete this small activity, I have started to approach the rest of the 'stuff'… although I am way off various shades of oatmeal and minimalism Kelly Hoppen style. 

Bizarrely since this turn of events, all sorts of unexpected opportunities have started to appear. Who knows if there are linked, but I have to say mixing things up, moving stuff around and taking endless giant blue Ikea bags to the charity shop have been very therapeutic. 

When I meet with clients, many know what they want. They can describe it in detail. They can articulate the vision beautifully. But what they need is an action plan, so they come to me to have them break it down and create a strategy. 

So what would you like to welcome this season?  

Write down some ideas and thoughts. 

Here is a five step plan to help you get started...

1. What are the main obstacles that are standing in your way? Knowledge? Money? Time? Information? Resources?

If someone could provide you with a magical ‘can do’ kit what would be in it? Who would be your mentor? Who is doing what you would like to do? 

2) Get clear on the detail

Sometimes we feel we have to wait for the perfect amount of time or money. Once you have identified your obstacles, break them down. If you need more time, how much time do you need. What could you with it? How could you release more time? What or who is taking up your time and how could you improve this situation. 

3) Small changes, major impact

Once you have identified what you need, how could you make this happen? Sometimes we can become swamped in the enormity of a task and don’t know where to begin. Start by writing a task list and then highlight the most important ones that are going to provide the greatest results. Although an investment, purchasing a course can be highly effective or commiting to a couple of days away focusing solely on your goal can promote significant change. Be creative in your thoughts and focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

4) Be aware of the self talk

Sometimes we can get in our way- I’m not good enough/I’m not that kind of person/It’s too difficult/ I’ll get found out/ What will people say/ *insert your own version of mind chatter*

Often these thoughts have been ingrained within us, so may take some time to alter. Bring them into your awareness next time you find yourself hearing them, then offer an alternative… ‘What could I do if I wasn’t stuck by this belief?’

5) Get stationary happy

Writing down your thoughts and action plan will increase your productivity and allow you to measure your progress. I find post it notes, endless lists, wall charts and notebooks in every handbag are great for jotting down ideas and potential plans. I can clearly see the thoughts in front of me and I relieve the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. 

Reducing sugar intake as a new mum | Conscious chocolate

I had my baby in October 2015. He was a stonking weight; 9 pounds 10 ounces. In the first picture taken of him, he looks like he may have a career already.

He was a hungry baby and I was a hungry mama (often quickly turning into a HANGRY mama) so the food game in our house was crucial. Fortunately my partner is a great cook and every night a huge array of CARBS were consumed. I didn't cook from scratch for the first three months as mainly my contribution to the food prep was making sure I bought packages that had instructions of 'How to oven bake'.

Once the summer arrived and my baby began to eat and enjoy food (and still does...he now goes to the cupboard and takes one of his bowls out when he is ready), I started to get back in the kitchen.

Lunch started to become a good hearty salad rather than a hurried piece of toast and slowly but surely I started to feel leaner and stronger. It wasn't until the autumn of 2016 that I felt like exercising again. Our baba hasn't been one of those babies who sleeps through the night (does anyone's?!) so sometimes walking in a straight line has been challenging, let alone attending something that threatens to be 'high impact'.

Conscious chocolate

Once I stopped breastfeeding, I knew I couldn't rely on some rather shady facts about breastfeeding burning calories (I was never quite sure of the numbers!) so I needed to look at my sugar consumption. Chocolate, cake, sweets and biscuits had got me through like many new parents. But I knew I had to get back to a 'everything in moderation' state.

In North London where we live, we have loads of health food shops. I have never been able to cut out huge food groups and feel excitedly full after a green juice. The green juice is always alongside the porridge.

I began asking 'What do you have that is sweet, that tastes good and not artificial'.

I then came across Conscious Chocolate and quickly was hooked. My favourites were Lions Raw and Mint Hint. Emma and the team at Conscious Chocolate were kind enough to send me three more flavours to try; essential orange, goji & coconut and love potion no.9. Essential orange was favourite but all are lovely. I love that they still taste like a treat at the end of a long day of dashing around but don't contain refined sugar. Plus I don't need a full bar, just a taste is really satisfying (I never thought I would be one of those people as I have a massively swet teeth...!)

Conscious chocolate

So if you are a new mum and want another alternative to the usual favourites, I'm sure there will be a flavour that will suit you.

Thank you so much Conscious Chocolate. Find out more here

NB: This post is not sponsored and I only mention products I genuinely like and use. 

Are you a new parent and contemplating your next work moves... I can help. Find out more below.

Published on Cheltenham Maman | Nicky Raby

Do you need to shake things up a little? Here are five ways I am switching things up in 2017. Click below or read here:

Cheltenham Maman | Nicky Raby