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Feeling Good as a Dad

This is my first blog post on our website for Alexander. I am often described as a man with very few words but here are some words that I would like to share with you all.

Being a dad is tough. Being a dad when your baby is no longer with you is tougher still. You are coming to terms with your emotions while simultaneously trying to be strong for your partner. You are meant to be a rock, but how do you do that when inside you are falling apart and desperately trying to put on a strong show for the world?

There are a few things that I have tried and found really help my mental well-being. The first is guided meditation. I’m really bad at just sitting with my thoughts; if I have a few minutes (which often turns into a lot of minutes), out comes my phone and I get lost in mindless scrolling. A guided meditation gives you time to just be with yourself, maybe a quick scan over and check in with your body, and just letting your thoughts float through your mind. It can give you a real sense of peace and calm. It doesn’t have to be for a long time – there are many apps available (Headspace and Calm are 2 popular options) which offer shorts meditations for a couple of minutes up to much longer ones lasting for maybe half an hour: you can pick one that works for you. YouTube is also a rich source of videos. There are so many available, each having a different style / flavour / emphasis so if you don’t get on with one, give another a go.

The second is yoga. I was never into this before and didn’t really think it was for me. Then, when I was feeling quite low, my sister suggested that I try a yoga retreat. I was skeptical, but thought why not? And I ended up loving it, and now start every day with a yoga flow. Again, there are some brilliant YouTube channels for this: Yoga with Adriene and Yoga with Kassandra being my favourites. I find the gentle focus of trying to hold the stretch really settles my mind and gives me a calm energy which carries me through the whole day.

Exercise has been really important for me. I go through phases of being quite active and then phases of being quite sedentary. I always feel better when I am exercising more – I love the buzz of endorphins and the extra energy which comes with fitness – but struggle to fit it in to my busy lifestyle. I’ve found it especially beneficial during lockdown; I exercise for about an hour a day at 5:30, creating a clean break between my work time and free time which can be hard to distinguish when working from home. Again, YouTube has some brilliant videos (I use Body Project and SELF a lot) which has really helped to motivate me and inspired me with fun and challenging work-out routines.

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