Before I was a doula, I worked as an addiction and mental health counsellor. The "Wheel of Life" was a tool I used with almost all of my clients with great success. Basically, its a visual aid that lets you focus on each of the different components that make up your life. Categories such as PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH, HOUSING, RELATIONSHIPS, SOCIAL LIFE, LOVE, FINANCES, HOBBIES etc. It gives you the opportunity to rate each category from 0-10 with 0 being "it brings you pain/heartache" and 10 being "perfect, wouldn't change a thing." After scoring each section, the wheel identifies areas in your life that are not balanced and which areas need work or more attention.
Recently, I've discovered that this tool may also be really beneficial for new parents, especially those who's identity has shifted (or been lit on fire) since having a baby. It's important to remember that the wheel is to be customized for each individual by adding or taking away categories that make sense for you. I've uploaded a template for your review below.
Things to ask yourself when you are working through each sections might include:
PHYSICAL HEALTH: How healthy are you? Are you making a conscious effort to better your physical health? What types of things are you doing that may be hindering your physical health? How can you include your new baby in physical exercise?
MENTAL HEALTH: Do you feel happy, stable and comfortable in your own skin? What types of activities do you do daily to benefit your mental health? What could you add/take away to your daily routine that might help? Who can you speak to? What changes in your mental health have you noticed since having your baby?
CAREER: Is your career where you want it to be now? Are you heading in the right direction? How has your career changed since having a baby? Are you happy with this change? If not, are you willing and able to support a change to your career in the future?
SOCIAL: How many times per week do you leave the house without your children for your own personal pleasure? Do you have a group of other parents that you socialize with? What do you talk about & is the conversation rewarding? When is the last time you went out with your partner without your children?
Now that you have determined the areas in your life that could use some special attention; your next step is to pick the one that has the most significance to you (i.e. mental health). Your job is to come up with 3 things you can do this week to improve your mental wellness. ...One you can do today, one you can do mid week and one you can do 7 days from now. By working on individual areas of our life, rather than viewing it as one big picture - it seems less overwhelming. More importantly, you will notice that making small changes to one area, has a profound impact on the wheel in its entirety...
This adjustment to parenthood is a tricky one. We gain SO much when we welcome a new baby into the world, but, we also lose pieces of ourselves. For some of us, we give up our body. For others, we lose our minds, our jobs or identity. Of course your life will be different after having a baby, BUT it can still be so magical!
As a side note, reach out! The Doula Tree is always open to lending an ear and answering questions about this finicky phase in life. We also offer postpartum services to women and families in Norfolk County, Brant County, Haldimand County and surrounding areas.