Emily is the founder of MummyLinks, a website and soon-to-be app
helping to tackle loneliness among Mums.
She also started the hugely successful #ShoutieSelfie campaign to reduce the stigma
of maternal mental health, and blogs on issues such as post-natal depression at Huffington Post.
Emily talked to us about the inspiration behind these projects, how she got started as her own boss,
and her top tips for looking after yourself when you work from home.
Hi Emily, could you tell me why you set up MummyLinks?
It grew out of my own experience of post-natal depression (PND). People are often surprised to learn that one in four Mums experience depression while pregnant, and one in three Mums experience post-natal depression. So it’s extremely common – just most people don’t talk about it.
Loneliness can be a real trigger for depression — it was certainly a big part of it for me. There can be lots of reasons for new Mums to feel isolated. You might be living in a new area and not know anyone. You might not have friends who live nearby. You might not feel confident about going out and about to local baby groups — or might not be able to afford them.
I found it was really difficult to meet people locally, so I started a WhatsApp group where local Mums could put in a simple message saying something like, ‘I’m popping to the park in half an hour, does anyone want to join me?’
As the idea took off, I decided to develop an app so more people could use it. The goal is to help all Mums beat loneliness — but especially those dealing with depression, or susceptible to it.
One in four Mums experience depression while pregnant, and one in three Mums experience post-natal depression.
So it’s extremely common – just most people don’t talk about it.
So, how does MummyLinks work? ?
At the moment, you sign up via the facebook page, and I’m also working on an app. You need to be invited or approved by a Mum you know using MummyLinks. Then it’s pretty much just adding a photo (to help people find each other if they meet up!) and a minimal profile – postcode and child’s birthday (to calculate rough age) for relevant playdates. The aim isn’t to ‘swipe right’ to find a new best friend. It’s more about helping Mums find some friendly local company, in a really flexible, low-key way. You can then create a playdate – at a local park, softplay, café etc – and it pings everyone within three miles. It’s about building connections and community, and about making it easier for Mums and babies to meet up and get outdoors.
The goal for MummyLinks is to help all Mums beat loneliness — but especially those dealing with depression, or susceptible to it.
Do you work from home? How does that work for you?
Everything is being done from home. In my pre-baby life, I worked in supply chain management at innocent, where I often worked from home for one day a week — I found I could really focus and get lots done, so I knew I’d enjoy working this way.
When I was struggling with PND, it was really tough to go from a career-focused ‘high flyer’, to struggling to cope with work. I found the commute really hideous, and it was hard to deal with the still-lingering anxiety symptoms at the office. I’ve found that, now I’m my own boss and work from home, I can rest and relax when I need to. So, even though I’m still very busy and juggling lots of roles, I don’t feel so much pressure. I can just stop for 10 minutes to do some yoga or practice mindfulness whenever I need to.
How To Stay Well and Enjoy Working From HomeWorking from home can be great when things are going well, but it can also be lonely. Here are Emily’s favourite tips on how to make working from home a positive experience.
Get out of the house for some fresh air
It’s all too easy to end up spending the whole day indoors at your desk. Build some ‘outside time’ into your day. It could be anything from popping to the corner shop, going for a run, taking the kids to the park, or just a really quick walk around the block.
Look after yourself
When you’re working solo, it’s easy to neglect the little things like drinking enough water, or remembering to eat a healthy lunch — but they can make a big difference to how you feel. If you’re working from home, temptation can be hard to manage — I find it easiest not to keep chocolate in the cupboard!
Make time to meet up with other people
It can get really isolating if you’re working alone all the time, so try to have some ‘social time.’ That might be meeting a friend for a coffee, going to a networking event, or spending a few hours at a coworking space. There are even a few coworking spaces with creches now.
Make your wellbeing a priority
Take some time each week to focus on how you are feeling. Spending just a few minutes each week thinking about what’s working — and what’s not working — can help you recognise when you need to make a change.
As well as the MummyLinks app, you’ve also started the fabulous #ShoutieSelfie campaign to raise awareness of maternal mental health. Could you tell us a bit more, and let people know how to get involved?
The week of April 30th – May 6th is Maternal Mental Health Week. Last year, I wanted to do something during that week, and came up with the idea of #ShoutieSelfie.
Basically, you post a picture on social media of yourself, shouting — alongside the hashtag, and a message expressing your love and support for Mums struggling with mental health issues.
The campaign really took off; it got maternal mental health trending within just half an hour, and got one million impressions.
I’d love everyone’s help to make it even bigger this year! By ‘shouting’ about PND and maternal mental health, we can help to show how common it is, which in turn helps to reduce stigma, and shows those suffering that they are not alone.
You don’t have to talk about your own mental health, or even to have experienced something like PND yourself; anyone can take part (including men too; 1 in 10 dads also struggle with PND).
If you’d like to get involved, follow me on Twitter or Instagram to get all the info from my first post on Monday morning (I’m encouraging people to just copy what I write to keep it simple but you can change if you want!) and to see everyone’s awesome #ShoutieSelfies during the week. This year, a few famous faces might be showing up!
By ‘shouting’ about PND and maternal mental health, we can help to show how common it is, which in turn helps to reduce stigma, and shows those suffering that they are not alone.
A massive thank you to Emily Tredget from MummyLinks for sharing her homeworking story. myworkhive is proud to take part in #ShoutieSelfie.
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