Do you ever feel frazzled? Like you’re not sure how everything is going to get done and that all the balls you’re juggling could come crashing down at any moment? As moms it seems like we’re constantly navigating schedules, household chores, and our children’s needs. There is never enough time in the day and sometimes with little ones it feels like nothing ever gets done.
The mountain of laundry is never ending and you’re making approximately 17 meals a day. With everything else on your shoulders it’s no wonder that taking care of yourself falls to the bottom of the list. And since the list is never-ending, self-care essentially goes out the window. I’m not going to tell you to spend 30 minutes a day meditating, but I do have some small self-care tips for new moms to dramatically increase your well being.
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Get Up Early
This may sound counter intuitive for “self-care” but getting up a little earlier will give you extra time to yourself. I don’t mean that you should get up early and do a sink load of dishes. Take 30 minutes and drink coffee, meditate, catch the news, or do something for yourself. This is your new “me time” and while it isn’t at an ideal time of the day for some of us, it’s time you can dedicate solely for yourself.
**One of the Top Self-Care Tips For New Moms: Get Some Sleep**
I’m sure a lot of you laughed out loud at this one. Getting more sleep seemed like such a pipedream when C was an infant. It was also annoying to hear “sleep when the baby sleeps” because it felt like she never slept. Obviously, I can’t change your reality if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night. Or napping well. But you do have options. Sleep is one of the most important functions to keep yourself healthy. Here are a few thoughts on how you can get more ZzZzs:
*Take more naps
*Go to bed an hour earlier
*Let your partner take a middle of the night feed
*Alternate sleeping in on the weekends
Even a few extra hours can make you feel like a new person. Consistent sleep is best, but as all new moms know, it’s likely not in the cards for awhile. Do what you can to squeeze in any extra you can get.
Anyone who hasn’t had a child may laugh at this one, but you know what I’m talking about. So many new mammas are so busy taking care of their little ones they don’t even have time to shower. While I understand how it can be difficult to get five minutes to yourself with a newborn, I’m going to go ahead and push you to make this happen every day. Although not as important as sleep, showering daily is one of my top self-care tips for new moms.
Give the baby to your partner, mother, anyone in the vicinity with two arms, or even put her on the mat for a few minutes. At about six weeks we started walking for an hour every morning. C napped, and I walked off baby weight. I came home sweaty and took a shower every day. To make this work I put her on the mat in view of the shower. At first, I could only jump in for 3 minutes at a time. Gradually she got more comfortable with the mat and eventually I was able to take a normal shower just peeking out at her every couple of minutes. This was so important for my sanity. Take a shower. Every day. It will make you feel better, I promise.
Give Yourself a Manicure
I’m not going to pretend you have an hour or two to get out to the salon every two weeks. If you do, by all means, head there. If you don’t, try to find 15 minutes to give yourself a manicure or pedicure. It can really improve how you feel about your appearance and only takes a few minutes of your time. I wouldn’t do it in the room with my baby because of the smell but putting on a coat of polish always made me feel prettier. Even with baby weight and stretch marks.
Stretch/Yoga/Meditate for 5-30 minutes
I know I promised I wasn’t going to tell you to meditate in silence for 30 minutes a day. And I’m not. But taking as much time as you can (anywhere from five minutes to a half hour) each day to stretch, do some yoga, or even meditate and set your intention can drastically improve your well being. As a bonus it also helps you get back in shape if you’re stretching or doing yoga.
Meditating is really hard for me, but there are a ton of apps that are guided. I’ve tried Headspace and you can do it for a little as three minutes.
Here’s a great YouTube Video for postnatal Yoga and Stretching!
Watch Reality TV
Ok, it doesn’t have to be reality TV, but I prefer anything I can totally zone out with. If you have 30 minutes to an hour at the end of the day, treat yourself to something totally unproductive. I love catching up on my TV shows. The ones I watch with my husband are our bonding time. If you aren’t sleeping through the night I’d prioritize the “go to bed early and get more sleep” options but if you just need a few minutes to yourself, this is an easy thing to do without leaving the house!
This is not a green light to spend money you don’t have. However, as a new mamma you’re in a transition phase. Clothes don’t fit right, your body isn’t what you’re used to, and there are So. Many. Hormones. A little retail therapy and shopping can make you feel worlds better. Whether it’s grabbing a great outfit that actually fits your current body or getting a new pair of awesome shoes – something that makes you feel pretty NOW is the trick. Again, don’t break the bank here. Your body will change a ton the first year postpartum. However, you might not be back in those pre-pregnancy skinny jeans for a while. There is no reason to wear your husband’s sweat pants for months on end while you wait to fit in your old clothes.
Cuddle with Your Baby
A lot of self-care for mamma focuses on solo activities and things you do for yourself away from baby. I’d argue that cuddling and napping with your baby can be hugely beneficial (with someone watching baby of course). All those baby hormones that come from skin to skin contact are mood-boosting. Improve your own well-being by nurturing your baby. It’s science.
Take all the screen time advice and throw it out the window. Cuddle up on the couch or in bed for a movie marathon. If your baby is an infant they may sleep the whole time anyway. If they’re a toddler, make sure the movies are toddler friendly and go to town. Sometimes you just need to throw the rules out the window and have a relaxing weekend with nothing else on the schedule. Just do it. I promise you’ll feel better.
Go to the Gym*
This one does require leaving the house and probably over an hour to yourself. Have your partner on baby duty and just drag yourself to the gym. Even if you can only walk on an incline, getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat is good for you. It releases endorphins and will make you feel more like your old self. AND you’ll get back your pre-baby body quicker.
*Don’t do this until you’re cleared from your six-week postpartum appointment
Self-care comes in many forms and doesn’t always mean getting away from baby or require four child-free hours. Although those things are great, they aren’t always realistic. These self-care tips for new moms are only some of the many things you can do with just 15-30 minutes. It’s important to take care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else. If you don’t believe me, ask your mother 🙂