Tips For New Moms on How to Destress
Motherhood...it's quite the journey. So beautiful and yet so terrifying at the same time! With it comes so many new feelings and responsibilities which can be overwhelming and sometimes debilitating. It takes time to adjust to these things; schedules being so off, sleep being so compromised, alone time being pretty much non existent and priorities being so different. I often find myself somewhere in between pure, lovestruck bliss and an utter anxiety attack meltdown. I've discovered a few key things though that help to keep the meltdowns less frequent and the new mom anxiety at bay. It doesn't always work, but it helps out A LOT, and any help us new mommas (or seasoned parents for that matter) can get is welcomed with open, loving, and spit up covered arms.
Exercise can seem like a luxury or even impossible to fit into the day when you have a new baby. Not to mention the energy alone needed to do so is pretty much ZERO, but any amount of movement helps. You don't have to go all out every time with a full on gym session or an hour long yoga class...even a 10 minute stroll around the neighborhood with the baby or a short online yoga class at home during nap time is enough to release feel good endorphins which relieve stress, improve sleep and increase overall energy throughout the day. And since I know you're sleep deprived...any boost of energy is welcome. Also, checkout local fitness classes in your neighborhood for new mommas. It's a great way to connect with other new parents who can relate to everything you're going through AND get some exercise in. Double win!
Ask for Help
"It takes a village" is a saying for a serious reason. Do not be shy to ask for help from those closest to you....especially early on during the adjustment phase with a newborn. If a friend offers to bring dinner over, take them up on it! If you have family in the area, see if they can come over and help clean the house or pick some items up from the grocery store for you during those first few months while you bond with your baby. The last thing you want to do is cook or clean during this time...so don't! Simple. No family around? Consider hiring a post partum dula/nanny to help you around the house and with caring for your new baby. There are plenty of affordable options and it is SO worth the investment. Care.com is a great resource for local nannys. The way our society is set up today can be a bit alienating and we can often feel alone and scared as new moms which is a recipe for anxiety and depresson, so reach out and establish a strong network of people to help carry you through this transition that was not meant to be experienced alone. Find your tribe and let them help you so you can focus on taking care of yourself AND your baby during this tender time.
Get On A Schedule
This is perhaps THE biggest life saver with a new baby and one that's often looked down upon in the hippy dippy/new agey/yoga and wellness world. BUT...let me reiterate...THE biggest life saver and sanity saver for you AND your baby...ever! Everyone will sleep better, eat better and feel more at ease which creates a sense of harmony and peace during this new and often confusing and draining time. My baby girl started sleeping through the night before she was 2 months old, and I greatly attribute that to keeping her on a regular napping, feeding and bedtime schedule. Of course do whatever feels right for you and your baby, there is no ONE way to do anything...but this one works great and really helps take the edge off of an already stessfull time. We all love consistency...children and babies too! A great resource for napping and feeding schedules along with the BEST swaddle technique ever is Moms On Call. Total game changer.
Self Care is a Priority, not a Luxury
Yes...your baby is the absolute most BEAUTIFUL thing in the entire world! The center of your Universe...trust me...I get it! But don't forget about YOU Mama (or Daddy!). You MUST fill up your cup first in order to fill the cups of those who depend on you day in and day out. Taking just a couple minutes each day to slow down, get quiet and connect with yourself is the easiest way to recharge your battery so that you can bring your "A Game" the rest of the day. One of my favorite rituals to recharge my battery is quiet time at the end of the day with a cup of tea and either a book, a hot bath, my journal, a meditation or spending quality time with my husband. It's the perfect way to seal a long and hectic day of chasing little ones around with a bit of peace and quiet. Lately I've been loving filling my cup with Lifestyle Awareness Tea's Serene Slumber. The sweet aromas of Rose and Lavender help calm my racing, overactive Mommy-mind so that I can relax deeply and get some high quality, much needed, deep sleep.
Take a Mini-Mommy Breather
I try to take little mini breaks throughout the day to keep from feeling too drained and cranky. I take a couple deep breaths to recalibrate my nervous system and feel grounded when I'm starting to feel stressed out. A great breathing technique to try when you're stressed or anxious is to breath in for the slow count of 4, and exhale for the slow count of 6. Elongating the exhale helps to slow down the heart rate, calm the mind and get into a state of relaxation.
Lifestyle Awareness makes a tea called Stress Balance that is perfect to sip on during a mini-Mommy breather. The calming Rose, Holy Basil and Schisandra help to balance the body and mind, making us Mamas more resilient and able to handle the ups and downs of a typical crazy day in the life of parenthood. If you're nursing, Milk Power is also a great one to try to help increase your milk supply. Anise seed and Fenugreek are excellent for supporting healthy lactation. Just stopping, and remembering to take a deep breath and do something kind and nourishing for yourself can be the key difference between being a Mommy Mess and a Mommy Superhero. Remember, self care is not a luxury! It's a necessity. Don't ever feel guilty for making yourself a priority...everyone in your life will be better off because of it! Especially that adorable baby of yours.
Above all else, remember this, you're doing a great job Mama! There's no such thing as a perfect mother, so go easy on yourself when things get wonky...because they will! You're doing your best and that is more than enough. YOU are more than enough! Don't beat yourself up...instead...prop yourself up with kind words of affirmation for all the amazing things you do day in and day out for your family. They are so lucky to have you and you deserve all the love and joy that little Angel brings to you with each coo, each babble, each look and and sweet little embrace. The more you love yourself, the more you will teach your child to love themselves too, and that is one of the greatest gifts you can offer to them in this lifetime. And when you get stressed (which you will!) come back to these simple and completely doable practices to help ground you and get you back on track. You've got this Mama!!!