Okay, moms, you may not be pregnant any more but it's still absolutely essential that you practice good self-care. Perhaps even more important than before because now you have an entire person depending on your good health, both emotional and physical. Below are 13 stress busters especially designed for you new moms.
Stay hydrated. Obviously essential when you’re breast-feeding but so important for everyone else. If we have issues with things like vaginal dryness, for example, hydration can be linked to that. Ditto for headaches and fatigue. Got either of those? Tea, coffee and alcohol dehydrate too so you need more water if you are drinking those.
Go outside. There's just something about stepping out of your house into the world. The air is different, the ceiling is higher, the light is likely brighter. It's calming, for you and your child. Calm is good. Just typing these words gets me taking some deep breathes. Bundle up if you need to but head outside and just see what you notice...about yourself and the world that you see around you. Take some deep breathes when you're out there.
Make self-care a part of your everyday routine. Seriously. It can be part of your everyday while not adding extra "work". Some small ways to do so? Take good, whole-food based vitamins and supplements. Dab a calming essential oil on your wrists. Get up 5 minutes earlier. Stretch your body before the day starts.
Keep (start) saying "no". Ugh, this is a hard one but gosh, is it a goodie! This is one where you notice the difference immediately. Remember that saying "no" gives someone else the opportunity to say “yes”. Saying "no" also allows people who are more expert than you to do the work. Saying "no" also frees up more emotional energy which we all need.
Take breaks...at work, at home. Step away from the computer (or phone). Head to the bathroom, the break room or kitchen. When you're in that new place, do something different than what you were doing: brew a cup of tea, pour a glass of water, open a magazine, talk to someone in person. Breaks are essential for us to continue to do good work, not get bored, burned or resentful. 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 50 minutes, it's all good.
Move more, click less. You know what I mean. Get thee away from this screen! Roll (kick/throw) a ball to your child. Whip out your hula hoop. Take a barre class. Buy a barre for your living room, if you can't get to class. Bring your child or not. But moving not only gets you connected to your body, builds strength and eases stress but it also often connects you face-to-face with others. That's better for you than screen time, anytime.
7. Talk to a friend. In person. Remember what that was like? It felt good, right? Okay, so start it up again. Even if it only 30 minutes, make it happen. Connecting with friends in person is so crucial. They are our reality check, our champion, our support system. We need them. But if theyre not..
8. Keep “better” company. That may mean not accepting friend requests from people who you don’t really want to get to know better/stay in touch with. or it could mean dropping a friendship that has been draining you. The company we keep influences our emotional health. Just ask anyone who's struggling in her marriage or just moved to a new town.
9. Meet a neighbor. Some of my neighbors are having a block potluck this Sunday and I'm excited! The group socialization isn't everyone's bag, I know. But studies show that being connected to your greater community, your neighborhood, is actually good for your health. It can also be a really nice way to de-stress, meet new people and apologize in advance for the flowers that your toddler might pick from a garden other than his own.
10. Let go of what's not working. You know you have something that's nor working that you feel you should let go. What is it? Decide when and how you;re going to drop it. Remember, saying "no" opens ups a "yes" for someone else. If it feels like there are a lot of stressors and you feel conflicted about what to let go, it can help to talk them out with someone unattached to them. Click here to learn about my wellness coaching offerings. And message me if you need a 15% off coupon ;-)
11. Go out with your honey. No babysitter? No problem! Head over to my Facebook page and leave me a comment that you'd like to be connected into our local babysitter swap. What if you're not local to Durham? What about starting a swap in your own 'hood? Put the idea out via your local moms group or neighborhood list serve.
12. Practice gratitude. And make it public if you can. Facebook it or Tweet it or..don't. The idea is to offer up what you feel grateful for as a way to practice mindfulness and just to be present with what is good. The stress won't necessarily abate but you might find yourself less anxious about what is distressing or challenging you.
13. Eat an apple. Low calorie, packed with fiber and Vitamin C, this Fall fruit is a perfect complement to any healthy changes you want to make. Apples are also associated with lowering risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease. For all the good they offer, apples are also relatively inexpensive although they are one of those fruits which ideally you want to eat organic since you are consuming the skin. Take a bite!
What's missing? What would you add? Leave me a comment below. And, as always, thanks for reading.