Photo via Pexels
Becoming a new parent often means that your self-care routine falls apart. With every moment spent changing diapers, feeding, and doing laundry, it’s hard to find the time to take care of yourself. However, feeling healthy will allow you to put as much energy as possible into raising your child and enjoying new parenthood. Though it may seem impossible, here are some ways you can fit self-care into your new, busy life.
Rest Whenever Your Baby is Sleeping
Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest threats to well-being that new parents face. In order to avoid feeling like a zombie for weeks, it’s important that you try to get as much sleep as you can whenever possible. Today’s Parent highly recommends adopting the common advice to sleep whenever your baby sleeps. Even if your child is just nodding off for a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day, take the opportunity to lay down and rest instead of scrambling to get chores done.
Find Healthy Ways to Deal with Stress
The constant lack of time for tackling household chores, errands, or social obligations can put a lot of stress on new parents. Find stress-reducing activities so you have healthy coping methods to turn to when you start feeling out of control.
For example, you could dedicate a good half hour every evening to wind down with a good book or a hot bath. You may enjoy trying meditation or yoga as a calming way to reduce stress in the mind and release tension from the body. Just five minutes of meditation here and there can be enough to quiet a frazzled mind. Also, try to spend quality time with your partner and talk about your feelings whenever possible. Importantly, avoid turning to addictive substances to help you cope with stress, including alcohol and prescription medications.
Get Active Whenever Possible
How in the world are you supposed to find the time to exercise if you can hardly find the time to feed yourself? Good question. According to The Bump, the key to getting active as a new parent is to take advantage of short bursts of time rather than trying to find a full hour, or even half an hour, to exercise during the day. Strap your baby into a stroller and get outside to walk around the block. Take advantage of your baby’s tummy time and do some floor exercises next to them. Once your baby is old enough to hold their head up on their own, you can even use them as a weight during squats or lunges!
Force Yourself to Go Out
New parents who stay home with the child often feel isolated, so it’s important to seek social interaction and support. Being able to go out and have a quick coffee with friends will help you manage stress and feel more in control of your own life. Try to go out and meet friends even when it feels much easier to just stay home. You can even look for local mom groups to meet up with. These parents know how difficult it is to get a new baby out of the house and understand if you need to cut outings short.
Set Boundaries for Visitors
When you have a new baby, there will be several people who want to come to visit. However, entertaining visitors just adds to the stress of new parenthood. Try to spread out the visitors so that you aren’t stuck with people in your house every day. Don’t feel bad about turning down offers to visit if you’re just feeling too exhausted. Also, don’t be afraid to put people to work. Take them up on their offers to help by letting them do the dishes, fold the laundry, or run a few errands for you. They may even be able to watch your baby while you take a much-needed shower.
Being a new parent is wonderful and terrifying at the same time. It's easy to forget to care for yourself when a new child is suddenly completely dependent on you. But, if you're constantly walking around in zombie mode, you're more likely to be forgetful or make mistakes. Strive to find little bits of times for self-care and enjoy new parenthood while it lasts!