“Self care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you” -Katie Reed
When we started this parenthood journey I remember how hard it was to be a happy mom (it still is some days) especially when you feel drained and exhausted. Those new born days really takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
Also working in the health care field I come across the severity of mental health issues in today’s society, part of it is because of isolation and lack of support and part of it because of burn out. This is why mindfulness and intentional living can have a huge impact on our well being. Here is my top ten self care tips, every mom should try to incorporate these into their lives.
This habit is hard to take on when you have kids, especially young ones. But try to get some time before your bedtime to read in place of screen time. Whenever I do this, I’m able to sleep better and also it lets your brain wind down and focus on something else other than your life. My current read is “the life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo, I can write another post on her book someday, but do check it out for her awesome insights into organizing and de cluttering life.
2) Learn something new
You could listen to a podcast or a Ted Talk or even watch a Youtube video. Learning a new skill helps you feel more confident and empowered.
Finding a time in the day to actually do a workout is a big challenge for moms. I never found that time for the first year after my daughter was born. I slowly started getting back into workouts and yoga through some short video series. If you are a beginner check out the 7 day 7 minute workouts by Lucy Wyndham-Reed and the short yoga series by Yoga with Adrianne on Youtube. I started doing these in the morning before the baby wakes up and since they are short its easier to incorporate into my schedule. As you start getting back into those workout routines you will feel more energized and maybe can even do longer workouts with the baby when they are awake like walking through the neighborhood or park.
That year with the newborn I felt like I aged 10x faster!! All my skincare routines were put on hold while taking care of the baby. It just makes you feel even more tired when you are not nourishing the skin you live in. When you are a new mom you wont have time to do a full on spa session but you can put on a face mask while cleaning or folding laundry or when the baby naps (so that you dont scare them with the mask 😉
5) Gratitude Journal
Parenthood is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet we all get so stressed out from the day to day tantrums that comes with it. Tomorrow they will be a little more older and once the years start passing by, that little one of ours wont need us as much. We are all well aware of this too but we forget to cherish the moments sometimes. Write down and reflect on your day everyday before going to bed, I am still trying to write on a daily basis, but when I do look back on those previous entries from this time last year, it brings a smile to see how much life changed since then. Writing down the day to day details also helps you relive those days and it helps you clear out your thoughts.
6)Reconnect with friends and family
When your whole world starts revolving around the baby you dont always get time to hang out with friends or call them. Try to reach out to friends and family who gives you that positive vibe and holds you up in times of need, be there for them too in their time of need. When you are expecting and the days right after when you are a new mom, it means so much to have lots of loved ones and supportive friends around. When we feel connected, it helps us feel less burned out.
7) Pick up a hobby
Do something that your heart loves and gives you joy. For me currently its gardening, I am still a newbie but being outside and tending to our little garden really makes a huge difference in how I feel, it just has a power to lift your spirits. I try to do this in the morning when the baby is still sleeping or right after her breakfast when she is in a good mood.
8) Date Night
Parenthood is a journey you embark on together with your partner but somewhere along that journey your relationship suffers when all your energy goes into tending to your baby along with work. If you have family around or a friend that could baby sit, take advantage of that and pick a day every month or every week when you could dedicate some time for each other. Also years down the road, our babies will be all grown up and will leave our nest, think about that empty nest days when you are left with only each other, you might feel like you have been living with a stranger who you have forgotten in the middle of all the job stresses and the so called life. No body has time these days, MAKE time for each other.
Travel does not have to be something that puts a dent in your wallet. It can be a simple weekend getaway in your own city, all you need is change of scenes and environment to lift your spirits. If you are able to make a trip to somewhere green and scenic, its even better. Check out this article on TIME magazine about “what green spaces and nature can do to your mood”
Losing sleep is inevitable as newborn parents, try to share the load by letting the partner who stays up at night sleep during the day. Also as the baby starts to sleep more longer hours, we might be tempted to get more chores accomplished but try to sleep at a decent hour and get at least 7-8 hours to avoid burn out. Like all habits, getting to bed early will also take time to learn, especially if you have been a late sleeper all your life. After having babies being a late sleeper can really get you more tired, since all babies LOVE to wake up early, whether you like it or not. So work around their sleep schedule, toddlers and babies around 18 months+ will start to sleep 10-12 hours, so you will still have around 3 hours to yourself. My goal is to sleep by an hour after my baby sleeps (around 10:30-11pm) and wake up 2 hours before they wake up (around 6am)…that is an ideal day, but of course I’m still trying to master this habit too.
I hope you would try to incorporate at least few of these habits into your days. Remember self care is not selfish, your kids would rather have a refueled happy mom than a burned out mom.
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