Hi there, new mom. Are you looking for ways to improve your self-care routine?
You’re not alone. Many moms find it challenging to prioritize themselves and their needs when they have so many other responsibilities—work, family, friends, etc. But the truth is that if women don’t take care of themselves first, they won’t give their best efforts or energy to anything else in life.
And while some may think that taking time out for oneself is selfish, it makes mothers more productive and effective at work and home. It also helps women build stronger relationships with others because they can listen without judgment or criticism.
Here are six simple ideas (and activities) that can help you get started on a path toward prioritizing yourself again.
Give Yourself 10 Minutes of Personal Time
Being a new mom can be overwhelming. Between recovering from childbirth and caring for your precious newborn, there’s hardly enough time in the day to breathe. However, it’s essential to set aside a few minutes each day to gather your thoughts and keep your emotions in check. Before you rush through the day sterilizing bottles and doing other tasks, sit down and give yourself some time to relax.
Get a cup of coffee or tea and sip it in silence. You can even bring a cup of tea or coffee to the shower and enjoy the peace while you wash and clean your body.
Prioritize Your Health
Get back into the habit of exercising after pregnancy. If you’re nursing, speak to your doctor before working out because certain activities can reduce the amount of breast milk you produce. But even if you get a little workout in before breastfeeding your baby, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day.
If you can’t get out of the house and exercise, use your baby’s nap time to do sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and crunches at home. If you’re just beginning an exercise program, stretch first for five or ten minutes before each workout.
Get Enough Sleep and Eat Well
As a new mother, it’s common to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. You may be that mom who feels guilty because she doesn’t feel like taking care of herself. And you may even feel guilty about treating yourself to a good night’s sleep or having the time to eat healthy meals throughout the day.
But getting enough rest and eating well is vital to your survival and well-being. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll feel exhausted all day long. And if you don’t eat properly, the fatigue will only worsen.
If you’re breastfeeding, eat a balanced diet, including vegetables and fruits. Since nursing moms will need more calcium, be sure to eat lots of dairy products.
Take a Day Off Once in a While
When was the last time you had a mani-pedi or a haircut? You’ll be taking care of your child for the rest of your life, so it’s important to take a step back and take care of yourself once in a while.
Even if you’ve given birth several weeks ago, your body is still healing and recovering from the rigors of pregnancy. If you’re in Singapore, you can call for a postnatal massage service and relax for a couple of hours while your baby is asleep. You can have someone watch over him while you get your treatment in the next room.
The massage will ease tension and stress as well as gently help your body heal. When your body is healthy, you’ll be able to care for yourself and your baby.
Allow Yourself to Say No
As a new mom, you’re already caring for another human being. You don’t need to take on too many responsibilities at home or work if you don’t feel like you can.
If friends or family members are pressuring you to do more, decline their invitations with an explanation rather than giving them the cold shoulder. Say something like, “I’m so busy with my newborn. But if I have some extra time, I’ll let you know,” or “Thank you for thinking of me, but I have a lot on my plate right now.”
At the same time, if anyone is pressuring you to go out with them or take that job offer when you’re not ready, speak up and say: “No, I can’t take that on right now,” or “I’d rather not. Thank you for thinking of me” until you’re more secure in yourself and your skills.
As a new mom, it’s so easy to put others out by saying no to offers of help. After all, you’re juggling caring for your newborn and adjusting to new mom responsibilities.
But it’s important to accept help with an open heart and mind. Let friends and family members take care of your baby or three-year-old while you go out for a walk, take a shower, or eat lunch alone. Remember that everyone wants to help you, and they’re offering for a reason.
If you’re breastfeeding, take advantage of the time your baby is asleep to do something for yourself. You could use that time to go out with friends or simply relax on the couch for half an hour.
Taking time out for oneself will make mothers more productive at work and home—it’s not selfish; it’s brilliant. You deserve some TLC, too!