Relieving stress after having a baby
It's no secret that new parents are under a lot of stress. If you've recently welcomed a baby into the world, use the following tips to help manage your stress.
Personal hygiene is suitable for your physical and mental health. A hot shower, clean clothes, and fresh breath can boost your mood more than you think. Consider setting aside 30 minutes every day for a personal hygiene routine.
Maintain Basic Nutrition
No, you don't need to go on a diet but it helps to eat a healthy mix of foods to keep you energized and feeling your best.
Make some of the following simple swaps:
- Drink water instead of coffee.
- Snack on veggies instead of potato chips.
- Eat fruit instead of ice cream.
Giving your body the nutrition it needs also gives it the necessary fuel to raise your newborn baby.
Go for a walk, do a few squats in your living room, or do 5 minutes of yoga during naptime. Even a little bit of movement can release endorphins and improve your mood. Your muscles and joints will appreciate the extra movement, too.
Sleep deprivation is no joke. A lack of sleep leads to the following:
- Less energy
- Increased stressed
Be generous with yourself and find time for a 30-minute nap.
With all the other tasks on your plate, you may not have time to meditate. Instead, when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe. Take in three deep breaths, thinking about nothing else but your breath.
Relieving stress after having a baby (continued)
Humans need time with nature, especially new parents. Go for a walk with your baby and get some fresh air.
Take Time For What You Love
What are your hobbies? What relaxes you? Set aside time safely away from your newborn, without your phone, and do something to revitalize your own energy.
Choose Your Battles Carefully
With a baby in the home, it's okay to lower your standards for what's acceptable in your life. For example, it may be okay to have dirty clothes pile on the floor, dust on your bookshelf, or eat frozen meals sometimes. Be willing to meet yourself halfway.
Utilize Your Baby's Naptimes
When your baby is safely sleeping, take that time to get some sleep yourself. But, if you're getting enough sleep, use that time for yourself, the chores that are piling up, or whatever else you need it for.
Set Visitation Boundaries
Friends and family will want to pop in to visit you and your new family. However, surprise visits can cause unneeded stress for your home. Instead, inform your loved ones of the days and times that they can visit. This allows you to keep a routine and take care of your health and wellness.
Take a Break from the News
This advice is excellent for everyone. The news can be overwhelming and disheartening, which can cause stress for new parents. Curate your newsfeed so you're informed but not overwhelmed by the stress of the world.
Make Time for Family Fun
Between balancing a newborn, family, work, home, hobbies, yourself, and more, it's easy for everything to feel like work. Consciously take time to have fun with your family and enjoy your time with them.
Stay In the Moment
It's easy to be overwhelmed by everything on your plate as a new parent. But cherishing these moments with your newborn and family will remind you of what's significant.
Ask for and Accept Help
Once you realize you need help, don't be afraid to ask. Loved ones would prefer you ask for help than overwork yourself. When they offer support, really consider if you need help and don't be afraid to accept their offer.
Just Say No
Your time every day is limited, and your newborn will take up most of that time. Start saying no to event plans, extra shifts, and other time obligations. Otherwise, you may be taking time away from your family and yourself.
Avoid Big Changes
Big moves, new jobs, or familial separations are stressful for anyone. Avoid piling those stresses onto your newborn family without giving them careful considerations. A sleep-deprived family can make risky decisions.
Relieving stress after having a baby (continued)
Find a Parental Leave Plan That Works for Your Family
Depending on your work situation, you may have flexibility with your parental leave. Rather than taking multiple weeks off from work, consider an alternate plan to accommodate your family's needs. For example, see about taking some days off each week while your partner takes the other days off.
Don't Forget Your Life Before Your Newborn
Your baby is a new chapter in your life, but that doesn't mean the old you is gone. If you were a musician, a runner, or woodworker before you had a baby, consider maintaining those hobbies after your baby is born.
Join a Parenting Group
Whether it's online or in-person, a parenting group can provide you a sympathetic outlet for your parenting woes. Groups with a professional facilitator can even provide extra resources if you need them.
Make Time for Your Friends
As a new parent, you of course want to spend as much time as possible with your baby. But it's important to take time for yourself and the people you love especially to help relieve stress. Even if it's for a short time, make time for beloved friends and enjoy their company.
Keep a System
The only way to find time for everything is to have a system in place. A routine and schedule are ideal for giving your family a sense of structure. However, even a system like, "If my baby takes a nap, I clean the kitchen," can help provide structure for your family.
Forget Your Expectations of Parenthood
You may have daydreamed about what it'd be like to have a child, the type of parent you'll be, and the person that your newborn will grow up to be. But of course, things may not go as expected. Forgetting these preconceptions will potentially prevent unneeded stress.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
Taking care of your newborn is a wild ride, and your emotions will vary. Whether you're ecstatic or miserable from a lack of sleep, it's essential to acknowledge and talk about your feelings. The only way to handle them is to address your emotions.
Don't Forget Your Partner
Keep an eye out for your partner or caretakers. While they may not accept help with their newborn, you can help by ensuring their other needs are met.
Seek a Mental Health Professional
If you have a history of stress, anxiety, or depression, consider finding a therapist before your baby is born. This will make sure you have a foundation of help for stress as a newborn parent.
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"Handling the Stresses of Parenting." SmokeFree Women.
"Simple Ways to Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety After Baby." Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.
"10 Ways for New Parents to Reduce Stress." The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
United States. CDC. "Coping With Stress."
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