When I was younger I assumed self-care was about pampering-- mani-pedis and massages, facials, and haircuts--things I now appreciate, but aren't necessities. As I got older i thought it was more about nutrition and exercise--taking care of the body inside and out. I still firmly believe that physical health is important, but now I think self-care is about being aware of ALL of your needs- mind, body, and spirit. Self-care goes out the window so fast for new mamas, but I think it's so important to remember to care for yourself. That new little life is depending on YOU to be there mentally, physically, and emotionally.
My sweet babe is 6 months old this week and I cannot believe it. It felt like I was pregnant forever, and now time is just flying by. In my brief time as a mother, I have become acutely aware of my need for a few minutes of quiet alone time. I am definitely an introvert, and have always liked to recharge by myself. I know that with a little "me time" I am a better mom, a better wife, and a nicer person in general.
While I was pregnant I was in grad school full time and also working full time. I was "busy", but still regularly made time for a weekend mani/pedi, multiple spin classes a week, and quiet dinners/netflix nights with my hubby. Going from that to new motherhood was definitely a transition, but one I obviously expected. And like I'm sure any mother would say- I wouldn't change anything.
I'm obsessed with my baby and I haven't wanted to leave her side since she was born. I am extremely anxious being away from her, and while she wasn't sleeping a lot (**don't want to jinx sleep training, but she's doing better now**), I barely had a second to brush my teeth let alone indulge in "me time". It just seemed silly to even think about. But truly, now that I'm making a point to carve out a bit of time for myself, either on Saturday mornings for an hour or a little bit after bed time, I feel rejuvenated. My husband understands that when I say, i'm going for a run or I'm gonna be gone for an hour on Saturday morning, that time is worth it's weight in gold for the WHOLE FAMILY.
While I know there are a million right ways to be a great mom, I know that everyone needs a few minutes of self care. Anything from exercise, a trip to the grocery store alone [#glamorous], a long bath, a haircut (which i haven't had for a year lol), etc. goes A LONG WAY. I don't have anyone near by to watch my babe, so I just rely on my hubby when he is home, or try and squeeze in a shower during nap time.
I wanted to share a few ways to care for yourself in the chaotic and stressful postpartum months. Some of these can be done with your baby right next to you, but of course make sure to take a little alone time, if you have the opportunity.
- a long (or short) shower, with a special body scrub (coconut oil + brown sugar is amazing)
- if your baby will nap in the stroller, go for a walk and listen to a favorite podcast, play list, or heck just enjoy some quiet
- a 5 or 10 minute yoga youtube video can be powerful in re-centering during a stressful day. If you're too tired to downward dog, just sit in childs pose for a few moments and BREATHE.
- gel manicure- they last, and with all the hand washing, you want something sturdy, but pretty to look at
- pick up some flowers at the grocery to brighten up your home
- go to your postpartum appointment and think about how you are *actually* doing when the dr, asks you
- if anyone offers to help you, take them up on it (related: your husband can't read your mind. just ask.)
- take half an hour and organize your closet so all the stuff that you wear/feel good in/fits is up front and everything else is pushed aside.
- if you need to go to the doctor, dentist, etc. make an appointment!
- call your mom or someone you love
- organize any area you spend a lot of time in. Could be your living room, bedroom nursery, or even just the changing area or diaper bag.
- and of course- sleep when you can. If you feel like taking a nap- do it. My mom once told me that some alone time at the end of the day could be more restorative than going to bed early. I hate when people say sleep when the baby sleeps #eyeroll
- go out for lunch with a friend or invite them to come over with takeout
- listen to your body**
There is something so beautiful about giving up literally everything for a tiny human. It's all consuming love that is hard to explain. But don't forget to listen to what your body is telling you. Baby blues are real. Postpartum depression is real. Sleep deprivation is a bitch. Remember, when you help yourself (or get the help you need), you are helping your baby. You are helping your family. Some things require medical attention, and only YOU can take initiative in getting any help you may need.
**Do whatever you think will have the biggest impact on you, but don't put off anything that requires medical help.
Now tell me...what do you do when you have a few minutes of alone time (aside from tackling 100000 things on the to-do list).
If you feel like you're ready to devote some more time to YOU, and work on your postpartum health goals, check out my mama wants her body back program.
Until next time,