How to Prioritize Your Mental Health as a New Mom : Have a newborn who requires lots of attention? New moms feel the pressure of being, well… a new mom. From trying to raise a child to finding the perfect work-life balance, there’s a lot for a new mom to juggle. At times, they might even find themselves feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and even critical of themselves.
However, as a new mom, it’s also imperative to prioritize your mental health to be the best mom for your child and be there for your family. Here are some steps you can take to do just that!
Accept Your Body’s Changes
As a new mom, your body has gone through many changes. It probably still is. But instead of worrying about when you can get your pre-baby bump body back and regain your previous figure, try to accept your body’s changes. However, accepting your body’s changes is different from feeling confident and settling with your quality of life. If you are concerned about something like postpartum incontinence, don’t assume that it can’t be helped. Instead, reach for a set of Kegel balls and learn a few Kegel ball exercises to improve your pelvic floor muscles. Remember: Whatever your body is going through is natural, but there are still methods and ways to alleviate the issue and feel more like yourself again.
Create an Exercise Regimen
One of the best ways to prioritize your mental health as a new mom is to get exercise. Exercise has been proven to boost your overall mood, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression. While this can be tricky with a new baby, it’s crucial to take the time, especially for mothers experiencing signs of postpartum depression. If you have trouble pulling yourself away from your motherly duties, create an exercise regimen and stick with it! Even if this means hiring a sitter or asking your partner to take over for half an hour each day, it’s enough time to get in some low-impact exercises, like a brisk walk around the block or a relaxing restorative yoga flow. It can be just enough to give you a boost of energy and uplift your spirits.
Be Mindful of Nutrition and Hydration
Another key piece to your mental health is nutrition. When you eat healthily, choosing balanced meals and snacking throughout the day to keep your energy levels up, it offers lots of benefits. First, it gives you a small break in the day to collect yourself. Second, eating a healthy meal gives your body and brain the vitamins and minerals it needs to improve your mental health. Since there’s a direct correlation between dehydration and anxiety, drinking enough water is also critical.
Get Adequate Sleep
It’s no shock: Getting sleep as a new parent is a challenge. With a newborn waking up every few hours to nurse, it seems impossible. However, with a bit of teamwork and a nap slipped in here and there, you can achieve adequate sleep. If you can, try to find a regular sleep schedule. One way to do this is to sleep when the baby sleeps, having your partner take the night shift. You could also sneak in a midday nap with the baby — whatever you have to do to get enough sleep!
Carve Out Some Relaxation Time
You cherish your baby. But sometimes you just need some me-time. So carve out some time for just you. Whether you spend it taking a hike, getting a manicure, or binging your favorite TV show, no one’s here to judge. Just spend it in a way that allows you to relax. Even if you invite friends to come along, getting away from your baby is sometimes needed. So leave the guilt at home, collect yourself, and recharge. Never feel guilty.
Ask for Help From Your Partner, Friends, or Family
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from your partner, friends, or family members. For example, split duties and have your partner change diapers and rock the baby back to sleep after you’ve nursed the baby in the middle of the night. Ask friends if they can babysit for a few hours while you head out for groceries or a quick yoga class, or drop the baby off at the grandparents when you need to get some lingering tasks around the house. Even if you’re pretty independent, having the support you need from those around you can remove a lot of stress contributing to anxiety and overall mental health.
Schedule One-on-One Time with Your Partner
While your baby comes first, it’s also important to realize who comes second: your partner. Try not to neglect one another and make time to catch up, even if it’s simply grabbing dinner or spending a few hours in bed after your little one has fallen asleep. Hire a sitter or ask a friend or family member to watch the baby one evening as you step out on the town for a date night. Reuniting with the second love of your life and having that connection of intimacy is vital for your mental health, too.
Let Go of Perfection
Speaking of independence, try to let go of the idea that everything has to go perfectly and according to plan. If you’re a new mom with a Type A personality trying to plan everything perfectly to a T — whether it’s your schedule, the baby’s feedings, or any other number of things — is impossible. Ultimately, this will only lead to disappointment and make you feel like a bad mom — which couldn’t be further from the truth! So instead, try to find peace and let things roll off your back a little easier these days. Being a mom is hard enough.
Remember What It’s All for
Try to take a moment and reflect on this wonderful period in your life. And more importantly, in your baby’s life. Remembering what it’s all for can leave you with a sense of gratefulness, making you appreciate your newborn and how lucky you are to have them. With a newfound sense of gratitude, your head and heart become clearer.
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