3 ways to practice self-care as a new mom.
Seven years ago when I became a mom for the first time my whole world was thrown for a loop. Although I had many conversations and asked a lot of questions prior to welcoming my little bundle of joy, nothing could have prepared me for the shift that would take place in my life. Becoming a mother is the most selfless and noble journey any woman can embark on. The easiest part of motherhood is losing yourself – in fact you don’t even have to try, it just happens. You love these little beings so much that you give every part of you to make sure they are happy, healthy and whole. Here’s the thing friends, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Seven years ago, a friend encouraged me to make time to get my nails done – and though I’ve found new, more fulfilling ways to take care of myself – spiritually, physically and mentally – that one piece of advice has saved me. Let me share with you three areas of my life that have become a priority in taking care of me.
Eating healthy and taking my vitamins is something I’ve struggled with over the years. The list of new responsibilities when you bring your baby home is extensive and the thought of cooking something nutritious often falls to the wayside. If you’re anything like me – you will opt for the fastest and most convenient. But, mamas, you must remember how important good nutrition is. It is especially important for new moms who are recovering from pregnancy, labor and delivery. What you put in your bodies makes a difference in how you feel physically, which in turn affects your mental health. Make sure to stock up on healthy food – chances are if your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy choices, you will be more likely to stick with that. Plan ahead and cook in bulk – this can help you avoid fast food. and lastly, drink plenty of water. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding.
Motherhood can be lonely if you are not intentional in having healthy and thriving friendships and relationships. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and before you know it, it has been weeks (maybe months) since you have made time to have a meaningful conversation. As a new mom, I remember the feeling of being “needed” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I felt caught up in this never ending cycle of diapers, feeding, sleeping. I loved being a new mom but I also craved the opportunity to feel like me again. I made a decision early on to invest in the family and friends that brought out the best in me, those that encouraged me and made me laugh. The people in my life that pulled me out of the cycle of mommyhood were important for my sanity and health. For me, that began with my husband. The most important relationship was my partner and I gave him as much of myself as I could – and he did the same for me. Next, I began taking time to see friends. Having adult conversations and outings with other women made me feel like I was not alone and refreshed my mind more than I could ever explain.
Self-awareness and reflection
This one will look different for all of us. For me this is prayer and worship. It is important to take time to yourself and take personal inventory of everything you have going on. Reflect on your feelings, emotions, thoughts and behaviors and take accountability for them. I have many friends who process verbally and seeing a therapist helps them immensely. For others, journaling is helpful too. Whatever it is for you, make room for it in your life. I have four kids and believe me when I tell you that making time is a challenge. I take every opportunity I can get!
I realize that this isn’t your typical “self-care” list. There’s no spa days or facials here – that’s not to say that these aren’t great ways to take care of yourself as you jump into mom-life – but, I believe that taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually are the keys. I’ve had to remind myself again and again over the last seven years. I’ve found myself completely lost many times and probably will again. Let’s face it – it’s easy to get sucked in. The one thing to remember is that the best gift you can give your new baby is a healthy, happy you. So, where to start? Maybe a trip to the nail salon to kick things off.
3 ways to practice self-care as a new mom.