Let's be honest, having a new baby (or even young child) in your life is exhausting. Your entire day revolves around this gorgeous human being.
You wake up when they cry. You feed them when they cry. You change their diaper when they cry. You get them dressed. You put them down for a nap. You spend your entire day caring for them alone. If you have more than one child then you are doing all these things x 2,3,4,5.
You are full on, all day long.
At the end of the day there is little time left for YOU. All you want to do is go to bed so that you can get some sleep and wake up feeling slightly rejuvenated. That is if the baby sleeps at all overnight.
BUT, the thing is that you have to make time for you a priority. Finding time for yourself will be challenging and will feel like the last thing you want to do, but if you don't you will find that parenting is harder and more tiresome. You will start to feel lost, frustrated and even depressed.
When YOU feel better, everyone feels better. It's true! I have seen it with my own eyes. Both with myself and with so many other moms and dads.
How can you do it? How will I have time?
I bet you feel like you don't even know who you are anymore.Or where you will find the time. I know how that feels. Trust me, I have been there. But you WILL. Time is always there, it is just matter of how we spend it. Get off facebook. Stay away from instagram. Close your email. Stop texting. Just for a few minutes a day.
Find simple, easy and short activities to do that will bring up your spirits and help you treat yourself. Make a list of things that are accessible to you and your family and put that list on your mirror or computer screen. Keep it close so you don't forget. You don't have to spend excessive amounts of money for self care (despite what the media tries to tell you). Self care can be done in your home with everything you already have!
Here are a few suggestions:
- Once a week take a warm bath or shower, by yourself. Let the water flow on your body, feel your body floating. Add some lavender oil to help calm you or some eucalyptus oil to release any congestion in your head. Light a candle beside your bath tub or in your bathroom. Try soaking in our amazing Coconut and Oat Milk Bath. You won't regret this decision.
- Order take out. After your kids or baby has gone to bed, take some time with your partner, order some take out and have a mini date night together. If you are feeling extra energetic, set up your dining room with a table cloth, candles and get dressed up a little.
- Do some stretching or yoga at home. Or if you can get out of the house go to a class. Whenever I am feeling down, stressed or lacking in some way, I will do a short yoga video at home once per week (Sunday evening is a great time for me to get ready for the week ahead). I find it always balances me and brings me peace. It can often be hard for me to get motivated to move my body but once I do I have never once regretted it.
- Read a magazine, short story or book - preferably a light topic or fiction. While non-fiction is good to read for personal development and growth it is not ideal for relaxing and true enjoyment.
- Wake up early before the baby or kids. I know that everyone says this and I know we all think - HOW? I am so exhausted that there is no way I can wake up before my kids. And while it may seem that way at first, I promise you that you WILL feel better once you get into a good rhythm and routine with this. Waking up before your baby or child will give you an opportunity to spend some quality alone time with yourself which will follow you through the day. That time you spend with yourself will give you more energy as the day goes on. It doesn't have to be much - even 20 mins will make a noticeable difference!
- Find yourself a new piece of clothing or accessory. It can seem like none of your clothes fit you properly after having a baby and that you don't look good in anything. Go to your favorite shop, rummage through a friend's closet, head to value village, whatever is in your budget or fits your style. Find a way to bring a small piece of joy into your wardrobe so that you can feel great when you get dressed! A new to you scarf, homemade necklace, or refurbished jeans (cut the knees out of an old pair to spruce them up).
- Do your hair or get your hair done. Same as above. We have a tendency as moms to forget about our style and how we look. While I don't promote making yourself beautiful and trying to look good for others (we believe in being who you are), it does feel really good sometimes to treat yourself and get yourself dolled up! Test out a new hair style once a week, put some make up on for a night out with friends, curl your hair today.
- Spend time with friends. Having a baby changes many of your relationships and often our friendships look different after having babies. Can you call a friend you haven't been in touch with for a long time? What about heading out for tea with a new friend you have recently made?
- Bake yourself a delicious treat and EAT it! Don't save it for the kids or your partner. Eat it and enjoy it. Love chocolate chip cookies? Bake them up! What about nachos with cheese? Do it! While it may seem easier to go out and buy your treats, the love you put into your own baking and cooking will come right back to YOU as you eat it. That alone is worth all the effort.
While self care seems to have become the new buzz word these days, it is actually remarkably important for our mental health. Historically women have found ways to care for themselves. It may look different than how you and I envision self care in our lives, but it is has always remained an important part of staying healthy! Think of your parents and grandparents. My grandma would have quilting gatherings with her friends or invite friends over for tea. Maybe they played cards together in the evenings or spent time knitting scarves for themselves. Perhaps they would get dressed up in their best outfit and go to church.
Seek out simple ways to bring yourself some love and attention. You will not regret it. I promise.