Being stressed out takes on a whole new meaning when you're pregnant and after you have your bundle of joy that stress volume gets turned all the way up to 11. I remember the first night in the hospital with my newborn being one of the most stressful nights of my life and not because anything was wrong but simply because this was my first child. I felt this urge to check on her every few moments just to make sure she was breathing. This is, of course, completely normal new mom behavior as I was told by all my friends and the nursing staff that was with me that night. However, no one can really prepare you for the new brand of stress that comes with being a mom.
When I came home from the hospital with my newborn, every day was a new wonderful adventure with her. What new firsts would we experience together today? It is such a beautiful time and I wouldn't trade the 6 weeks I had at home with her for anything. With that said I did notice that with all my attention on her I stopped doing the normal things I would do to de-stress. I started to get very short with anyone I spoke to and just seemed like a very angry person. I wasn't myself and the lack of sleep wasn't helping either. To combat me tuning into the bitchiest of bitches I very quickly made a list of quick ways that I could take time to de-stress every day. I then made it a priority to do one of these blissful activities every day and I hope you will too:
1. For Heaven's Sake, Leave Your House!
Put your little one in a stroller and get outside and get some fresh air. This is so good for your mental state and your little one will probably enjoy it too no matter what age they are. Even when my little girl was only a couple weeks old she seemed to enjoy her stroller rides. Also, if you need some fact based motivation, it was actually proven in a 2010 study that participants who went on nature walks had lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol (AKA the stress hormone). So nature is literally good medicine. Get outside and breathe it in!
2. Get Your Groove On
I don't know about you but it doesn't matter how bad I'm feeling, music lifts my spirits. I would play calming classical when my baby was asleep and it would help me calm down. When I was exhausted and I thought I might actually fall asleep in the spaghetti sauce I was cooking, I would play something upbeat and dance around the kitchen. Something fun to do is to use Spotify or another music app to create a destress playlist. I know I have one, which you can steal by clicking here --> Press play and unwind.
3. Take a Shower
Okay, this seems like a given, but setting aside 20mins of your day to take a shower is not only important for hygiene. My shower or bath time doubles as my meditation time. It is a quiet space where I can breathe deeply for 20mins and let the stress wash away. To take the bath experience to the next level I always use some of my go to bath bombs or shower gels (which I will discuss in an upcoming post). There are also specific scents that help to calm your mind. Lavender is a perfect calming sent that you can find in many forms. Drop a few drops of lavender essential oil in the tub or light a lavender scented candle while you soak.
4. Treat Yo' Self
A little retail therapy is probably overdue. When you have a little one most of the things you buy are for them and their needs. Which is great and trust me I love buying new adorable clothes to dress my little girl in. However, mamas need love too and this doesn't have to mean spending hundreds. Have a new dress you've had your eye on? Treat yo' self! I remember when I went through a bout of baby blues a lularoe group I joined became my best friend when they started to have bargain bin sales. It made me feel so great to wear something that boosted my confidence and that I didn't spend an arm and a leg on.
5. Ask for Help
This is my last and most important way to de-stress. Like most new moms, I was afraid to leave my baby for very long. I also thought I could handle it all by myself, even at my most sleep deprived. My husband is amazing and thankfully would notice when I needed help and would immediately step in. We worked together as a team but there were times where I should of just asked him for help. He would be sleeping right next to me and I would be close to tears and would hide it. I felt like I was doing my duty as a mother and would push through. The relief came when I realized I have a great support system and I didn't need to carry all the weight on my own. So believe me when I say you are an incredibly strong mama but there is absolutely nothing wrong with letting someone help carry some of the weight at times.
If you take nothing else away from reading this I want you to know that you are an amazing mom and you deserve rest and to feel your best! Practicing self care is the best way to make sure you are able to shine bright for your little one(s) every day. Shine on!