Congratulations, you’ve just welcomed a beautiful baby into this world. Your energy and thoughts are all focused on your newborn, which is understandable. However, if you’re going to be the best possible mother for your baby, you need to practice a little self-care every once and a while. Don’t let hygiene and exercise fade into the background; embrace the challenge! Here are five self-care practices to keep in mind while you care for your new baby.
Getting enough sleep
We spend about one-third of our life sleeping, and for good reason. A good night’s sleep helps us reset, and when we fail to get seven or eight hours of sleep a night, it can affect our concentration and increase anxiety and depression—not to mention how dangerous it is to drive when drowsy. Try to make it a priority to go to bed at a decent time every night, especially if you’re going to have to get up every couple of hours to care for your newborn. Your mental health will improve with the more sleep you get.
Paying attention to hygiene
When you’re caring for your newborn, worrying about your hygiene is likely not a priority. Things like showering and putting makeup may fall by the wayside, and you may find yourself neglecting your physical appearance or personal hygiene. Here’s a tip: when you look good, you start to feel good. That’s why it’s important to take showers, brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on deodorant, and wear fresh clothes every day, even when you’re taking care of your baby. Doing these simple things and looking out for your hygiene will make you feel clean and ready to tackle the day. This will improve your mental health and how you view yourself.
What does food have to do with our mental health? When we put proper nutrition into our bodies, it can balance our mood and improve overall well-being. Cutting back on sugar and opting for fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole-grain carbohydrates will give you the energy you need to care for your newborn baby. Try to stay away from processed foods that are high in saturated fats, like ice cream or chips, and drinks that are high in sugar, like soda. Women are typically more vitamin deficient than men, and foods can be a great way to give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function properly.
Committing to regular exercise
It can be hard to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day when you’re caring for a newborn. Whether it’s going for a run outside while your baby is down for a nap or going to a yoga class and having your mom babysit, any form of daily exercise can help you reduce anxiety, ease depression, and improve your self-esteem. That’s because when we exercise, we release endorphins, which are the body’s “feel good” hormones. These hormones calm our mind and relax our body. Every time we exercise, it also increases blood circulation in the brain, which can improve our mood and make us more attentive—a necessity for new mothers.
Caring for a newborn can leave you feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Meditation can be the perfect cure. Meditation changes the way your brain operates because it helps you become focused on the present. Meditation has been proven to ease various mental health conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. All it takes is sitting down for a few minutes every day, closing your eyes, letting all the stress and your thoughts melt away, and focusing on your breathing. Meditating in the morning is recommended so that you can start your day with a centered mindset.
You may be all over the place when you’re taking care of your new baby. But remembering to take care of yourself will help you improve your mood and overall well-being. This will not only improve your abilities as a mother, but it will be what’s best for your baby as well.