Self-care: the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
If you’re a first-time mom or a veteran, you know how difficult practicing self-care can be after having a baby.
We know how important it is, but your time and energy is consumed by this tiny little baby you’ve just given birth to.
I was there!
After dealing with infertility, I was finally blessed with a beautiful baby girl.
Once I gave birth, all I could think about was holding the bundle of joy I was blessed with!
I stopped focusing on my mental health, my physical health and just about any kind of health there is.
I told myself- “I’ll just soak up the newborn stage and focus on getting back to myself soon.”
Well, after two months- that soon never came.
Sure, the bond with my baby was amazing, but the bond with myself was non-existent.
I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the heavy eye-bag, messy bun, chipped-nail, 10-pound heavier woman staring back at me.
At first, I wanted to throw the biggest pity party you’ve attended.
“How am I supposed to take care of myself when I have a baby to take care of?”
“Why do I need to take care of myself if I’m just stuck at home with the baby?”
Or the best one- “There’s no way I can ever get back to the way I was, so I’ll just face the fact that I am going to stay like this forever.”
Then I decided.
This was it.
No more pity parties! I took out my bullet journal I promised to use, which had collected about an inch of dust, and wrote down all things I remember doing before giving birth.
Things I knew I could start implementing to get me back into the groove of things.
To make me feel like a woman again.
The woman I loved. I needed to fall back in love with myself.
And, I did just that.
So I am here to tell you- Don’t stress. You will get yourself back. You will fall back in love with yourself.
Forgive yourself for the time you spent carrying for everyone else and move forward.
With all of that being said, I’d love to share self-care ideas that will hopefully help you as they did for me.
The first few months of my baby’s life went a little something like this:
- Feed Baby
- Change Baby
- Put Baby to sleep
- Squeeze in a body shower
- Try to get some sleep
- Try to find a way to make food for me.
I’m embarrassed to say that I went more days without washing my hair than I’d like to admit.
Here are a few physical changes I made.
1. Take more baths– A little lavender Epsom salt and a good book while my hubby spent one on one time with our baby. This helped so much with muscle tension.
2. Stretch- I made it a point to get back into stretching every single morning. Not only did this help me wake up, but it also made my body not feel so tight.
3. Drink more water- I realized that I was going a whole day without drinking water! I busted out my pretty Yeti Rambler and promised to finish two fills before the end of the day.
4. Go for Walks- The hardest part about being a stay at home mom and feeling like you’re stuck in a box all day. I made sure to get out of the house every day and walk; even if it was just to go check the mail.
5. Make a smoothie- I invested in a Ninja Blender and I wasn’t even using it! I started making myself a smoothie every day. I forgot how much I loved them!
7. Drink Tea– I love drinking this tea before bed! It helps me relax after long days and tastes yummy!
If you’re dealing with postpartum anxiety, I genuinely understand.
It can definitely be mentally debilitating, but there is hope!
I have dealt with anxiety for the majority of my adult life, but postpartum anxiety is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
As difficult as it was, I overcame it!
In my post, How To Survive Postpartum Anxiety & Baby Blues, I go into a little more detail on how I survived.
Here are a few things I did for my mental health:
8. Meditate- This doesn’t have to mean you’re sitting down in silence with your legs crossed because let’s face it- there’s no silence with a baby 🙂
I simply took a few minutes, even if in the shower, to breath. I would concentrate on my breathing and close my eyes for a bit.
9. Daily Devotional- I used to read my devotional every day before giving birth, and suddenly I had forgotten all about it.
I started reading this devotional again, and let me tell you- there’s nothing better than feeling His presence at the start of every day.
11. Take Vitamins- One thing I didn’t ever forget when I was pregnant was taking my vitamins. The moment I gave birth- that internal alarm clock vanished!
I sure felt it! I immediately started taking my vitamins again and feel so much better, mentally!
12. Say a Mantra- I know how silly this may sound, but it works! Every morning I looked in the mirror and told myself- “I am a beautiful woman, loving mother and I will get through this day.”
13. Social Media Detox- This was a huge one for me. I found myself scrolling through social media while feeding my baby and comparing myself to other mothers.
Should I be doing what they’re doing? Surely I can’t afford to purchase all of those things for my baby.
I was quickly sucked into the comparison trap!
Taking a social media detox was a huge game-changer for me!
I would love to know what you’re currently doing to practice self-care!
Let me know if you’re doing any of the ideas listed above and how they’re working for you.
Continue to remind yourself that it’s okay if you have off days. Forgive yourself and try again the next day!