Adjusting to life as a parent isn't easy. Somehow these little people come into our lives and provide more joy and happiness than we could ever imagine but also an immense amount of stress and chaos. Learning how to cope with these changes to our lifestyle and who we are as a person is paramount to living a happy and joyful life. Stress is so much easier to manage when we have strategies in place to allow us coping skills, rest and relaxation within our hectic days. Here's to putting yourself first so that you are equipped to be there for everyone else to your best ability.
You don't have to take up marathon running but finding a way to increase your activity level can go a long way to boosting your mood and finding relaxation. Yoga, Pilates, stretching, swimming or a workout at the gym or a walk around the block can be hard to find motivation and time to do but you'll feel a lot better afterwards.
It's especially hard in our busy parenting days and harsh winters but a few minutes outside (with or without kids) can boost your energy levels. Better yet- add in a snowball fight or building a snowman and you've got some exercise, too!
Enjoy a bath!
I particularly love a detox bath with 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of epsom salts. You can add in some essential oils for some aromatherapy as well. I suggest lavender before bedtime for improved sleep quality! Light a candle and pretend you have time to go to the spa!
Clear a few things of off your place. Don't overbook and put yourself first. Ask yourself "Do I really need to do this? Or can I press the easy button instead and make more time for myself?"
Try something new!
Perhaps a new hobby or sport you've wanted to try? A new recipe or project? Take a class and learn something you've always wanted to learn about? When my first daughter started sleeping well at night I took a cake decorating class with a couple of girlfriends and learned how to decorate birthday cakes. It was a fun night out and a great break from being a parent for a couple of hours!
Grab some of your favourite tunes and enjoy a playlist that brings you joy! And better yet, DANCE! Let that stress go and have some fun! You can't work at parenting all the time right? So take a brief break and teach your baby how to dance! And to be clear, I'm not suggesting Raffi! :)
VIsit friends or family. Don't get stuck in the house and spend too much time alone. We need our connections and while sometimes organizing that visit can be tricky- you're worth it!
Find time alone
Take help and find a few minutes away from everyone. Enjoy the sweet bliss of grocery shopping alone or walk the isles at Chapters with time to read the book titles. Those sweet moments of solitude that you once took for granted can bring you a ton of peace and fulfillment!
Ask for help!
Don't be afraid to let those who care about you help you! Perhaps its some housework, or babysitting while you run some errands or just holding the baby so that you can get some R&R for a few minutes without holding a fussy baby. So many moms have been there before you and when they tell you they want to help- believe them!
The better you sleep the better set up you are to cope with the day's stressors and challenges. You'll be more patient for your baby and likely accomplish tasks with more easy and efficiency. Well rested people tend to eat better and sleep is a basic necessity for overall health and wellbeing so don't forget to make your sleep a priority.
Be kind to yourself
Choose to allow yourself to make mistakes and don't hold yourself to perfection. You wouldn't expect that of others or your child, would you? Don't hold yourself to unrealistic expectations and give yourself patience as you experience all the new ups and downs of parenting.
Consider a daily journal to write the best part of every day down. Your baby's firsts and your firsts. Your happy moments and your gratitude. Not only will you enjoy this keepsake one day, but the exercise of focusing on what went well instead of what didn't, allows us to rewire our brain to function more positively.