Wait! Before you eye roll and think ‘I don’t have time for self-care, I’m a new mum!’ this list really is achievable. Every little counts when it comes to looking after yourself and maintaining your sanity during those first few months of motherhood.
How many can you tick off for yourself this week?
Side-note: I don’t like the phrase ‘self-care’ either! It’s one of those trendy, over-used words alongside ‘wellness’, ‘holistic’, ‘new-normal’ and ‘pivoting’ in 2020! But, the intention is there with the phrase – these little achievable goals are to prioritise YOU, as we all know we can’t pour from an empty cup.
1. Make your shower luxurious
It doesn’t have to be every day 😉, but when you do manage to escape for that precious 7 minutes of alone time in the shower, make it bloody worth it! Splash out on the expensive shower gel or hair treatment and use it guilt-free so (for 7 precious stolen minutes at least) you feel like a million dollars.
2. Go outside
Being outdoors can lift the mood, lower anxiety, improve memory (hello baby brain!), lower blood pressure, enhance immune system function, increase Vitamin D exposure and reduce stress. As hard as it is on some days to even think about leaving the house, mums need all of these things in spades and you will definitely feel better for it. Mental health walks (and pram pushes) are totally a thing!
3. Give yourself permission to say NO
If you don’t want to let the neighbour come round to visit, meet the sister-in-law for coffee, catch up with a colleague for a walk, go to another baby music/gym/swim lesson or hook up again with your Mothers’ Group, YOU DON’T HAVE TO! One outing or activity a day is plenty for a sleep-deprived new mum – revel in the joy of missing out, put yourself first and in the words of Marie Kondo: say no to anything that doesn’t spark a little joy.
This doesn’t have to be a full-on exercise class (although we know of some pretty good MumSafe™ ones specifically for new mums!) but a little movement in the form of a walk, yoga, swim or dance goes a long way to making you feel energised and like you can achieve anything the day of parenting ahead will throw at you. Yep, even the laundry pile!
5. Do something each week alone
Whether it is cooking a meal, going for a walk, doing a yoga class, meeting a friend for coffee or watching a whole episode of The Crown uninterrupted – do something each week totally alone, without a baby or toddler hanging from any body parts. Something, anything, that makes you feel like the ‘old you’ – we promise, you are still in there!
6. Ditch third-party advice (unless it’s this blog 😉)
Don’t Google. Take or leave any advice given by well-meaning family and friends. Trust your gut and do what works for you and baby. The phrase “happy mum, happy baby” is used a lot but equally “happy baby, happy mum”. If your baby needs a dummy, rocking or cuddles to sleep then go for it – there is no (official or universal!) rule book. Giving yourself that freedom will maintain the sanity!
Quite possibly the hardest one of the list, especially if you have a toddler in tow as well as a newborn! Think of it as a little game – when you are getting wound up by a situation, can you breathe, observe and learn, rather than react and respond? And if not….
8. Drink the wine and eat the chocolate
Carly Steggles is the owner of Buggy Bootcamp in Manly, Sydney, and has been keeping new mums sane with safe, effective and social post-natal exercise since 2012. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.
If you are a new mum returning to exercise and are not sure where to start check out our FREE Safe Return to Exercise for New Mums program to learn all you need to know.