We all know that a new baby brings joy along with challenges. Pregnancy and early parenting are unique experiences, often filled with mixed emotions. As you embark upon parenthood, self-care, which can be hard to do as a new parent, is a really important activity to try to fit into your daily, or at least weekly, routine. Here are some ideas:
• Call in the village: Enlist the help of those around you in ways that will ease your load. Arrange someone to help with cleaning or cooking or whatever will give you the most support. Ask your partner for what you need too and keep communication lines open with them. Join a parent’s group.
• Communicate: Being a new parent is so time consuming and the days go past often without any adult interaction. Reaching out to those who care about you and talking about how you are feeling is an important first step in reducing isolation, getting support and feeling listened to. Surround yourself with people who will be supportive.
• Eat, rest and play: Be mindful of eating healthy meals when you can. Be kind to yourself. Rest and try not to worry if that to-do list does not get done every day. Take it day by day. Schedule in an enjoyable activity every day. It could be as simple as walking around the block or calling a friend. We know how important it is to start talking, so please know that we are here to listen.
Make time for yourself and your partner:
Making time for yourself as a as a new parent is challenging. This is also true for experienced parents, but it’s especially true for new parents. There’s so much change, so much to learn, and it’s all happening at once.The first step to feeling less overwhelmed is understanding why you feel like you have no time. Once you understand where these feelings are coming from, you can address them directly and implement practical actions to give you and your partner a much-needed break.
You may be feeling like you have no free time. While this is partially based in reality, there are steps you can take to lessen that feeling of I-have-no-time and make time to relax—at least, for a little while!
Even when you’re “not doing anything” specific in a given moment, you’ll still be aware of where your baby is, what they are doing, and whether or not they are safe.
The first step to feeling less overwhelmed is understanding why you feel like you have no time. Once you understand where these feelings are coming from, you can address them directly and implement practical actions to give you and your partner a much-needed break.
Your basic goal should be to make a home that provides a clean and safe environment for everyone living in it.
Think about what’s necessary versus what’s optional. Chances are your windows don’t need to be washed and your shelves don’t need to be dusted. Having clean laundry is more important than having folded laundry.If you are really uncomfortable dropping your house cleaning standards, consider hiring help if you can afford it.
To do lists can help you think through what you need to do versus what you’d like to do. They also free up mind-space and make it easier to keep track of all your day’s tasks and appointments.
One advantage of living in a world that worships busyness is that there are tons of websites, podcasts, articles, and books on how to make more time in your life.
Schedule Daily Me-Time and Weekly Me-Time Dates
Scheduling free time may seem contradictory, but as a new parent, you might find that if you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.
With the support of your partner, a family member, or a friend, make it a goal to schedule some time for yourself every day. You get to use this time however you wish.
For example, perhaps every morning, your partner (or family member) will watch the baby for an hour before they go to work. Maybe they will also watch the baby for two hours on the weekend. In return, you can offer the same so they have free time, too.
You’ll all be happier, you’ll finally get that free time you’ve been looking for, and you’ll feel much less stress.
Treat Time Like It’s More Valuable Than Money—Because It Is.
If you don’t have enough cash for something you need, you can consider getting a loan. Unfortunately, time doesn’t work that way—you either have it or you don’t.
When you get an open 30 minutes of time, think carefully about how you want to use that time.
For example, do you want to scroll Instagram for those 30 minutes? If you do, go for it! Just be sure you’re aware of how you’re budgeting your minutes. Once they are gone, you can’t get them back.
It’s important that you learn to recognize how you’re using your time and make a conscious decision to prioritize self-care.Finding time for yourself is difficult when you’re a new parent. You may feel guilty taking time for yourself, or even feel like it’s impossible. However, asking for help, keeping your expectations realistic, and making an effort to prioritize taking care of yourself, can help you find or create the time that you need. Like everything related to parenting, it takes practice, patience, and a dose of self-compassion.
A WORD OF WARNING; FEELINGS THAT MAY MEAN YOU ARE OVERWHELMED:
Feeling like you can’t cope
Feeling sadder than usual
No longer interested in your baby, partner, or friends
Finding it harder to do daily tasks
More worried than usual, which has lasted more than two weeks
Changes in appetite and/or sleep
Loss of concentration
Losing interest in sex or intimacy
Extended periods of irritability and anger
Gidget Foundation Australia Team