When you are expecting your first child, everyone is keen to tell you just how things will be once your little bundle of joy arrives. Being a new parent is wonderful, scary, rewarding and stressful all at the same time. Parenthood marks the transition from your typical structured day to day life over which you have full control, to a life of mayhem, angst, confusion, and fatigue.
Nothing prepares you for the overwhelming feelings of tiredness in those early weeks and just how they will impact on you and your partner so dramatically.
Nothing prepares you for that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear your newborn’s waking snuffles at 3 am. It wouldn’t be so bad, but you only put them down 20 minutes ago.
Forget dinner together in the evening; meal times will become more of a relay system strategically falling between feeds and nappy changes – if you’re lucky that is, or you may not get to eat dinner at all!
And then there is the complete lack of structure to your day. Catching up on your sleep while your little one naps can mean bypassing a morning (or afternoon) shower altogether and still being in your PJs when your partner gets home at 6 pm. Your once pristine home now resembles the local laundrette, is permanently untidy with the sink overflowing with last night’s bottles and medicinal cups of coffee.
But don’t despair because it does get better. Those few weeks with a newborn don’t last forever, and most parents will soon begin to establish some preliminary routine.
Life as a parent, especially a stay-at-home parent, will always be a delicate balancing act. The temptation to ignore advice to take advantage of your child’s nap times and do the hoovering is strong, especially in the early days. As a new mom, we still feel pressure to keep up with household chores and prepare a nutritious meal for our partner at the end of each day.
Of course, some days you will manage it, but there will be other days which will pass in a haze of sleep deprivation and baby sick when you will achieve nothing more than staying awake to tend to your little angel. It is days like this which you will struggle with. They will leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of control and more than that, totally exhausted. That is why it is so important for every new mom (or dad) to take some time out to relax and keep stress at bay…for a few minutes at least. Here we look at just some of the ways as a new parent you can take a moment to try and keep your head when all around you are losing theirs.
An increasingly popular way to de-stress is to embark on some grounding exercises which, carried out correctly, can help you to combat feelings of stress, refocus and reconnect with the world around you. Take just a few minutes, perhaps at the end of the day, or when your baby is sleeping, to practice these techniques to ease the stresses and strains of your daily life. Grounding techniques have proven especially useful in the management of feelings of overwhelming anxiety and panic attacks.
Take Some Time Out
This is easier said than done, however, to be a good parent it is essential that you take the time to look after yourself as well as looking after your baby. Having some ‘me time’ can be anything from reading a book, taking a hot bath or watching your favorite reality show. Whatever you choose, make sure you factor it into your day, after all, a happy mom makes for a happy baby.
Yoga is something that everyone can enjoy. Whether you go to a class or only practice it at home, yoga can relax, invigorate and energize the weariest of new parents in just a few minutes. There are countless DVDs on the market, Youtube videos and online tutorials which you can use to leave you feeling calm and balanced to carry on with your day.
Go to the gym
Once you have settled into a routine with your baby,it may be possible for you to let your partner, or perhaps some grandparents, to take the reins for an hour so that you can visit your local gym. Exercise is a well-known stress buster and time spent at the gym will not only help you get fit and reclaim your post pregnancy figure, but it will also invigorate and inspire at the same time. Why not try a cardio workout, it gets your heart pumping and your energy up..you’ll be glad you did.
Go for a walk
This is something that you can either do alone or get your little one involved in too. If you have already returned to work and are struggling to function in the office on just a few hours sleep, taking a walk at lunch time is guaranteed to lift your mood. Take a colleague so that you can chat as you go, or if you would rather, go alone and just enjoy the fresh air and some much-needed peace. On the other hand, if you are a stay at home parent take your baby out for a walk too. You could even make it a regular part of your day; the fresh air is good for both of you.
Meditation can again be enjoyed by everyone and is the perfect way to relax in the comfort of your own home. Take a few minutes at the beginning or the end of the day, light a scented candle and take some time out to refocus in peaceful surroundings. If you have somewhere quiet why not meditate outdoors, the fresh air will leave you calmer and certainly on the way to being stress-free. If your baby is asleep bring them out too, they may even sleep a little bit longer