Thursday, 22 April 2021

6 Ways for New Mothers to Help Reduce Stress

Your life has changed dramatically, you’ve been through a major physical trauma, and you are suddenly responsible for a new life: It’s no wonder that, as a new mother, you’re feeling stressed! Although motherhood is a wonderful experience in many ways, there’s no doubt that it’s incredibly challenging. Sometimes you need some strategies to reduce your stress levels.


1.      Find Small Moments for Yourself

Parenting requires a lot of self-sacrifice, and time to yourself is high up on that list. However, it’s crucial for your wellbeing to find those moments that are just for you. You may be unable to sleep late every day or go out for dinner every night, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dedicate time for yourself.


Look at your schedule and childcare support to figure out when you can find time for yourself. Even 10 or 15 minutes alone, not doing chores, can be rejuvenating. Try to be intentional and mindful about the moments you already have. For instance, rather than chugging your cup of coffee while you clear up the kitchen, sit down for five minutes and savor your drink. You can make even a simple ritual like this feel special with simple touches such as using inspirational coffee mugs or listening to your favorite song.



2.      Establish a Support Network of Other Parents

The benefits of having a network of people you can rely on, turn to for support, and share your experiences with cannot be underestimated. Although some of the people you depend on the most may be friends and family members without children, it’s a good idea to build up a relationship with a group of other parents, particularly mothers. Having the opportunity to discuss the things you are going through with people experiencing similar issues is invaluable. A group like this is also a great place to swap tips and get the lowdown on all things parenting.


Parent and baby groups are a good place to meet other mothers, but also consider exploring online parenting communities. They involve less commitment than face-to-face meetups, and some people feel more able to open up in an anonymous forum. If you can attend a face-to-face group, make sure you take the appropriate safety precautions, such as washing your hands and wearing cute face masks.


3. Learn How to Decline Unsolicited Advice Politely

Although getting support and advice from other parents is incredibly useful, many people find that when they become parents, they start to receive unsolicited advice and opinions from just about everyone. Fielding these comments can be stressful in itself, and it’s hard not to take these comments as judgments on your parenting.


Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you avoid these pearls of wisdom altogether; however, by preparing responses, you can let people know, fairly but firmly, that their advice is appreciated but not wanted and will make you feel more in control of these situations. Often a simple “I already have a plan for handling this, but thank you for your perspective” can put an end to unwanted advice. It might feel hard to say at first, but it will come more naturally as you get accustomed to setting this boundary.


4.      Try Not to Put Unrealistic Expectations on Yourself

Mothers are put under a considerable amount of pressure to be perfect and make the right decisions all the time. The stress of attempting to live up to these unrealistic expectations is detrimental to your wellbeing. The pressure that many moms feel covers all areas of their life such as work, breastfeeding, physical appearance, and parenting, and it can be overwhelming, but ignoring it is much easier said than done. One way you can alleviate the pressure is to purposefully take one thing off your mental list of things you should be doing better. Actively say to yourself that you are letting yourself off the hook: It can wait. Remember, being a new mother is hard; cut yourself some slack.


5.      Go Outside Every Day

According to research by the Environmental Protection Agency, the majority of Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors, and new parents are no exception. There’s so much work involved with looking after a newborn that it’s easy to spend the whole day in the house. While there’s nothing wrong with this in the short-term, spending time outdoors is crucial for your wellbeing. The American Institute of Stress claims that being outdoors significantly reduces stress. Building an outdoor walk into your daily routine will help you connect to the wider world and give you a good dose of fresh air and vitamin D.


6.      Establish a Routine for Yourself as Well as the Baby

Once you pick up the habit of spending time outside every day, you will probably notice that having that predictability feels good. That’s because regular routines can help to reduce stress and ward off anxiety. Most parents are aware of the need for their children to have routines, but it’s easy to forget that structure is essential for adults, too, especially at a time when so much in your life has changed, such as when you have a newborn. By planning activities such as exercise, showers, and your bedtime, you will relieve the pressure of trying to figure out when to do these things and maybe even give yourself something to look forward to. Although having an infant forces you to be flexible, creating a structure for yourself can positively impact your stress levels.


When Outside Help Is Needed

For many women, having a newborn and adjusting to motherhood is a stressful experience; your life has changed radically and, suddenly, you are responsible for a new life. Not to mention the lack of sleep! Making small changes, such as spending time outdoors and reaching out to other moms, can make a huge difference to your experience and improve your state of mind.


While lots of mothers feel stress during this period, some women struggle with postpartum depression or anxiety. Educate yourself about the common signs of these illnesses and seek help if you are suffering.

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