Strategies you can use
There are many general strategies you can use to help you stay in good physical and mental health. You may find you need to learn different ways of managing stress to those you have used in the past. Even if you know you should be eating better and doing physical exercise, the challenge is to actually include this in your daily routine
Encourage yourself to get enough sleep?
In reality, pregnancy and being a mother during the first year of a new baby’s life is often filled by a constant stream of demanding tasks and physical changes. It can often feel like there is no time for self-care. Sleepless nights, feeling tearful, and sometimes just not knowing what to do, are all a part of this. Managing big changes in daily routine,, and learning to look after a baby all require enormous physical effort, emotional energy and patience. Not surprisingly many new parents feel fatigued and sometimes find it hard to manage.
Having a new baby often means broken sleep and needing to find ways of getting back to sleep once woken.
If you are having trouble sleeping or not getting enough sleep, some general recommendations are below. Learn to improvise your own routine based on what works best for you and your family.
- Try to set a regular bed-time routine, as difficult as this can seem at times
- Make your bedroom an environment where you feel relaxed and at peace
- Have a warm bath or shower a few hours before bed to regulate your body temperature for sleeping
- Avoid exercise, screen time or strenuous activities immediately before going to bed
- Avoid caffeine or other stimulants in the evening
- If you cannot sleep, get up and do something quiet in another room. Reading is a good option to help take your mind off other things
- Calming music and relaxation or meditation exercises can help.
Take time to Self-nurture
There are lots of ways to nurture yourself. Self-care is one of them. Think about what you find rewarding and satisfying. Consider how to bring pleasure to your day in small ways, while you are pregnant and after your baby is born. Self-nurturing need not cost a lot of money or time. Consider doing something pleasurable for yourself each day.
Try to eat healthy meals
Try to eat healthy meals and avoid drugs and alcohol. Many parents and caregivers of young children, can struggle to find the time to cook, stay hydrated and to eat healthily. Set manageable goals for your family and allow for something easy like toasted sandwiches or eggs on toast on difficult days.
Look after your physical health
Taking care of your physical health has many benefits for your mental wellbeing. Look for opportunities to stay physically active and try to incorporate regular exercise where possible. Consider what activities would fit best with your modified routine, which may also include your partner or baby. Healthy eating habits, drinking plenty of water and trying to keep a good sleep routine, where possible, will also help support your general health.