By Rebekah Puleo
One of the greatest feelings on earth is falling in love with your newborn. Holding this tiny human that you’ve been connected to from the start and looking at their tiny features - it’s all so dreamy.
From the smell of their skin to that first little coo, your heart just expands at every milestone. It’s overwhelming at times, isn’t it?
Adjusting to motherhood can be overwhelming too, let’s be honest. You wouldn’t trade it for anything but you’re definitely in for a ride as a new mom.
Your personal time has decreased a lot and you’re now trying to reconfigure your days and priorities. But don’t worry because you got this.
Being intentional in taking care of yourself is a huge part of being the best mom you can be.
Sleep is obviously a huge part of staying mentally fit. But since we know that “sleeping when the baby sleeps” seems impossible at times, here’s a list focusing on other ways to avoid burnout.
That being said, you should definitely prioritize sleep! If you are exhausted after a long day, climb into that bed and take a load off.
But when you’re busy momming during the day, here are sure ways to stay sharp.
Eat The Rainbow
Consistently fueling your body with the right nutrition is key. A good diet improves how your mind and body work together each day¹.
It’s tempting to polish off the cold chicken nuggets your toddler didn’t finish. But start eating the best foods for the brain and you'll surely feel a difference.
A great way to make sure you’re hitting all the marks is to work your way through the rainbow daily. Conveniently, each color has its own health benefit.
For example, blue and purple foods like blueberries and eggplants are linked to better memory function and decreased chances of heart disease. For lower blood pressure, get your daily servings of white foods such as ginger and potatoes².
Having fresh fruits and vegetables prepped and ready to go make daily serving easier to eat. Be sure to stock up on a variety of colors to get the full nutritional boost your body needs.
Take a Daily Walk (And Make It Fun!)
A little fresh air and getting yourself up and moving has a big impact on your mind.
Studies show that walking for at least 30 minutes a day is good for your health. Joining a walking group has even better health effects³.
Whether you’re pushing your little one in a stroller or letting your walking toddler burn some energy, taking a stroll is a great bonding activity.
Let the walk be your time to get your heart rate up and enjoy the outside world. If you would rather venture out sans children, this also is a great time to listen to a podcast or have a catch up call with a friend.
And there’s always the sweet silence of just being alone.
Having trouble with motivation? Invest in a step counter. Studies show that tracking your steps can inspire you to hit your daily walking goal⁴.
Do Something You Love
Ok, so you probably feel like your days are a million hours long and still too short. But there’s really something amazing that goes on in your mind when you make time to have fun.
And the best new mom gifts are when you can enjoy them, freely.
It doesn't have to be all the time. But at least once a week let dad take over and you clock out for a little bit.
What was something pre-mommy you loved to do? Were you a painter? Enjoyed a bike ride?
If you have stacks of partially read books, catch up! Reading and writing are proven to help the mind be more creative⁵.
Got an old love for cross stitch that's collecting dust? Get out your supplies because crafting is actually linked to developing a stronger sense of self⁶.
Making time to relax mentally will help you in the long run. You’ll leave charged and ready to go back to mommy-land.
Acknowledge Your Circumstances but Choose Happiness
When difficult emotions bubble up, take a deep breath and allow yourself to feel them.
It’s ok to be frustrated when breastfeeding is so hard. Or to be annoyed that your mother-in-law stopped by unannounced. Or to be upset when you see your three year old spill crumbs on your newly vacuumed floor.
And if everything is happening at once? That’s overwhelming, to say the least.
Journaling or talking to a loved one can help you air out the big feelings and organize your thoughts. Pausing really helps you see what parts of your day need some additional support.
However you decide process these challenging moments, be sure to leave the negative feelings once they’ve been worked out.
Taking a moment to actively choose to move forward with a positive mindset can actually change the course of your day.
Have Healthy Boundaries
For a while you’ll be trying to figure out a schedule with your plus one.
Some days will be easier than others but mostly this just takes practice. One terrible pre-nap trip to the grocery store is all you need to adjust.
And as your little one gets older, you’ll be constantly adjusting.
So when it comes to visitors or plans of any kind, you’re not a bad person for wanting to keep your hard earned routine.
Be honest with your community about time. If plans don’t work for you, don’t agree to them.
A good rule to live by that will decrease stress in your life: let your yes be yes and your no mean no.
Mom Brain For the Win
There’s a lot of unrecognized emotional labor that goes into being a mom and this can really wear on you.
Your days are now full of cleaning up toys and researching how to find the best baby shoes. Adding your marriage, friends and career to the mix can seem like there’s just no way your brain can have a moment to unwind.
The incredible thing here is that moms somehow pull it off day after day.
By ultimately giving themselves grace. Remember that you’re doing an amazing job caring for your family!
You will miss the mark some days and that's ok.
You got this mama!