|Posted on January 2, 2019 at 2:00 PM|
Happy New Year! As I look back to where I was a year ago, I have difficulties remembering what was going on. I was still in the fourth trimester with my second and seeing my first clients here at Mindful Families. Life was about only sleeping in 2 hour chunks, constant feeding, hoping to shower every 3 days, and toddler tantrums. Who has time to make resolutions when you are in survival mode?
So this is for you, my postpartum moms and dads. What can be a healthy, yet obtainable resolution for 2019? Certainly not dieting, you probably are nursing so need to continue eating even more calories. Maybe exercise, but most mothers I know try to workout postpartum, but it really is difficult in the first 6-12 months. One of the best goals I can suggest for a new parent is taking care of yourself on a daily basis. In these early months, this realistically can be just 5 minutes in your day on most days. Why a short time daily? Because when you are feeling like you are just surviving, it is hard to see the long term and hard to enjoy the precious moments of these early weeks and months. Taking a moment daily where you are not holding baby or caring for your other children calms your brain and nervous system, taking you out of fight or flight mode. What can be done in 5 minutes? Take a shower, listen to a meditation (Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm are all great apps that have options of very short meditations), text or call a friend to check in, snuggle with your partner, or even mindfully sip a cup of your favorite beverage. It may be important to enlist help from your partner or family to hold baby for this time to work well for you. Self-care for new mom also means taking time away from your child for more than 5 minutes on a regular basis. In those early months, my favorite activity was the childless trip to Target! Though other ideas may be going to a coffee shop to read, seeing a friend, and hopefully date night with your partner. So in this new year, make a commitment to caring for yourself in order to be the best version of yourself for your family. Happy New Year! Amy Engelhard, LMFT