8 ways for new mums to stop stressing out
Stressed out? Some tips to help new mums relax
Sometimes it might feel really stressful being a new mum. Having a new baby in the family is wonderful but it is also exhausting and occasionally a little bit daunting. There are so many hours in the day and there is enormous pressure on new mums to do everything ‘right’. Is the baby sleeping enough/too much, feeding correctly, the right weight? When should you go back to work? Why do you feel like you never stop, and yet nothing ever seems to get done?
Yes, new mums stress about lots more than they used to and it can get overwhelming. But there are some ways to manage those stress levels.
1. Avoid stimulants: Coffee, tea, nicotine, alcohol - these may have been what you leant on pre-baby, but they no longer do you any favours. You don’t have to give up your morning cuppa but avoid caffeine later in the day and switch to a calming camomile tea instead. Contrary to popular belief among smokers, cigarettes do not help you to relax - in fact, cravings actually increase stress levels, so try to cut down if you can’t quit. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine, alcohol - like caffeine - should be limited.
2. Work out more: You don’t have to do marathons but gentle exercise like walking can help reduce stress levels. Get out in the fresh air, even if it’s only for a short spell and breathe deeply.
3. More sleep: Ok, so sleep is limited with a newborn but rest when you can. If you are up a lot during the night, try to have a quick nap during the baby’s rest time. And forget about binge watching on Netflix until the wee hours like you used to do. Early nights are your new best friend.
4. Relaxation techniques: You may scoff at the terms mindfulness or meditation but this doesn’t involve hours of sitting cross-legged while chanting. Google and YouTube feature many helpful 10-minute techniques that you can use before sleep. Free your mind of stress and just let yourself breathe. Yoga and pilates are also good stress-relievers, although you will need a bit more time to indulge in these but there are lots of You Tube videos and free exercise apps to get you started.
5. Don’t bottle it up: Talk to someone if you are feeling stressed all the time - either a friend who understands or your GP if you can’t confide in those close to you. Keeping it to yourself isn’t good for you or your baby.
6. Note triggers: Write it down when you feel stressed and take note if there are certain triggers. Listen closely to what you’re thinking or saying when you feel stressed and talk to yourself positively. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do something. Instead self-talk out loud and say “I can do this” or “I’m doing the best I can.”
7. Be kind (to yourself): You may need to lower your expectations - nobody is perfect and life would be very dull if we were. Learn to say no, accept offers of help and don’t expect everything to be how you always imagined it. The calmer you are, the less stressed you will feel. Baby steps.
8. Remember that laughter goes a long way: Keeping your sense of humour is one of the best ways of helping you to go easy on yourself. Friends who are going through similar experiences can also help you find the humour in life, and you can help them so make time to meet up, you’ll all be laughing in no time.