As a new mom, I struggle to find me-time. My daughter is 10 months old and prior to her being born, I had a lot of time to take care of myself.
My days of long walks on the beach, 90 minute vinyasa classes and massages once a week have turned into baby naps, nursing around the clock and changing dirty diapers.
I am so grateful and would not change my journey for the world, but I have developed some short and simple self-care rituals that help me to feel happy, healthy and centered throughout the day.
These rituals help me to be the best version of myself for my daughter and my family. Even just a few minutes on your mat or in a deep meditation can change the course of your day and keep your tanks full so you can continue to show up in the way your heart desires.
As mothers, we are natural nurtures and sometimes it is important to use those skills on ourselves so we do not end up feeling depleted or exhausted. You babies need you to be the best version of yourself so you can have fun and interact with them.
Here are six tips to helping you feel well.
Abhyanga – Ayurvedic Self Massage
This is a game changer. Before or after you get out of the shower, massage oil all over your body starting from the crown of the head down to your toes. I like to make sure I get those stretch marks from pregnancy and give my arms a lot of love for all they do throughout the day. I use a Mother’s Blend from Whole Foods that has a lot of great moisturizers in it but you can use coconut, sesame, or olive oil depending on your dosha. Bayan Botanicals is a great company that makes oils specific to your dosha. You can do a quick quiz online to find out which one you are (roughly!). This is a great way to thank your body for all of the hard work it has done growing and delivering a baby.
Meditation – 10 minutes
In the early days of post-partum I was extremely sleep deprived, as I believe a lot of new parents will say. When my daughter would go down for a nap, instead of scrolling through my phone or tackling my to-do list I closed my eyes and turned on my meditation app for a quick meditation. There are a couple really great ones that help you to drop into REM sleep and catch up on those extra zzz’s. You will have to find the teacher and meditation that works for you but I highly recommend these apps: Unplug Meditation, YogaWakeUp, Calm, and Insight Timer.
Breathwork – three deep breaths
I spent so much time watching and caring for my daughter that I forgot to check in with my own mind and body. Because of this I started acting out and eating unconsciously. Before I knew it, I had a coffee and croissant in my hand only to wake up and realize that I didn’t need all of that buttery goodness. So, before I loose myself, I take three deep breaths. I also do this when I feel triggered or upset. I remember the time my daughter got into one of our plants and I nearly had a melt down, not because she did anything wrong but because I was embarrassed that I didn’t have it in a better place where she couldn’t reach it. Before I reacted, I took three deep breaths and calmed my nervous system down and quickly cleaned up the mess.
Make yourself a meal
It’s very therapeutic to prepare a delicious meal for you to eat. Hand off your baby or kids to dad or caretaker for 30 minutes while you chop vegetables, prepare your main course, maybe sip some wine and wind down. Then take your time to chew your food and let it digest. Even if you just do this once a day and snack throughout the rest of your meals, you will feel more replenished and nourished knowing you took the time to not only prepare your food but also add in some love along the way.
This is a silly one at first. Some of us don’t normally take time to look at ourselves carefully in the mirror, but babies love to do it! I remember sitting in front of our mirror with my daughter and singing her the ABC’s or teaching her how to clap. At some point during this process, I looked at myself and recited an affirmation such as, “you’re doing a great job” or “you got this” or “you look amazing today”. Especially if your love language is words of affirmation, you will love this self-care ritual to acknowledge the work you do on a day-to-day basis to take care of everyone else.
I started practicing yoga with my daughter when she was very little. I placed a cozy blanket at the top of my mat and wiggled my fingers as I transitioned in between poses. Now she is crawling all over the place so I wait until she goes down for a nap to roll out my mat and fit in some me-time. Doing a solo practice is really uplifting because you can connect the mind with the body through the breath. You can check in with you and ask yourself what you need that day to feel open, receptive and energized. Then, by practicing poses that feel good, your mood starts to lift. As a new mom, I am still filtering through all of the extra hormones from pregnancy so everyday is new and different depending on my cycle and how much sleep I got the night before. One of my favorite poses to practice is Viparita Karani, or legs up the wall pose. This pose helps to reset the nervous system, circulate prana (life force energy) throughout the body, decrease swelling in the legs and feet, and decrease anxiety and insomnia. Being a mom can be stressful at times and just 10 minutes in this pose makes a world of difference in how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
If I can squeeze in these six practices everyday, it’s a good day. If I have extra time or coordinate it with my husband so that I can get a massage, my nails done, or acupuncture then even better. As a final note, I am also a huge fan of essential oils. I carry around Lemon, Orange and Lavender with me everywhere I go. Lemon and Orange help to elevate my mood while Lavender helps to soothe my nerves. You can choose the scents that work for you. I recommend a brand that carries organic oils, Mountain Rose Herbs carries a ton of these products online.
I hope this was helpful for you! Our work is so important in this world and taking time out to take care of you will allow you to be your best self as you tackle all your responsibilities and show up for your loved ones. Remember, it is not selfish, it is self-care. We all need it (guys too!) and when you receive it, you’ll remember why it is important to take care of you! You’re worth it!