Life as a new mum is hectic, relentless and unforgiving. In the midst of night feeds, nappy changes and newborn screaming, the thought of taking time for yourself is either lost completely or strikes you as hilariously ridiculous. Even so, it’s crucial that you take some time out for yourself to relax, recuperate, and recharge your batteries. Here are some ways to relax.
A warm bath
One of the easiest ways to relax in your home is to have a long soak in a lovely, warm, candle-lit bath. For extra relaxation, try a bubble bath that’s infused with aromatherapy oils, although be careful which oils you use if you are breastfeeding. Spending some time in the dark with your eyes closed will give you a good chance to rest your eyes and your body and chill out.
Go for a walk
Exercise is well-known for helping ease feelings of stress and anxiety by encouraging the release of endorphins in the body. Putting you baby in the pram or baby carrier and going for a stroll is a great way to spend some valuable time with your baby and promote your own well being. The rhythmic motion of the pram is often soothing for many babies, too, and may help to settle your baby if he or she is struggling to quieten down. Being out in the fresh air and not cooped in the house is also good for you and baby, and the chance of scenery will engage your baby and distract them from boredom.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
As a new mum, the chances are you won’t have time to do your hair, your make-up and find new clothes – in fact, a day when you find a shirt that’s not sticky with baby sick or urine is a very, very good day indeed. In today’s world, pictures of celebrity new mums with flat tummies, perfect hair and well-toned abs are all around us, and can make us feel inferior. Social media also plays a vital part in making new mums underappreciated themselves by giving us the opportunity to compare ourselves relentlessly with those around us. It’s important to remember that being perfect isn’t required, and just doing your best is more than good enough.
Massage is well-known for its calming and relaxing effects. There are numerous types of massage available and a simple back massage is often enough to alleviate tension and promote well-being, there are even products to buy for your home from places like backmassager.co.uk to have this de-stress tool at your fingertips every day. Although nothing compares to a professional massage given by a qualified massage therapist, a shoulder rub offered by a caring partner is often just as good. There are plenty of guides available in book stores and online to help teach the art of massage, and there are even back massage aides on the market now to make it even easier. Ask your midwife or health visitor about baby massage, too, and try to enroll yourself on a local course; baby massage is clinically proven to help reduce symptoms of wind and colic in babies and promote contentedness.
We are all just making it up as we go along, so you just have to try and go with the flow as much as you can and take the time when you have it, even if it is only ten minutes.