When you have a baby — whether it’s your first, third, or beyond — raising them takes a lot of work. In the early days when their sleep schedule is, well, not on schedule, and they depend on you for everything, it can be especially hard to remember that taking care of yourself not only feels good, but it matters for your mental and physical health.
I am the worst at taking time for myself — and I don’t mean it in a good way at all. I used to think that as long as my kids had all they needed from me, I was doing okay, but as I’ve added more years to my mothering belt, I’ve realized just how much taking care of “me” matters.
If you take a few minutes each day, at the very least, to make sure you take some time for yourself — it will do a world of good. Finding time to quickly recharge not only has allowed me to focus some time on myself, but it has had some rewarding benefits. I feel happier, I feel more able to get through those long all-nighters, and I find myself having a more positive day.
If you’re looking for some quick ways to recharge — because all we have as new moms is “quick” — here are some things I do for myself:
There is something about the warmth, the relaxing smell of your favorite body wash, and feeling clean that just makes you feel so much better. Even if all I have is 5 minutes, that quick rinse always feels like a giant reset button — and that’s a good feeling. If you have a clingy baby like I do, you can bring your babe into the bathroom with you and keep him entertained on a swing or bouncy chair, or if you’re taking a bath — bring him in and recharge both of you.
2. Dress up
My usual everyday outfit consists of yoga pants and a cotton T-shirt — nothing fancy. Wearing the same thing over and over, while it’s good for not having to worry when the baby vomits or other stuff gets all over you, doesn’t make me feel all that wonderful. I have noticed that on the days where I dress up — even if it’s just jeans and a nice top or better yet a comfortable dress — I just have a better outlook. If you’re feeling over-stressed, just take one day to pamper yourself in the morning. Do your hair and makeup and put on that outfit that makes you feel fabulous.
3. Schedule a date
When you have a baby, getting out of the house can sound like a chore that you just don’t want to add to your already over-filled list. If it’s been a while since you’ve been out on a date — whether that be with your significant other or a good friend — taking that time can help you feel refreshed. For me, I don’t even need to go on the date to feel a recharge — just having a scheduled date to look forward to can give me a more positive outlook.
4. Read a book
I wish I had more time to read — like an actual book — because nothing is more relaxing than checking in with your favorite fictional character. It’s a good way to unwind and relax, and that recharge you get from doing something that just make you happier can last just long enough to get you through the day with a little bit more of a smile.
Need a good book recommendation? Check out The Only 5 Novels to Read in 2014.
5. Take a nap
Twenty minutes — that’s the only amount of time you need to feel recharged, or at least that’s how it works for me. I don’t get to take a nap everyday, but life would be a lot more stress-free if I could. If you get a chance to sleep when your baby is sleeping — take it! As a mom of four, I don’t get to take advantage of that advice, and it’s a great way to reboot for the rest of the day.
6. Get some fresh air
I am so excited spring is finally here because it makes the “fresh air” a lot more tolerable. Even if you can’t get outside for a walk (which would pair with fresh air and exercise), just opening up the curtains to let some sunshine and vitamin D in and opening the window to get some fresh air and breeze can really wake up your happy.
Getting those endorphines going can really help your body, your fatigue, and your mood. There are days where I am so grumpy and/or tired that I don’t feel like doing anything, but trust me — this one is worth it. Once you’re done with the quick workout, you’ll feel like you can take on anything. Plus, it’s just good for you all around.
Don’t know which workout to try first? Check out The Anywhere Workout.
What are some ways you recharge? Share in the comments!
Photo credit: © Devan McGuinness
Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids real names — they’re online pseudonyms. Read more from Devan on Babble and “like” Accustomed Chaos on Facebook!