Babies lack the ability to regulate themselves in many ways. They look to their caregivers, especially their biological mothers, to regulate their temperature, their breathing, their heartbeats, and yes, their moods. When you are feeling calm and relaxed, it helps your baby to feel calm and relaxed. So, it's not selfish to take care of yourself. It's very important.
Whether or not you struggle with a postpartum mood disorder, motherhood is tough. We all have hard days. Take care of yourself, and be easy on yourself. Here are a few things you can do in less than fifteen minutes to take care of yourself.
- Get dressed. Put on makeup. Do whatever you need to do to feel like you look like yourself.
I wasn't a huge makeup person before I had kids, but I found that putting on a pair of jeans instead of pajamas or sweat pants made a huge difference in my mood. If you love wearing pajamas, think about what else you do that's part of your signature style. Maybe it's even just clean pajamas!
- Take a five minute walk outside.
Even if the weather is nasty, grab an umbrella or a coat, put baby in a baby carrier, and head outside for five minutes. The fresh air can work wonders on both you and baby.
- Message or call a supportive friend or family member.
Sometimes, we don't have a support team nearby. Your best friend might live across country or your family might be in a different state. Text. Facetime. Call. Connect to another adult somehow. Catch up on each other's lives.
- Dance around with your baby. Use ear plugs or headphones if necessary.
If you are holding your crying baby, they won't know that you have headphones or earplugs to block the sound. Moving your body helps your mood, and may soothe baby at the same time.
- Take a silly selfie with your baby.
Smiling when you are stressed or sad actually improves your mood, whether or not you feel like smiling. On top of that, acting goofy with your baby can help cheer you up. Post a favorite on Instagram or Facebook.
- Do a few stretches.
I like the exercises on this page. Make sure you clear any exercise with your care provider, and take it slowly.
- Drink a glass of water, cup of tea or coffee.
Most breastfeeding mothers can drink caffeine in moderation. If drinking a cup of tea or coffee helps you relax, go for it. Otherwise, drink a glass of water. Squeeze some lemon in it. I like to make a ritual of drinking tea in my favorite mug in the afternoon to recharge.