As moms, we get plenty of messages reminding us to put ourselves first and to prioritize our needs but putting this in action can be really challenging! Whether you’re a first-time mom or not, prioritizing self-care during the postpartum period is essential for your health and well-being.
Especially during the early days after giving birth, moms are often feeling more physically, mentally, and emotionally vulnerable and exhausted than usual and it’s necessary to find practical ways to practice self-care during his time of healing and recovery. It might be helpful to think about things you already do to take care of yourself and build upon that. Usually, focusing on basic needs, like eating, drinking, rest, and breathing can be a great place to start.
Whether life with your new baby is going smoothly or is a bit bumpy right now, all postpartum moms can benefit from incorporating acts of self-care into their daily lives in order to prevent burnout and promote well-being. Check out our previous blog 3 Ideas for the Postpartum Mom for Self-Care to help you get started with your own self-care.
Here are four more ideas for self-care for postpartum moms that I hope you’ll find helpful:
1. Accept help from others. Ask others for help.
Asking and receiving help can be really hard for many of us to do. Society often promotes messages that you need to take care of everything yourself and have it all together. This belief can come at a high cost to postpartum moms who are in a major transition in their lives.
Because help can come in many forms and everyone’s idea of help is different, it’s important
to think about what would actually be helpful for you. We’ve probably all experienced help that wasn’t all that helpful! You may be able to plan some things in advance like having a meal train set up so meals can be delivered weekly or childcare for your other children once
a week. Other times, you may need to ask for help when you need it or accept help whenever it’s offered.
Asking for and accepting help can feel vulnerable and may tap into insecurities like you’re too needy, you’re not good enough, or that you’re a failure but allowing others to help you doesn’t mean any of those things. It’s important for your health, recovery, and overall well-being to allow yourself to be taken care of and to ask for help when you need it. Accepting help will open up more room for you to take care of yourself and your baby. It also gives others an opportunity to show they care which is an important part of maintaining strong social relationships.
2. Do something that makes you feel like yourself.
This can be anything! We all have different ways of taking care of our emotional, mental, physical, social, spiritual, and professional needs and building some time into your life to do something that makes you feel like yourself can feel like a breath of fresh air. It may feel impossible to find time for yourself after you have a baby and you may feel guilt for stepping away from your family and household responsibilities but nourishing yourself is essential to being able to take care of others and it’s something important to prioritize.
Emotional self-care involves anything that helps you attend to your full range of emotions including going to therapy, creating art, journaling, and listening to music.
Mental self-care can be engaging in any activity that stimulates your mind including reading, learning something new, and playing a mentally-stimulating game.
Physical self-care includes activities that address and promote your physical well-being. Examples include moving your body, drinking plenty of liquids, eating a balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep and rest.
Social self-care involves activities that build and nurture connection with others including keeping in touch with close family and friends, joining a club, and having alone time with your partner.
Spiritual care can involve getting in touch with your inner spirit and connectedness to something bigger than yourself. Some activities include yoga, meditation, going to a place of worship, being in nature, and spending time self-reflecting.
Professional self-care involves things you do that are related to your work life including taking a lunch break, setting boundaries, getting support from colleagues, and using sick and vacation time.
So, what are some activities that make you feel like yourself? Whether it’s going for a walk, grabbing lunch with a friend, reading a new book, taking a nap, or learning a new hobby, anything you choose will probably involve multiple areas of self-care which is great! Any amount of time you invest in yourself is worth it.
3. You can change what you’re doing if something isn’t working.
It’s really difficult to plan for everything and it can quickly and easily feel like nothing you had
planned would actually happen! You’ve probably experienced this already when you thought you would be able to strictly follow your birth plan, feed your baby the way you wanted to, have your baby nap and sleep soundly for decent periods of time, easily adjust to your new post-pregnancy body, and the list goes on. It probably feels like your baby and motherhood is predictably unpredictable!
While this may seem intimidating and anxiety-provoking, keeping an open mind that you can change what you’re doing if something isn’t working can be liberating. Some things you’ll decide to change or compromise on will be easier than other things and this will vary from mom to mom and family to family. Finding support from family, friends, a support group or club, and/or a therapist can help with these transitions.
4. Get to know your baby.
The postpartum period can be such a demanding, busy, and exhausting time that moms can sometimes get caught up in all the things they have to do instead of being able to spend quality time with your baby. One way to make sure that you’re able to enjoy being with your baby and to get to know them is to build some rituals into your routine. You may want to spend an extra 10 minutes after feeding to sit, cuddle, talk, and play with your baby or have your baby on an activity mat next to you while you stretch or exercise. These moments of togetherness built into your day is a great way to spend extra time with your baby!
Spending time with and getting to know your baby also helps you to figure out the best way to accomplish the last tip of changing what you’re doing if something isn’t working. The better you know your baby, the easier it will be to figure out what needs to change or what you can try next. You know your baby better than anyone else and continuing to get to know them better will continue to help you in your parenting journey.
The postpartum period is a busy and ever-changing time and focusing on self-care is a necessity for postpartum moms. The more you’re able to find what works for you and the more you include these things in your life, the more grounded and centered you will feel not only during the postpartum period but beyond.
If you’re looking for more tips on incorporating self-care as a postpartum mom into your daily routine, check out our online Postpartum Support Group. Connect with other new moms, learn different ways to cope with your postpartum emotions, and get some socialization into your day. Enrolling now!
How We Can Help
We are currently enrolling for our postpartum support group
For moms up to 1 year postpartum who are ready to go from feeling lonely and overwhelmed to connected and understood. To explore your emotions, share daily challenges and feel less alone in motherhood!
If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation
Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life
Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Pansy Ayala is a licensed therapist with Catalyss Counseling and specializes in treating adults with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and relationship issues. She uses a holistic, individualized approach to better understand who you are, what areas of your life you find problematic, and how you can reach your goals. She especially enjoys working with parents. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.