You make sure your kids have all they need, but can you remember when was the last time that you made time for yourself? If the best you can come up with was your last baby shower, odds are you might need a little more "me" time than "we" time. A little self-TLC can boost your moods and minimize stress, making it easier to manage things at home.
Soak in some self-care
Between your day job and your role as a mother and partner, it's easy to let nurturing yourself fall by the wayside. And when you don’t nurture yourself, you leave room for stress to creep in. Clinical psychologist Weitzman Zoref recommends carving out time each week for self-care. Stay on top of your own medical checkups, versus only your kids’ checkups. Burn off stress at the gym. Sit down to eat healthy, balanced meals rather than simply nibbling off others' plates. Get that manicure you've been putting off. When you take care of yourself, you’re not only relieving everyday stress, but you are being a strong parent and good role model for your kids – a win-win.
Connect with your partner
If you've recently had a baby, you’re probably adjusting to new feeding, diaper changing, and sleeping schedules – meaning your life is probably a little more stressful and your intimate life a little less active. Physical and emotional intimacy are huge stress relievers – especially when you have kids. So, make a plan to fix that. Chat by phone or in-person about matters other than your children. Schedule dates every week or two. Spice up your bedroom life with a fun sex toy. As a bonus, a quiet massager won't wake your kids.
When your life has a hundred moving parts, stress can pile up without you realizing it. Start by acknowledging that stress. Then practice slowing down and being present in the moment. Spend a few minutes or more sitting outside. Explore guided meditation apps or videos online. If sitting still gives you the willies, fear not. Walking can provide a certain comfort. Move slowly, paying attention to how your body feels – be sure to breathe deeply. You don't need to aim for a blank mind either. Do your best to let thoughts rise without judging or latching onto them.
When you are stressed, a good social session with your gal pals can help you feel better, minimizing stress and bringing comfort, fun, and all-around support. To maintain nourishing friendships, be a good friend to others. Invite friends to join you for a movie, lunch or hiking. If they aren't free when you are, take yourself out for a treat. Have your hair done or bring a picnic to a park where you can people watch. If you're feeling ultra-stressed, reach out. A heart-to-heart with someone who cares is some of the best medicine around.
About the Author
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer and certified nutritionist in Los Angeles. Her work is featured in numerous magazines including "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "DAME" and IAmThatGirl. She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition and loves connecting with readers and writers via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.