Effective ways to de-stress yourself while taking care of your baby

Dr Sushma Tomar, Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and Dr Fabian Almeida, a Consultant Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, shares how new mothers can take care of themselves while taking care of their babies

baby-getting-chin-tickled

The birth of a baby challenges a mother in many ways. You are likely to feel exhausted, excited and worried all the same time, about the baby, and that is why you tend to be stressed. Thus, it is crucial to take care of yourself, especially, during the initial months’ post-delivery.

A mother’s job can be stressful, as it is 24 x 7; so, here are ten simple, yet significant stress-busters for new mothers:

Rest and sleep well: Sleep adequately and as often as you can, because sleep deprivation will make everything seem worse. If your baby is keeping you awake at night, rest when the baby is napping. If you’re not able to sleep, close your eyes and take deep breaths, it will help you relax. It gives you time to recuperate and keep your system working in a proper shape.

Maintain a healthy and balanced diet: Eat healthily and on time to keep up your energy levels. Eat the right amount of carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, pasta, and brown rice it will help you keep going throughout the day. Avoid saturated fats such as butter, ready-to-eat meals, and cheese, instead, choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil and avocados. Also, eat protein-rich foods such as lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, and beans. Add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your diet, it will boost your immunity system and will make you feel better, and help to prevent postnatal constipation.

Make time for yourself: Giving time to yourself is vital for your emotional well-being. Take a hot bath in the evening, take an hour or so to read a good book, watch a movie in the middle of the day, or get your nails done. Whatever you do, make yourself a priority. List things you miss doing, or things that will make you feel better, and pursue the list.

Be prepared for the unpredictable: Realise that there will be days when you feel overwhelmed, and other days when it feels like you’re not doing anything else besides taking care of your baby, but that is fine. Some new parents find that it helps to try and set a daily schedule or “to-do” list but must know that it’s okay if you have to let it all go.

Get some help: New parents can count on their extended family members to help in taking care of the baby. That’s not always a possibility, so you might have to find help in other places. Do not hesitate to call your friends or hire a babysitter, if you can afford to look after the baby. A Postpartum nanny is a great option. If you have helpful relatives, who stay nearby, ask them to come over and watch the baby while you can complete your work or just rest.

Mind magic: It is true, that the mind can be mastered to render magic! The age-old wisdom of meditation, coupled with insightful introspection, helps us to sort out the pieces within our puzzled mind. Add to that, the art of Autosuggestion – reassuring the self with positive affirmations like “I can, I will, I must”- serves to be a perfect stress-buster.

Brain gym boosters: Training our body at a gym is good, and you can similarly train your brain as well. You can boost and bounce of the brain gym through activities like crossword, puzzles, sudoku, chess, spot-the-difference, brainvita, etc., challenge the brain, and thereby enhance the brain’s efficiency.

Zestful zumba: The zest and the Zen of zumba, is the most famous flavour of the day. Sign up for a zumba class, or copy the steps and style from the internet, and experience the flexibility and freshness that comes from music, dance, and exercise. Don’t miss out on this one, and you don’t even need to know how to dance.

YouTube utopia: YouTube videos work as stress-busters; you can find answers and images to just about anything you need, be it pep talk via TedTalks or your favourite songs and scenes from yesteryears. Laugh out loud to some crazy videos or sulk yourself in a silly way to your tearjerker soaps or reality shows-it’s a whole new world out there, but yes, don’t get addicted to it.

Creative chaos: Exploring your creative side is a right brain exercise, so there cannot be anything wrong about it! It is healthy to involve yourself in activities such as art, craft, cooking, etc., so that this becomes a part of the stress-busting experience. In fact, these creative exercises have therapeutic value as well.

Notching up novelty: Trying out something new has its own charm. It heightens the adrenaline rush which helps us to neuro-chemically counter mood swings and mental blocks. Break the routine, stop stereotyping, and let the novelty bring back a little sunshine into your life.

These few points can help a mother to indulge in positive stress-busting activities, as a preventive measure and understanding the body’s stress signals, which is an important aspect of our lifestyle today.