Nurturing the Nurturer: Tips for Self-Care & Support for the Mom Day 2: Nurturing the Nurturer

Nurturing the Nurturer: Tips for Self-Care & Support for the Mom

Yesterday, we looked at how the journey of motherhood has evolved over the years. Today, mothers are expected to do it all and have it all: family, babies, careers!

Moms are carrying a tremendously heavy load, and tend to find themselves stretched to the limit. This leads to parental burnout (stress, overwhelm, guilt, exhaustion, anxiety, depression) which also results in chronic health conditions.

This is why moms and parents need empathy, support, and self-care, so they can create a memorable motherhood experience. 

Self-Care & Support: 13 Tips for the Mom

Tip 1: Prioritize yourself without guilt.

If you don’t make yourself a priority and cater to your needs (which will make you happy), your reserves of patience and love will start depleting. This will lead to anger or frustration towards your little one.

Do things for “yourself,” which will make you feel refreshed and light.

Tip 2: Share how you feel

Talking about our feelings is not easy. But try to express your good and not-so-good feelings with a partner, parent, or friend. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength and maturity.

Society has conditioned women to smile and stay positive no matter how terrible you actually feel. It’s time to set healthy boundaries and break free from continually adjusting and compromising. Your partner cannot read your mind or know your daily struggles, so speaking up is necessary. Seek professional help if needed.

Tip 3: Build your resilience

We tend to distract ourselves through feel-good habits (eating, shopping), but these are temporary band-aids. The only way to cope with a challenge is to “get through it” - face it with help from loved ones or a therapist.

Tip 4: Prioritize self-care

When you prioritize your needs, it has a positive impact on your mood, your way of thinking, and your parenting. Self-care looks different to everyone. See what works best for you and has the desired effect. Examples include: getting dressed and going out for some time, meeting a friend, reading a book, taking a warm shower, or cooking for fun. Take short breaks to recharge your battery, and do it without guilt.

Tip 5: Set realistic expectations

Many of us have this constant to-do list in our heads, which is exhausting. Take a step back from some of these tasks. If something can be postponed or someone else can do it for you, go ahead! It’s also OK if a task does not get done or not as perfectly as you wished. Set realistic expectations; you’re already doing enough.

Tip 6: Treat yourself better

Eating well and on time and staying hydrated are as important for new moms as it is for the babies.

Tip 7: Move your body

Exercise releases endorphins, which helps our brain think better and improves our mood! It may be extremely difficult to exercise especially if you’ve gained weight from the pregnancy, have hormonal or postpartum issues, or have no time. But even a short walk to get your heart rate going will do wonders. Research shows that some form of exercise every day for a short duration can combat stress and anxiety. 

Tip 8: Invest in genuine relationships

Call a friend and spend time with other people. For many moms after their baby is born, their world revolves around their child. This can lead to isolation and loneliness. Reconnect with other adults, maybe other moms who are experiencing similar things you are. Your identity is beyond being a mom.

Tip 9: Drop the guilt

Mom guilt can arise from a number of reasons. As we don’t have control over societal expectations, we need to manage our own expectations of ourselves. You cannot do it all and you cannot do it perfectly.

Strike a balance between what you “need to do” and what you “can do.” Avoid getting influenced by the accomplishments or lifestyle choices of your other moms or what you see on social media. You are awesome and your baby knows it!

Tip 10: Give yourself grace

Practice self-compassion; know you’re doing your best. Avoid getting into the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” self-talk. Learn to say no when you need to protect your energy or time - like declining a social invitation so that you can catch up on sleep.

Tip 11: Do a social media detox

Social media has given rise to the “comparison” game or like people call it FOMO (fear of missing out). No content on social media should ever make you feel bad about yourself! Unfollow, remove connections, offload the app – do whatever you need to so you can maintain your mental peace. Your self-worth is not determined by how many likes or comments or followers you have. Limit your social media use if you feel it’s affecting your mental state.

Tip 12: Improve your sleep schedule

When you’re not sleeping well, your brain is not functioning well. You struggle to think rationally and react angrily (often displaced on your child or loved ones). Nobody can survive with less sleep.When you are adequately well-rested, you feel more focused and can thrive better. 

Tip 13: Try to make simple breathing exercises a habit

Deep, slow, controlled breathing (as opposed to shallow breathing, which is what most of us do, especially when stressed or rushed) does wonders for our parasympathetic nervous system. Try to include some form of breathwork exercise, like pranayam or simply observing your breath for a few minutes at different times of the day. 

These 13 tips will enable more moms to be more joyful, manage their and others’s expectations, and feel more confident and calm as you get used to parenting.