I know what you’re thinking - not another self-help post! Lord knows we see enough of them splattered all over the internet on a daily basis. But here’s the thing- we know there's validity and importance in self-help because taking care of ourselves means we can show up in the world the way we WANT to. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
You have A LOT to manage as a new mom, and I mean a lot, so you’ll need something instant and preferably free to manage the stress that pops up. Here are my top 10 instant stress relievers for new moms.
1. Deep breathing
Everything, and I mean everything, is linked back to our breathing. Most people do a lot of chest breathing throughout the day which exacerbates stress and can leave you feeling drained and even more on edge. The nice thing about breathe work is you can do it anywhere, Doing just five minutes of deep breathing can go a very long way. My favorite kind of breathe work is diaphragmatic breathing or deep belly breathing.
2. Going for a walk
If you have a sitter or someone to watch the baby even for 15-20 minutes, going for a brisk walk outside can change your mood and get you out of your head. If no one is around to watch the baby, even just getting outside and changing up your environment can go a long way and help shift your mood and focus.
As long as you don’t think the baby will wake up, sometimes putting on your favorite tunes and belting out some notes to your favorite songs can totally change your mood. Music is soothing and a major stress relief.
There are so many options when it comes to streaming music, all you need is the space in your house or apartment to dance around freely for just ten minutes. Dance alone or with your baby and teach them how fun and freeing music can be while you get a nice little endorphin rush.
5. Doing 10 minutes of exercise
Literally, just 10 minutes. Try this bodyweight circuit non-stop for ten minutes. Try two sets of 10-15 reps each for 10 minutes straight.
6. Sitting in the sun for 10 minutes
The sun works through a number of receptors in the brain to affect our mental status and alertness. Moderate sunlight exposure can help to improve mood and focus by boosting serotonin levels in your body. Serotonin is known as the 'happiness hormone' which makes us calm and alert. Sitting in the sun for an extended period of time isn’t the best idea but under 15 minutes can help to completely alter your mood.
7. Calling a friend
This one is totally undervalued and many of us don’t want to be a burden to our friends and family but what we’ll find is when we reach out for a helping hand, more often than not, the people in our lives will usually always be willing to help us through a stressful time. Even just calling a friend or family member to hold space for you while you vent can go a long way.
8. Making a list
Making a list of what you need to get done helps get it out of your head and makes your tasks much more tangible, especially in the moment when we can get stuck in our heads. Try implementing this as apart of your everyday routine so when stuff hits the fan, you can always center yourself and come back to your list.
Meditation is a complete game changer! Here’s the thing- it doesn't have to be a formal practice. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Maybe your practice consists of just 3-5 minutes of something like savasana in yoga. Or maybe it’s just focusing on your breath and closing your eyes while imagining you are on a beautiful beach someplace. Maybe it’s repeating a positive mantra to yourself in an upright comfortable position. There are even apps nowadays to help guide you if you are lost. I like an app called calm.
If you’re 4-6 weeks postpartum, this may be a good option for some instant stress relief while the baby is napping. Here’s the reality: masturbation is normal, and can be a healthy way to relieve stress. Exploring your body post-baby is a great way to get reacquainted with yourself, feel empowered again, improve your self-image and generally help you get your mojo back. If it’s night time, it can also help you to relax and fall asleep faster.