Remember that we are learning to refocus and find balance in all areas of life. Last week, we talk about finances (click here to read my budgeting ideas for a varying income). As I started to write this, I realized I have no idea why I decided to pursue this niche at this season in our lives.
Am I semi-crazy to even consider that balance and focus is possible with our firstborn being just a month old? But then again, I have no wish to burn out and be stressed during such a precious time in our lives, and since I believe that being able to live in balance is the secret that we are searching for in our lives, so I am actually trying to find some form of balance as we are learning to be new parents.
Why do we need to destress? The American Psychology Association states that stress affects every system of the body, leading to chronic diseases and incresaed signs of aging (see this post from APA website). Yet… we are still living in stress, refusing to take a break and feeling that we don’t have time to make sure our lives are balanced. Let’s start small, not a full life overhaul, just try these simple 6 activities that I am striving to keep in my self-care regimen.
1) Go Work Out.
You know all the benefits – exercise releases stress, gets blood pumping, helps your brain get active… Here is how I am exercising – during nap time (if I am not napping too) I am using a video, or go on a walk with baby in the stroller or yoga at the end of the day. Here are the items I am using for a quick 15 minute at home workout that works around baby and our new schedule –
2) Read A Book
I love to read right before I go to bed, even a couple of minutes in a self-development book can clear up my mind and help me sleep better. My current reading is Deuteronomy and “Debt-Free Living” and “Success Over Stress.” I make sure the baby is asleep and then I grab my book and let my mind clear up as I read, then I am able to relax enough to get some good sleep for the few hours that little one is asleep.
3) Practice Your Hobbies.
My hobby, obviously, is writing and drinking coffee and watching crime shows. Baby gets to sit with me while I am writing or lay on the couch if he is asleep. We figured out that I can lay him on my leg while I sit on the couch and use a computer table that can be pulled up to the couch. It would be so easy for me to say I can’t, I don’t have time, but finding the time to do what matters to me, to be able to be creative allows me to de stress and refocus, which makes me a better mom in both the short and the long run.
Okay I know, how in the world? I’m still learning, but I need a schedule to function or get anything done. Our little one has been predictable with the times he is sleeping, well predictable-ish. But think schedule as in order of tasks to be completed. For instance – 1st thing I do is make coffee, then put on breakfast, take care of pets check on baby, if he is awake, I feed him then eat breakfast. The same tasks in the same order every day lessens the stress, because it can become automatic.
5) Cut Down On Non-Essentials.
The mindset of living a simple live is has become core to who I am. Minimalism decreases stress and gives me time to focus on what is important to me, so we cut out the non-essentials in how we use our time and energy. In other words – I got paper plates. Don’t underestimate the difference that something so simple will make. I think not having dishes pile up for the last 4 weeks has been the biggest factor in keeping me sane.
6) Don’t Put Yourself Last.
Rest, eat a full meal, take a shower. And, yes, I am guilty on all 3 of these. Right now, I should be eating lunch instead of writing, so I am pausing now to grab a grilled cheese sandwich… okay, I am back. For the first 2 weeks of baby being home, my meals would take an hour, I wasn’t resting when I needed to and showers were more miss than getting them. And I was feeling forgotten and unloved… which was how I was treating myself. Now I am working on getting those meals more regular and to rest instead of focusing on my to-do list as much.
See, when I wasn’t taking care of myself, I was starting to stress out at my son, every cry, every hungry moment, every diaper change made me tense up and I would get stressed. But it wasn’t/isn’t his fault. I wasn’t taking care of myself, and was taking it out on him. As the saying goes, “You can’t fill someone else’s tank if your tank is always empty.” For me, the most important thing for me is love and peace in our home, and that means that I must take time to take care of myself before I take care of everyone else. The same is probably true for you as well, so how is one way that you are going to practice self-care for yourself this week? Share your thoughts in the comments and if the truths of being balanced and having self-care spoke to you, share this blog with your friends so they can be blessed as well!
Yes, I include affiliate links in all my blogs, it gives me the chance to stay home with my little one. I get paid a little each time you click and buy from the included links. Thanks for helping our dream of being a full-time blogger come true! ~ Lydia Y-S.
PS – Here are some other blogs I have written on self-care, check them out…