New Delhi: 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 important to take care of oneself, especially during the early months after delivery. Being a new mom can be highly stressful as it is a 24 x 7 job.
Dr Sushma Tomar and Dr Fabian Almeida of Fortis Hospital, Kalyan give some simple yet significant stress-busters for the 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. Even if you’re not able to sleep, it’s helpful to close your eyes and take deep breaths; this 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 – as this will help to keep you 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 foods which are rich in protein such a lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, and beans. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables, this will boost your immune system, will make you feel better and help in preventing 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 choose to do, make yourself a priority. Create a list of things you miss to do, or things that make you feel good, 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 yourself: 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 if you can afford, hire a babysitter to look after the baby. A postpartum doula 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 the gym is great- and we can similarly train our brain too. The boost and bounce of the brain gym come from activities like crossword, puzzles, sudoku, chess, spot-the-difference, brainvita, etc., challenge the brain, and thereby enhance brain circulation and efficiency.
Play-therapy: Playing with your kids is the best form of exercise for the child and the parent. Besides helping with better bonding, it also re-enforces the importance of activity, energy, and stamina. And the cherry on the top- add a few tips on sportsmanship spirit, no matter what the sport, and that surely will go a long way.
Zestful Zumba: 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 a great stress-buster because you can find answers and images to just about anything you need to; be it some pep talk via TedTalks or, your favourite songs and scenes from yesteryears. Laugh out loud to some crazy videos or sulk yourself silly to your tearjerker soaps or reality shows-it’s a whole new world out there, but yes, don’t get addicted to it and stay in control.
Creative chaos: It is healthy to involve yourself in creative activities like art, craft, cooking so that this forms a part of a stress-busting experience for the brain. In fact, creative exercises have therapeutic value.
Notching up novelty: Trying out something new has its own charm and heightens the adrenaline rush, helping us to neurochemically counter mood swings and mind blocks. Break the routine, stop the stereotype and let the novelty bring back a little sunshine into your life.