You knew that adjusting to life with a baby may involve some uncertainty and stress. But no one could have predicted how much uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic, stresses, protests would deliver. The normal amount of change that comes with a new baby is complicated by recent events. We all thrive on habit and stability. Change is stressful, even if the change is for the better. This pandemic has altered most aspects of our lives. To some extent, most of us have found ways to function despite the new norms of being in shelter in place and social distancing. As we all make an effort to cope with these changes we also need to prepare for long term (i.e., economic and other) consequences, as well as the change which resuming ‘normal’ life involves.
Becoming a parent involves so many changes, sometimes unexpected and there is a certain amount of stress involved. Any deviation from our routine can be stressful. Our brain and our bodies need rhythm and routine.
Here are 9 tips to come back to your center and feel in control of your body.
- Body-Mind-Work Balance. There are several strategies like meditation, journaling, listening to music to help you stay calm and to deal with uncertainty and stress.
- Deep and slow breathing. The breath can calm us down. Start your day with a few belly breaths. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale. Bond with your baby before turning on the news or checking your social media feed.
- Mind quieting activities. Commit to 10 min of mindful meditation daily or a self-care routine such as a body massage with a dry, stiff-bristled brush (or plain dry washcloth) before a shower.
- Find different ways to move. Get up and down off the floor with your baby.
- Start with a short walk and build up from there. Walk outside and barefoot in nature if possible.
- Eat regular, healthy meals. Good nourishment helps the nervous system to be calmer. Here is our family chicken soup recipe.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. It may be tempting to conquer your to-do list or catch up on social media but prioritize rest. Keep a cool, dark room with clean sheets available for opportunities to nap. Even a short, light sleep during the day can benefit the body and mind and calm the nervous system. See the previous blog on sleep.
- Community. Find a mom’s group, a community to exchange ideas, share stories, connect with, and receive support.
- Compassion. Have compassion for yourself. You are living through a big change. Be gentle with yourself.
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