It’s 7:30 on a chilly Thursday morning, and I’m sitting here watching two of the most beautiful things: the early morning sun and my 3.5 week old baby peacefully sleeping (he’s been sleeping for over four hours. This is a very big deal, guys!). Anyway, I’m too awake to fall asleep again, so what I am doing is thinking back on the last three weeks of my life. For those of you with children, you might understand how time can pass, and we can seem to be oblivious to it. Having a newborn brings with it a type of reality I have never known. But it’s just as amazing as they say.
I wrote last time about feeling good in your pregnancy, and I’m happy and grateful to report that I had a great remainder of my pregnancy. But now, of course, I’m learning all over again. The post partum world is so unbelievable, so special, and yet overwhelming. I’m learning to take care of myself in many different ways, be kinder to myself, and shift the expectations I have for myself. I’m not going to accomplish all I set out to each day, and some days I will accomplish none of it. But I’m taking care of my boy and taking care of myself the best way I know how, and that’s plenty for now.
That being said, I’ve learned a bit these last few weeks about what I can do to feel my best, which for me, means feeling most like my former self. Here are my “must dos”:
1. Walk. Walk every. Single. Day. I’ve been taking the little guy on walks around our neighborhood every day. The fresh air does us both good, it’s fun to introduce him to new neighbors, and I love seeing the steps accumulate on my Fitbit. If it’s cold out, my hubby watches him so I can still get a quick walk in, and if it’s raining, I get on the treadmill for a few minutes. But I can’t miss that walk…the few times I have, I notice I definitely feel more lethargic and cabin fever sets in pretty quickly.
2. If cleared by your doctor, I suggest some post partum exercises. As a fitness enthusiast, it’s hard for me to go several days without any exercise. But I was cleared for light activity, and I notice that even short, light workouts have brightened my whole perspective. And remember how I mentioned shifting my expectations? I’m learning that I may not be able to get in a 30 minute routine at once (will that ever be possible again?). So, I break it up. Even 5-10 minutes is enough to brighten my mood, get the blood flowing and activate some muscles.
3. Eat often, and eat well. While nursing, we need a lot more calories. And even if you’re not nursing, you are working really hard 24/7 to take care of this adorable little human. So eat often. In order to supply my body with the right type of energy, I keep some of my favorite snacks nearby all the time (Larabars, nuts, fruit, dried fruit, precut veggies, Greek yogurt) along with lots of water. When I do manage to cook, I make lots of extras for leftover meals. I cook quinoa or brown rice in large batches, and use easy ingredients like beans and frozen veggies.
4. Plan on completing only part of a task, or one small task, and allow yourself to feel productive from that. I’m the type of person that gets disappointed if I don’t accomplish my goals to a T. Even with things like housework. But I’m learning that anything is better than nothing. If I can’t get the whole kitchen clean the way I like it, but I wiped the counters and the stove, that’s a win. Washing the floor or cleaning the microwave: total bonus points.
5. And lastly, be social. It’s too easy to get caught up in baby world or sucked into hours of tv binging. I’ve made it a point to call at least one friend or family member a day, at least on days that we don’t have any visitors or aren’t leaving the house. It’s really an easy step, but an important part of feeling normal.
I know I have TONS to learn with this parenting thing. Every day beings new lessons, and my perspective will change along with them. But I’ve made it this far, and thanks to some of the above tips, I actually feel pretty darn good most days. Congrats to any other new mommies out there…you truly are rock stars!!
Now, go take a nap 💤