Calmness, Composure, and Crying: Staying Relaxed With a Newborn

It may seem like a contradiction in terms. If you need to find ways to relax when you have a newborn you may ask “where is the time to relax?!” But when we are in that bubble of being a new parent, and everything is new, exciting, and scary at the same time, relaxing may be the furthest thing from our minds. But we need to remember that, for all of the anxieties and stresses associated with being a new parent, taking the opportunities to relax where you can gives you a fighting chance of recuperating, while also keeping stress at bay. With this in mind, how can we relax, especially when we are exhausted and infuriated, all at the same time? 

Carve a Little Bit of Time for You (No Matter How Small It Is)

Perhaps you feel that it's just you and the baby and your partner has to go back to work or it all just seems a bit too much. But one of the reasons we begin to feel so helpless is that we have lost any sense of connection with the person we were. And while motherly duties take priority and we do this instinctually, we still need to remember that when we have no time to look after ourselves, this is what can perpetuate the problem. No matter how little time it may be, having an opportunity to look after yourself by doing something that is for you and you alone can help you recapture some sense of self. Think about the things that you liked to do before the baby came along. Reading is something that may seem like an impossible task but if it is a connection to your old self, this is something you can have a little bit of control over. You can go here to get some new reading glasses and think about creating a little nest for yourself so you can read, even if it's for 10 minutes. It's better than nothing. That little bit of time is the perfect opportunity for you to become reacquainted with the old version of yourself.

Sharing the Load

They say that one of the biggest problems during the first year of a baby's life is communication. The parents may feel that they are operating in different time zones if they are taking it in turns to get up with the baby or complete certain duties. But this is where you need to share the load in other ways. Are there other people that can help if you are both feeling lost in a sea of sleepiness? Moral support is crucial at this juncture. When you feel like you are sharing the load or that other people are going through the same thing, it demystifies the experience. We can all feel that we are losing our minds because we've only had a couple of hours’ sleep over the last few days. And this is one of the worst aspects of being a parent. But if you need that opportunity to relax, having the courage to say you need help should be effortless. But so many people feel they don't need help or they shouldn't have help because it makes them feel like they are weak. This is a very unique situation because you've never experienced it before. So don't be afraid to ask for help.

Eating Well

When we feel so exhausted and needs extra stimulation we naturally turn to the simulants. While coffee is a lifesaver it's important to know your limits. If you are sensitive to caffeine there is a point where it just gives you the jitters and will make you even more anxious. Using ways to give you energy is essential, but you've got to do it right. You may also feel the temptation to have a takeaway. Look at takeaways as a treat, especially if you've had a bad week. But it's important to remember the importance of a diet that can calm you down. This means cutting back on the sugar and going for complex carbohydrates and good fats. Omega-3, which is commonly found in fish, can help you manage your stress hormones. If you feel you need to get a chocolate bar, make a swap for, at the very least, a nut bar. Omega-3s are in abundance in seeds and nuts, and with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, it could keep you going for a good few hours.

Treat Yourself

It seems that this baby is draining every aspect of your energy. And you feel that you give until you have nothing left. This is why it's so important to treat yourself to those things that feel like proper rewards. You may decide to pamper yourself with a home spa kit or buying something you've been eyeing up for a while online. These little treats are rewards for sticking out the long nights. And when you buy something you have been lusting after for a long time, whether it's a book or a games console, you will find the time to make the most of it. If it's a book you are engrossed in, you will want to make time for it. Babies have to sleep at some point and you need to make the most of this time because this is when, believe it or not, they won't be demanding every moment of your time (in fact, this is when they become a toddler!) Right now, a baby just needs to sleep, feed, and eat. So if this means they sleep on you while you play on your Nintendo Switch, so be it! Don't feel guilty.

Learning How to Destress Properly

Many people believe they are just wired for stress, but the most important thing we can do is to practice being calm. It doesn't achieve the results you need overnight, but when you start to find the right practices that calm you down and are quick to do, this can help you in so many different areas of your life. Getting the diet dialled in can help you feel more relaxed, especially if you discover that you have a low lying intolerance to something. But when you feel the symptoms of stress, learning how to calm down through mindfulness or deep breathing exercises can dampen down that fight or flight sensation. It's important to remember that when we feel stressed or anxious that we learn the right tactics to control the symptoms. Yes, it is easier said than done at 3 in the morning, but learning some form of control over your anxieties will help you to gain some perspective. Some people take to being a parent like a duck to water, but others don't. If you are firmly in the latter camp, certain meditative practices or calming activities will give you the boost you need. And the more we practice it, the better we become at it.

A newborn is the biggest test and the biggest shock to the system that most of us have. And we can either learn to roll with the punches or we can run away from the situation (emotionally speaking). We are all prone to ups and downs with a newborn, but if we can get through this part, we will overcome the most physically draining aspect of parenthood. And learning how to relax now will give you a fantastic foundation for the rest of your life. It's not easy, but if you can accomplish this, you will do just fine for the rest of your child's life.

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