We’ve all heard the saying “happy baby, happy mum,” but is that always true? If one thing is certain, being a mother is one of the most exhausting roles you can have. While it is also extremely rewarding, parenting often leaves mothers putting their health and wellbeing last.
Self-care is extremely important for all people, but especially mothers. Here are things that you can do to put yourself first, improve your health and wellbeing and be the best mother you can be.
Getting your body moving is one of the best things you can incorporate into your self-care routine. Not only will it improve your health in terms of fitness and healthy weight, but it can also boost your happiness levels. In fact, research has shown that just 20 minutes of exercise creates mood benefits which last up to twelve hours. While you might not have the time to hit the gym, there’s plenty of things you can do to exercise and stay fit: follow an instructional video on youtube, go for a quick walk or run with your pram or even dance around the house to some music.
While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, it is especially important for busy mums to benefit from good, balanced food. Adopting the correct diet during pregnancy will help keep you and your developing baby happy and healthy. You can read our nutrition tips for pregnancy here. However, healthy eating shouldn’t stop once your baby is born. Not only is a balanced diet essential for your baby’s health while you breastfeed, but it can also play an important role in your overall feelings of health and wellbeing. Nourish your body with the right fuels to help you get through your day. Eat high-quality ingredients and consume lots of water every day. Of course, you are allowed to treat yourself to chocolate and soft-drink now and then, but always remember the benefits that healthy eating has on your mind, body and soul. If you feel too busy, take a few minutes to plan what you’re going to keep in your fridge each week so you can make quick, healthy, easy meals.
One of the first things that seem to fly out the window when we become parents is time to socialise. Mothers often feel so heavy with responsibilities that they put friendships and even relationships at the bottom of their priority list. Try to at least schedule some time to connect with the people you love on a regular basis. Research has shown that mothers without a strong support group have higher levels of stress; these mums tend to be more worn down and pessimistic about parenthood. The opposite was found from mums who did have a strong support group. Surround yourself with the people you love, and socialise when you can. Even if its just a quick coffee date, nurturing relationships is a great wait to demonstrate self-care.
Becoming a mother definitely throws a spanner in the works of your sleep schedule. Many mothers often shortchange their sleep in an effort to make more hours in the day, for work, chores etc. However, insufficient sleep doesn’t give us more hours; it just makes us less productive in the time we do have. It is important to ensure that you make adequate sleep a priority. With sufficient levels of sleep under your belt, it almost seems as though everything else is that little bit easier.
You wouldn’t let your child miss their annual check-ups—but often parents do not put the same effort and care into their own health. It is important that you listen to your body’s signals and seek medical attention, as soon as you need it, rather than feeling as though you don’t have the time. Remember to attend annual checkups, appropriate tests, mammograms, skin exams, pap smears, flu shots, and dental examinations. With your health in check, you can maintain the happiness and wellbeing of your whole family.
As a mother, it can be easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day routines of family life and mothering. One of the most necessary aspects of your own self-care is making time for yourself, to do the things you love to do. If you love reading; read. If you love cooking; cook. If you love painting; paint. Whatever your hobby may be, always make time to experience the joy and passion that it brings you, no matter how busy you might feel.
If you need any further advice on self-care, pregnancy or mothering in general, it is important to contact an obstetrician as they will be able to tell you the best measures you can take for your body.
If you have any questions about preparing your body for pregnancy, or would like to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to get in touch.