Any mom would agree that when you have a new baby, relaxation falls to the wayside. There's so much that a baby needs, and as parents, you're just trying to survive, tending to the most basic needs.
So how do you make time for some sort of relaxation?
Mindfulness is a great option for relaxation for new moms. You can do it anywhere and you don't need any props for it. No special clothes, no soothing music, nothing. It doesn't even take long. You can even practice it with a baby in your arms or an older child running around.
So what exactly is mindfulness? It is the act of focusing your mind on the present. Mindfulness helps you to slow down and relax by doing such things as paying attention to your breath or noticing things around you. Ok moms, I know you’re probably wondering how looking at that mess around you is supposed to be relaxing? I know it doesn’t sound very helpful. Hang on, there’s just a little more to this.
Focusing on something in the present is only the first step of mindfulness. The second step involves not judging or reacting to our thoughts or feelings, and instead just to observe them. Let those thoughts or feelings be and you don't have to entertain them any further. Simply notice them and they will eventually fade away. This may take some practice and that’s ok. That’s often the case for a lot of people. Over time, you will find that this becomes easier.
As a mom, it can be hard to find time for ourselves. If you can do this baby-free, fantastic. If not, give it a try anyway. It should still give you some sense of peace, despite what chaos may be around you at the moment.
Ready to give this a try? Take a look at these 3 times of day when you can practice mindfulness and try to incorporate one into your day. To help you remember, I organized them into activities that start with B.
As you experiment with mindfulness, remember to be gentle with yourself and take baby steps. Little steps towards creating room for relaxation in your day. Little steps towards observing your thoughts/feelings and not reacting to them. Just as our babies have to learn new things in stages, so do we when it comes to new things.
Laura Winters, LCSW is a therapist specializing in infertility and prenatal/postpartum stress. Laura's practice is located in Chatham and Mountain Lakes, NJ.