Stress Less: Effective Stress Management Techniques for New Moms
We know how hard it is to be a mom, and it’s truly amazing how you handle your new family, work, finances, and relationships. But sometimes, this heavy responsibility becomes overwhelming, leaving you tired and strained.
Being a mom is so stressful that we may not realize it causes a significant impact on our children. As Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., an APA psychologist, once said, ‘How a mother handles stress sets an example for the rest of the family.’
While it sounds super easy, you tend to forget its importance, and you end up being eaten up by stress, which is an unhealthy coping mechanism that your children may pick up in the future.
Thus, it’s vital to learn how to take care of yourself. Emotional support and relaxation techniques can help manage postpartum stress. These coping strategies and stress relief tips for new moms could make a difference for your growing children.
How Does Stress Affect New Moms?
With many more moms experiencing high-stress levels compared to the dads, your child may sense that all is not well and your stress response will also affect how your baby handles it.
It’s important to note that how you manage stress can affect your children. Moreso, unhealthy coping mechanisms may lead to significant problems in the long haul. To cite an example, drinking alcohol provides temporary relief–but it doesn’t.
Learning proper stress management can lead to a happier and healthier home.
13 Essential Tips for Managing Stress as a New Mom
Having a baby is a very joyful and fulfilling experience, especially if you’re a new mom. On the downside, it comes with a lot of constant demands and stress!
Because of the overwhelming needs of your baby, you could forget to find time for yourself. This may sound impossible!
But the following self-care and time-management strategies hope to reduce your stress and make the most out of your journey toward motherhood!
Remember — you must care for yourself to become the best mom!
1. Manage your expectations.
Before becoming a parent, for sure you’ve imagined a happy family filled with fun and joy. You’ve also probably read books, magazines, and articles about how parenthood is fulfilling and exciting.
While society and social media may have shaped motherhood as a blissful and fulfilling experience, the reality could be the opposite.
At first, it might be tough to admit that you’re struggling as a new parent due to your expectations and how the media has perceived parenthood.
Let’s be real — taking care of a baby is difficult, so manage your expectations. It’s normal to be confused, frustrated, and sad. It’s not an easy way out, and you must navigate the learning curve of parenthood.
Be open-minded and accept the fact that there are problems along the way.
2. Be aware when you’re stressed.
Knowing if you are stressed helps in reducing it. If you’re aware that you’re stressed, you unknowingly will find a way to reduce such. Just make sure you engage in healthy stress-coping mechanisms!
If you notice that your stress persists for a long time, you’re most likely prone to getting anxiety, postpartum depression, or other mental health conditions. So, if you think you’re struggling, please seek professional help and advice.
3. Try exercising.
Exercising gives a lot of benefits, especially for new moms like you. It helps you to release endorphins and relieve muscle tension.
Also, exercising outdoors, if possible, offers a change in your usual scenery that helps you redirect your attention toward something different and beautiful. Walking can be a form of exercise, too.
4. Make time for hobbies.
Engage in your hobbies. Distract yourself by doing things that relax you. You can draw, play an instrument, sew, play chess, or even do aerobic dances!
Just remember to keep your baby in a safe place or let a family or friend watch over the baby while engaging in different hobbies!
5. Enjoy your life. Have time for yourself.
We know how irresistible your baby could be. That’s why we shower them with so much love! But as much as we love our little ones, we must also learn to love ourselves.
Never neglect your needs because taking care of yourself is essential, especially since you’re a new mom.
It’s a win-win situation—taking care of yourself means you can care for your baby more.
We suggest balancing out your life and enjoying being who you are before you even had a baby while still being a wonderful mom to your child!
6. Learn how to trust yourself.
There are a lot of parents giving parenting advice. We know they’re just trying to be a helping hand, but always note that every baby is unique. Some advice may work for your baby, while others may not.
So, before even giving a shot at other people’s parental advice, think through it first. If your instinct says this won’t work for your baby, don’t do it. Avoid the stress before you even try it.
7. Don’t compare yourself to other moms.
Parenting is not a competition. There’s no winner on who’s the best mommy out there. Instead, believe in yourself and do what’s best for your baby. Remember, with a happy and healthy baby, you’re already a winner.
8. Don’t take criticisms to heart.
You can’t avoid criticisms and negative feedback. So when you encounter them, don’t take it to heart. As mentioned earlier, there is no ‘right’ way of parenting. What you think is good for your little bundle of joy might not be good for others.
If you think their words are affecting you, you could distance yourself. You don’t have to deal with them because it’s already stressful to take care of a baby, so why add another stressor?
9. Don’t set high expectations.
Here’s a very important reminder: Not everything has to be perfect. The journey to motherhood is not one straight line. There will be lots of curves along the way. So, sometimes, making everything perfect isn’t possible.
Don’t over-achieve at the expense of your mental health.
Those high expectations are nothing as long as your baby is happy and healthy. Don’t be afraid to take occasional breaks and enjoy the pleasant moments. Slow down, relax, and take care of yourself.
10. Don’t isolate yourself.
As a new mom, sometimes, you’re too focused on taking care of your babies. But don’t cut off communication lines with your friends and family just because you’re busy caring for your little bundle of joy.
A quick chat or a phone call with them helps lessen the stress. If you can’t leave the house, you can always let your family and friends come over!
Socialization is very important, so don’t isolate yourself, and have that delightful laugh that you deserve! Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. With this in mind, things won't easily stress you when problems are underway.
11. Find a support group.
Having a postpartum support group eases the stress. However, many new moms don’t talk about their challenges and problems. This mindset makes them feel that, maybe, they’re the only ones having baby-caring problems.
There are a lot of parents facing similar struggles, so don’t be afraid to seek help from others. In this way, you will navigate the ups and downs of parenthood.
Join that support group that you’ve been wanting to, and reduce that stress of yours!
12. Problems don’t last forever.
You’re often stressed due to the problems the baby is causing. You might feel frustrated and exhausted, and we completely understand that.
If baby problems arise, take a deep breath and tell yourself this repeatedly: ‘It’s ok; this problem won’t last forever. I can do it.’
And, as your little one grows, you’ll be able to see patterns to understand better how to care for your child. In no time, you can swiftly manage your child-caring capabilities.
13. Avoid using alcohol and drugs to manage stress.
It might be tempting to have a drink or two to cope with stress. However, we emphasize that dealing with alcohol and drugs is never the solution, whether you're a new mom.
For breastfeeding moms, this is a big no-no. You can pass alcohol through the breast milk, leading to unfavorable consequences for your baby.
Another thing is that alcohol and drugs might affect the way you take care of your children due to intoxication. So, please consume alcohol and drugs responsibly if you cannot avoid them.
Prioritize Self-Care And Learn To Enjoy Your Life
We understand how you want to give only the best care that your little one deserves. However, this doesn’t mean you should overwork and stress yourself.
You must also prioritize your needs by making time for yourself and practicing stress management techniques.
With a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, you’ll be able to care for your baby more! So, create those happy moments with your babies, and enjoy life to the fullest!