Self-Care Strategies for New Moms - by Jamie McManus, M.D., FAAFP
are the best jugglers—arranging family schedules from soccer games to band
practice to doctor’s appointments; planning and cooking healthful meals; and,
for many, holding down a full-time job.
We seem to do it all.
“the 24-hour woman” comes with a price—chronic stress and its related health
Women today experience
more stress at every stage of life, with new moms topping that list of highly
The New Moms Speak Outreport, a 2008 national survey of women who
gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2005, found 43% of respondents said stress was
a major postpartum problem, followed closely by weight concerns, lack of sleep,
and physical exhaustion.
As a mom (and
grandmother), I have personally experienced some of these same challenges, but
I also remember all the wonderful rewards of motherhood that make every part of
it well worth it!
Watching my son take
his first steps, receiving my daughter’s artistic masterpiece of a Mother’s Day
card—or, better yet, being served breakfast in bed by an 8-year-old son with
his trusty 4-year-old sister as the sous chef. Who wouldn’t sign up for this
So let me share some of
my tips to help you be the best mom you can be by taking exceptional care of
yourself so you can do all you want for your family!
One of the most
important self-care strategies I’ve discovered is to schedule some personal
relaxation time. Even just 10–15 minutes a day, try to sit somewhere quiet and
just breathe! You may collect your thoughts or simply let your mind wander,
unfettered by any obligations. It will work wonders.
Eating healthfully also
plays a crucial role in allowing you to function at your best—as well as
dealing with stress. Eating a variety of foods can help you stay focused and
alert, and will help ward off colds and even the flu.
Choose whole grain
breads and cereals, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean-protein
options such as fish or chicken. Milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese provide
healthful amounts of calcium and protein, but be sure to choose the low-fat or
And it makes good sense
to fill in any dietary gaps and shortfalls with a comprehensive multivitamin/multimineral
New moms also know
better than anyone else that tending to a newborn can leave you feeling
drained—not to mention with a pile of unwashed laundry!
Well, my very top way
to stay energized and manage stress is to make physical activity a priority.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. Instead of
Jazzersize®, maybe it’s time for Strollercize®! (Yes, there really is
something called Strollercize!)*
And last but not least,
we all need a little help now and then.
Seek out social
support. Join a local mothers club where you can meet other moms experiencing
the same things you are.
New research findings
from BrighamYoungUniversityfound that blogging can boost maternal well-being.
So if you’ve always wanted to be a writer, now’s the time. You, too, can become
blogger”and get the
feedback and support you need by blogging or using social networking tools.
*All trademarks are the
property of their respective owners.