I’ve been a parent for 8 years now, and I have to admit those early newborn days seem very far away! I’m still by no means a parenting expert, but having been there and done that I do find that it’s easier to look back with hindsight and offer some tips to new parents on how to take care of yourself.
It’s common as a new parent to be solely focused on your little one and forget about yourself. That’s absolutely fine, and it’s great that your children mean so much to you. After all, you want to make sure they’re healthy, living their best lives and are experiencing as much as possible. However, it’s just as important to look after yourself.
So, it may be time to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself first for once! The key to feeling healthy, happy and looking great, all while juggling family life, is by making sure you have a balanced lifestyle and practice a bit of self-care.
If you’re a little lost at where to get started with this, here are some easy ways you can start feeding your mind, body and soul…
It’s no secret that eating good food makes you feel better and gives you more energy, so making sure you eat and drink high-quality meals and snacks means you’re on the right track to looking after yourself.
It’s easy to find healthy and nutritious recipes for the kids and is natural to want to feed them first, however, it’s important to remember you need healthy food too.
Try cooking some family-friendly nutritious meals that you can enjoy together. It’s a good thing for your children to be able to see you practising healthy behaviours, and there are many benefits to sitting down for meals together.
Try drinking water instead of fizzy drinks, cook from scratch a few extra times a week and maybe try some vegetarian meals. If you can plan your meals it will help you to always have quick, easy and healthy meals at the ready in the fridge.
Whether you need to exercise a bit more often, or just feel like you need to add a little extra to your regular workout, it’s a good idea to choose activities that make you want to exercise on a regular basis rather than be left feeling like you need to force yourself to do it.
Try something new like signing up to a race or some peaceful yoga classes. It’s really easy to complete workouts at home too, check out this 23 Best Resistance Bands; Ultimate List (2019) for some inspiration for equipment you can use easily at home. You could even consider hiring a personal trainer who can work with you to create a good workout plan.
Don’t forget that it can be really easy to get the kids involved in exercise too. Try going for some walks, bike rides and swimming classes on a weekend. Not only do you get the hidden exercise you’re also promoting a healthy lifestyle to your children.
Get Enough Sleep
Ok yes I know, this is definitely easier said than done, especially when you have a new baby and then an active toddler in the house. But sleep is crucial for you to look after yourself and ensure you’re able to look after your kids.
Of course, there’s going to be days where you don’t get enough sleep, but trying to keep yourself in a routine is one of the best things you can do to look after your health. It’s been proven that if you have less than 6 hours sleep in a day then you’re at risk of more health problems, depression and weight gain.
If your kids don’t sleep, it can be hard to find the time to get enough sleep yourself, but sometimes it’s a case of changing your priorities. It’s very easy to slip into thinking ‘I can just get this done before the kids wake up’ rather than having a rest yourself.
Try getting yourself relaxed near bedtime, read instead of watching tv, listen to some calming music and stay away from your mobile phone.
Have A Good Network
Being a new parent or even extending your family can mean you’re extremely busy 99.9% of the time. It’s important to make sure you try to save some time for family and friends. Achieving a good work-life balance can help with this.
Don’t forget to schedule some time for things such as ‘date night’, it’s still important to have some time alone together just as much as it is to spend time with the kids.
If you struggle to get any alone time and just want a little break, sometimes arranging events where a few families get together can take off the pressure off the ‘full-on’ entertainment feeling. If they’re busy with other children you should be able to have some adult conversation, although with fellow parents you’ll often end up talking about the kids anyway!
You and your partner also deserve some time to do the things you enjoy as individuals, so taking it in turns to allow the other person to have a night or day away doing a hobby they love is a brilliant way of keeping up morale and support.
These are just a few of the ways you can take care of yourself as a new parent, do you have anything that you do to help look after yourself? If so, let me (and your fellow parents!) know in the comments section below.