Taking care of yourself is probably one of the last things on your mind when you become new parents. But you really need to care for yourself in order to care for babies and children.
Self-care is any activity that you do specifically for yourself, to take care of your physical, emotional or spiritual health. Think of it as a car. It cannot bring you where you want to go without refueling. Examples of self-care are varied and really dependent upon the person. You may really enjoy a warm bath, whereas someone else may not enjoy this experience at all. Self-care activities need to be determined by each individual. There are, however, key areas to consider in your self-care routine:
Relaxation techniques can be helpful to manage the stress in our day to day. Some example of things we may do to relax include focused breathing, guided imagery, meditation or yoga. Finding what works for you and practicing that skill is important.
Exercise helps with both your physical and mental health. A short walk with your baby or child, gardening, or a formal class are just some of the ways you can consider to keep moving. For more information on the physical activity for you and your family, check the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.
Sleep has benefits for your physical and mental health, and it may be very hard to get when you have become a new parent. Sleeping when the baby sleeps, getting support from family and friends for household chores so you can rest or sleep may be helpful. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other substances. Having a light snack or some warm milk before bed may also help.
Time for self means that you are taking time away from your daily responsibilities like caring for your baby, household chores or paid work to do something that you enjoy. That something may be exercise, or it may be going for a drive, reading a book or maybe enjoying time with friends. Whatever the activity, it is important to include yourself on the list of things to do.
Healthy food is actual fuel! Incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks is one way to eat healthily. Accepting help from family and friends who cook may also be helpful. Tips for Healthy eating, eating on a budget and meal planning can be found on Canada’s Food Guide.
Making time in your week to take care of yourself is key to your own health and an important part of your ability to care for others.
Services related to this information:
Public Health Nursing offices, Eastern Health
811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555