Taking Care of Yourself as a New Parent

Taking care of yourself is probably one of the last things on your mind when you become new parents, but you really need to be caring 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, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Practicing self-care can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety.

By taking care of yourself, you’re able to be there for others when they need you.

The NESTS principles of self-care help identify keys areas to consider in your self-care routine:

(N) Nutrition

  • 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 in Canada’s Food Guide and in the Healthy Eating section of the Hi website.

(E) Exercise

  • 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, visit the Physical Activity section of Hi.

(S) Sleep and Rest

  • 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 and 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.

(T) Time for Self

  • 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 relax and do something that you enjoy. Taking time to relax and de-stressing can mean an improvement in your mood, brain function, and memory. Relaxation allows your mind and body to repair itself. You’ll make better decisions. Do what makes you happy- go for a drive, read a book, have a bath or meditate. Whatever the activity, it is important to include time for yourself on your list of things to do.

(S) Support

  • Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Now isn’t the time for independence. Your family and friends care about you and want to be helpful. Give them your grocery list or a takeout order. Hand them a basket of laundry to fold, or show them where to empty the trash. And remember, it’s OK if they don’t do things exactly the way you would. A good support network can contribute make us feel like we are not alone and better able to achieve your self-care goals

It is difficult for any of us to give and give without taking time to take care of ourselves. Making time 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:

  • Contact your Public Health Nurse
  • 811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555
    • 811 is free and confidential. 811 is available 24/7 and can provide support with mental health and addictions issues and more.
    • Services formerly offered by the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line are now offered by 811. Call 811 to speak with a registered nurse who is also a trained crisis intervener.
  • Bridge the Gapp
    Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘go-to’ website for mental health information. Bridge the Gapp offers self-help resources, links to local services, and invites people to share their personal stories. Bridge the Gapp is free of cost and available to every resident in the province. The site is divided into adult and youth sections, however many services are appropriate for both.
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Last updated: 2021-03-12