Feeling exhausted now that you’re a mother? You’re not alone. You longed for your baby to arrive, but weeks of sleepless nights, feeding routines and getting over the birth can take its toll-visit any antenatal clinic and you’ll recognize those familiar dark circles under the eyes of every mum.
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Your hormones don’t help either. After labour, they go mad for a while - one minute you’re ecstatic, weepy the next. Just what you need with a hungry baby on one arm, a full washing basket and a partner or even a boisterous toddler in need of a hug, too.
With all this going on, you’d have to be a saint not to feel stressed at some point. But there are some simple ways you can minimize the fallout.
One of the major challenges new mums have is that they’re ‘closet’ perfectionists. Try as you might to pretend that you’re really not bothered that the bathroom isn’t spotless, the reality is that she’ll scrub the sink at the first chance she gets. Obsessing about things that don’t really matter very much are the triggers that can really push a mother over the edge.
How to beat stress
1. Find someone who will listen. Join a parent and baby group or meet up with a friend who also has a baby. Sharing experiences is one of the best ways to stay sane.
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everything takes longer and is more complicated with a baby in tow, so don’t worry if you’re not dressed and out of the house with all the housework done by 11am. It’s far more damaging to get yourself (and your baby) worked up rushing around just to achieve a certain goal than to let your usual standards slip a bit.
3. Don’t put off relaxing. Find something that you enjoy, such as a ten-minute yoga stretch or simply sitting and breathing deeply for a few minutes-and try to do it every day while your baby sleeps.
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4. Avoid arguments. Babies naturally put a strain on relationships with your partner, family and friends. Explain how you’re feeling. If your hormones are playing havoc with your moods, say so. You’ll be surprised how helpful others can be when they understand what’s going on. And if you feel like blowing your top, leave the room and have a bath. After half-an-hour’s bath you’ll be wondering what you were so angry about.
5. Get enough rest and sleep. It’s easier said than done when your baby wakes you up every couple of hours in the night, but you can make up for it in the daytime by relaxing while your baby sleeps-don’t use that time to get the washing or other jobs done.
6. Accept that your life has changed for good. Your baby takes up all of your time and energy at the moment, and you might be wondering when you’ll get some semblance of your old life back. Things won’t ever be the same again, but better-your now have a wonderful little addition to your family to love and nurture.
You are suffering from stress if you:
. Constantly feel tired.
. Rush around getting chores done while the baby naps.
. Put yourself last by prioritizing everyone else’s needs above your own.
. Eat a whole packet of biscuits or bar of chocolate regularly then end up feeling guilty afterwards.
. Feel tearful frequently without always knowing why and constantly losing objects, such as keys and letters.
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