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Pregnancy is an amazing experience full of emotions! Some days you will feel like the hottest mama in the world and others like a stuffed pork chop!
You think to yourself, if only I can make it through these 9 months, then I’ll feel like myself again! Right? Eh, not so much. Sorry to burst your amniotic sac but the hardest part inevitably comes AFTER pregnancy!
Your hormones are up and down like a roller coaster, your body is all kinds of stitched up and sleep is just a facet of your imagination. No wonder why postpartum depression is so common!
After having two babies in under a year and a half, I have learned a few things I wanted to share with you that will hopefully help make postpartum a little less burdensome so you will be able to feel yourself once again!
1. Have Reasonable Expectations
Right when that baby comes out, you will be thankful your body is yours again. Nine months is a long time and your body goes through a TON of changes during that time. It will take time to get your body back again. Don’t expect it to happen right away.
If you’re of the lucky few, it may take just a few months. The rest of us will need at least a year. Heck, some of us will never get it back! But that’s okay! Accept it. Embrace it! It is a small price to pay for bringing someone so precious into this world. So my tip is to just be reasonable when it comes to your expectations.
2. Move Your Tush!
As SOON as you feel up to it, get your butt off the couch and commit to a workout routine! Anything that gets you sweating. It will help you feel so much better not only physically but mentally. I’m not saying you need to go register for the Boston marathon. Think baby steps! (HA, get it?) Just get outside and start walking! Work up to a run. If you’re not a runner, then get some weights.
Grab your earbuds and create a playlist you can listen to. Better yet, listen to a motivational or even educational podcast! Before you know it, you will have walked 3 miles AND learned a lot! Talk about killing birds.
3. Plan Your Meals In Advance
Let’s face it. Food prep is tough. It takes SO much time and preparation. After cleaning 78 bottles and changing 63 diapers, the last thing you’ll want to do is pull out your cutting board.
The key to prepping successfully is having a few no-fail recipes in your back pocket that are versatile and allow you to use a few of the same ingredients. This way, you won’t have to stress about time…or money! Stress, after all, is something we definitely want to avoid postpartum.
It is important to make sure you have all of the ingredients you need for these no-fail recipes on hand. I like to hit the grocery store every 2 weeks at the max. This way, my fresh produce won’t go bad.
Just make your list before you do your shopping so you don’t forget anything. If you don’t feel like it or can’t find the time, get your groceries delivered! I did this the week I got home from the hospital. It is usually free if you spend over a certain amount.
Once you have all of your ingredients, get your chopping done right away and divide everything up, according to meals, in either plastic bags or Tupperware containers. This saves so much time when you’re ready to cook!
Don’t know where to start? Items I always make sure to add to my cart are:
- Chicken thighs
- Fresh herbs,
- and of course, some colorful veggies.
There are so many different meals you can prepare using just these few ingredients. If you need deliciously easy recipes, just email me!
4. Pick up a new hobby or interest.
I think we all agree that when we experience something new and exciting, we naturally feel better. Find anything that draws you away from the monotony of motherhood. Doing so will also give you something to look forward to each day while allowing you to exercise other parts of your brain.
Some ideas could be painting, writing, organizing, scrapbooking, yoga, knitting, meditation, cooking, baking, reading, or even coloring! Yes, coloring. (They have adult stress-free coloring books which are amazing!) The point is, do something new that you actually look forward to doing and want to continue to learn. This way, you won’t give up or get bored of it.
Related: 42 Self-Care Ideas For Moms That Feel Frazzled
5. Take Advantage of Help!
Going out with your significant other or friends is something that needs to be done for your own sanity even though you will not want to.
I know when my first son was born, my husband and I did not go out because we did not want anyone watching him. This was because we did not trust anyone with him. I mean, it’s your baby and only you know him/her best right?
When you hand your baby over to someone else, even if it’s your parents, you’re going to have your doubts or should I say fears. You will feel sad and you will want to cry but it needs to happen…eventually. Even if it’s just for an hour, start to get yourself use to it!
If neither of your parents are around, start asking friends and coworkers if they have any babysitter recommendations. Or go on care.com to search for a qualified, experienced sitter. Whatever you need to do, plan ahead so you are prepared when the day or night comes.
6. Put Down The Phone!
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding is a tedious task that at first, happens round-the-clock! So when your sitting on the couch for what may seem like hours breastfeeding or pumping, you’ll be tempted to pick up your phone.
While I am an avid social media follower, it is not something that ever made me feel better. If you do not have social media, good for you! It is filled with a lot of false realities and is tough to swallow for anyone on a normal basis let alone a tired mama who just had their body handed back to them! Doing so will only lead to feelings of jealousy or depression.
If you just can’t live without it, limit your time to 10 minutes a day. You will not miss it. A better option is downloading the Kindle app on your phone or tablet. Then pick a movie or book you can watch/read to help pass time.
7. Plan Some Guilt Free ‘Me’ Time
I saved this for last because it is definitely the most important thing on this list! If you used to paint your toenails every Friday night while binge-watching Real Housewives then start doing it again!
Ask your significant other for at least an hour to spend by yourself a day. Yes, each DAY.
If you used to enjoy going to Starbucks to sip on coffee and get lost in Pinterest, do it! This is a great opportunity for tip #5! Better yet, if you can afford it, schedule yourself an appointment at a local spa once a month to either get a manicure/pedicure, hair color, massage or facial. Being by yourself will allow you to de-stress and re-energize!
If you feel guilty about spending time by yourself, stop it! Let the guilt go!! There’s enough of that being thrown around in the mommy world as it is. Understand that you will not be able to be the best momma to your children if you do not personally feel yourself. So do it for your children and don’t think twice about it! You deserve it!
Aleka lives in New Jersey with her husband, Derek, and two lil’ dudes, Calvin and Lucas. She is a full-time math teacher who enjoys blogging in her spare time. Bite Sized Kitchen is where she creates fun and easy bite-sized recipes you’ll only need your fingers for. Aleka believes the best memories are made in the kitchen around food, family and, of course, without utensils!