Before you had kids, your self-care routine may have taken many forms. It could have been as involved as a night out with friends or an afternoon at the spa. It could have been a daily early morning run or an evening yoga class. It could have been video games until late at night or an early stop at your favorite bakery on the way to work. Happy hour. Book club. Movie night.
But now you’re a new parent. And extra time, and perhaps extra money, isn’t a luxury you currently have. You’ve got someone who depends on you 24/7. And in the rare moment they’re content/asleep/occupied, you’ve got more than a handful of “other important” things to do.
So how do you do self-care when all you have is a moment?
First, let me mention that self-care is an important piece of any wellbeing journey. Self-care helps improve focus and attention. It reduces stress and helps prevent burnout. It’s not just for the work day - new parents can benefit from self-care too.
But about that lack of time - you can barely use the bathroom without interruption. How are you supposed to find time to care for your emotional and mental health?
Can you find happy, snapshot moments in your day - those short bursts where for just a moment you pause, take a full breath, and get ready to re-engage with the world? It might be first thing in the morning, while drinking your coffee and making your to-do list. It might be as you step out your front door on your way out. It might be that 3 second break you get when you go to use the bathroom.
Wherever it is, find it and intentionally experience it. Take one or two breaths and allow your body to feel fully how wonderful it is to breathe. Allow the air going in to fill you up with patience, stability and resilience. And allow the air going out to carry away the stress, frustration and discontent.
Start small. Your “me time” will come back eventually. And until then, find your snapshot moments. Seek them out. Savor them. These mini acts of self-care will help get you through.
And if you’re struggling beyond the sort of “normal” new parent exhaustion and emotional rollercoaster, there is nothing like a good postpartum doula and a good therapist to help lighten the load.