Honor has just turned 6 months old (wow!), so I’d say we’re finally in the swing of being parents. While we still learn new things everyday, we definitely feel like we’re in a routine that works for our little family. Now I can barely remember what life felt like before her! That being said, I’m also finally starting to feel like my old self again, in more ways than one. Not only do I feel like my body is starting to respond to my healthy eating and workouts, but mentally I’m enjoying being back at work, going on short work trips and events, seeing friends, and generally just using my brain again! As I’m sure most mums can relate, those first few months can be a tired, messy blur.
I never realized before having Honor how many mums were following me – it’s been so great to read all your sweet messages and comments! However, one thing I noticed was that I was getting a lot of questions about how to get your confidence back after having a baby. It seems like so many mums out there struggle to feel like their old selves for a long time after their baby is born, whether it’s about their body, performance at work, or even stresses on their relationships. So today, I wanted to share with you guys some of the ways that I got my self esteem back after having Honor (don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days – and it’s normal!), in the hopes that they will help some of you too.
I’m so lucky to have had Mackenzie, our friends and family to help me out while I was pregnant and since Honor’s arrival. I can’t stress enough how important having a proper support system is, in order to be able to put some of the focus back on yourself after the baby arrives. In order to have the time, energy, and even mental capacity to do something for myself (like a workout, a mani/pedi, or even grabbing lunch with a friend), I really needed to lean on others to make it possible. I’ve said this several times on my blog and it’s true – don’t be afraid to ask for favors from your loved ones, whether it’s watching the baby for a quick outing, helping to do the laundry, running an errand, etc. If you don’t have many people near you that can help out, try connecting with other mums on apps like Peanut – just having someone to talk to you that you can relate to relieves so much of the mental strain that we all go through, giving you more energy to handle your day.
The idea of ‘self care’ is something that I’ve seen floating around on Instagram quotes a lot lately, and I’m glad that this concept is getting some attention. As mums, we often put ourselves last, which over time can lead us to feeling like we’ve lost a bit of our identity. Sometimes when you’ve been rushing around all day, dealing with a fussy baby, running on very little sleep – the last thing that comes to mind is pampering ourselves. More than likely, we just want to faceplant into our beds! However, making time to run yourself a bath and slap on a facemask, make a fresh smoothie, get a haircut, meditate for 20 minutes (ok, so maybe it’s just 4 minutes – but it still counts!), or anything else that makes you feel refreshed, will pay off for both you and your family. It reminds us that we do matter, and gives us little moments in our day that are just for us.
Health & Wellness
You can’t feel good about yourself overall if you don’t feel good physically. That doesn’t just mean feeling like you have a killer bod. If you feel unhealthy (lethargic, achey, digestion problems etc), you can’t be the best mum you can be, let alone the best version of yourself. If you’re feeling this way, it might be time to rethink your health routine. Before partaking on any new eating or fitness challenge, visit the doctor first and get a check up. Sign up for a workout class that gets you going (but make sure you check with the instructor that you’re ok to do the moves post-partum), or even join a community of other mums online (I recently joined the Tone It Up community – check them out here!). If you simply can’t find the time to make or shop for healthy food, consider a food delivery service (like Thrive Market or Blue Apron). You can get tons of healthy options delivered right to your door, and many of the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. Consider looking into the right vitamins and supplements that you might be lacking. You’ll feel like a whole new person after a few weeks of focusing on your health again. And if you just can’t find the time to work out, try simple stretching instead. It’s great for relieving aches and pains, it enhances coordination, and even decreases stress (again, talk to your doctor first, but once you get the green light there are so many videos online to guide you). Combined with easy meditative breathing techniques, these two things are enough to get you going before you find time hit the gym again.
Most mums don’t have the time or the funds to get a full blown makeover, but when in doubt – a fresh haircut or a new dress will always perk up the spirits. If you’re feeling a bit blah about yourself, it might be time to switch things up a bit. In the fashion department, go for a color or seasonal trend you might have never tried before, or buy a new pair of jeans (even if you haven’t lost your ‘baby weight’ yet, a new pair of well fitted jeans will make you feel sexy at any size). When it comes to beauty, find a celebrity with a new haircut that you like and try it out. Get your eyebrows done, try a new foundation at Sephora, or even splurge on a facial. The point is that making little changes can have a huge impact on your self esteem.
Exercise Your Brain
It probably sounds like the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day, but exercising your brain can be a huge step towards feeling like yourself again. Read your favorite kind of books, listen to a podcast, or even stay up on the news. The best part? All these things can be done while you’re nursing baby! Better yet, read things that you enjoy to your baby. My friend told me she reads the New York Times out to her baby while breast feeding – because it’s good for babies (even newborns) to hear different words – and is proven to help them develop speech quicker. At the same time, it helped her feel like she was back in the game – knowing what’s going on out there in the world, and using her brain again.
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