New parents have a lot on their plates. When you have made the decision to stay home with your new little one for the first year or so, a lot of people think that is a blessing. You get to stay in your PJs, you get to binge-watch your favourite shows, you get to avoid the bad weather if you have your baby right before the winter.
I will admit, those are big pluses.
On the other hand, when your partner is back at work, or you are doing it alone, staying at home with your baby can be isolating. With the temperature dropping outside, the sky remaining that bleak grey, and they fear of your little one contracting something during the flu season, you are more likely to stay inside.
It’s easy to fall into a routine of nothingness. You wake up, spend most of your day in the same clothes, feeding your baby, entertaining her and changing her. The small naps she takes you tell yourself you will use to get things done, but chances are you use that time to catch up on some of the rest you went without the night before.
Days of the week start to all blend together, and without people coming in and out for visits, they don’t really matter.
It’s really hard to get motivated. I am trying to add working out at home to my daily routine to at least do a little something for myself, but it is hard not to fall into winter weather blues.
My husband is at work typically all day. He has an unusual work schedule so I typically see him for an hour or so in the mornings and then not until after 11:00pm. That means that most of my day is spent with my beautiful daughter and our fur baby, but neither provide me with the stimulating conversation I crave.
With us being a one vehicle family, spur of the moment outings are off the table because my husband typically takes the car to work unless I tell him I would like it for the day, which usually, I have no plans.
So what can you do?
Besides texting out constant SOS messages to anyone who will answer, I think it’s important, even in bad weather (so long as there isn’t a blizzard taking place outside) to go out and get some fresh air each day. For me, it’s easy because I have to go out to walk my dog anyway. I have to kick myself in the butt lately to actually go for long walks as opposed to just taking him out to do his business and retreating back into the warmth of our apartment.
We have the Bugaboo stroller which has the large bicycle tires on the back to make it easy to get out in any weather. If you live somewhere with all four seasons, like me here in Canada, I would definitely invest in a stroller with big, capable tires.
It’s also important to make plans to incorporate different people in your days each week. Seeing the same three faces, although you love your little family, every day can leave you feeling like a bit of a hermit. I try and see my mother, sister, brothers and nephew at least once a week. Usually we do Sunday dinners, but I also try and get together with my sister when I can.
Do something every day just for you.
Don’t set big unattainable goals that will depress you when you don’t complete them. Keep them simple. Maybe something as simple as getting up, putting make-up on and getting dressed every day. The routine can make you feel like your old self.
I have been going without make-up since I started staying home from work in August. Without that routine I had before working in the morning, it is really hard to get myself going. I used to get up, make a cup a coffee (decaf unfortunately) bring that into the bathroom with me while I put make-up on and did my hair for work. Then I would get dressed and be ready to start my day.
Now, as a new mom, that routine is almost impossible to stick to. Your baby wants your love and attention, so spending thirty-minutes in the bathroom by yourself is a no-go.
I’ve changed this routine a little bit to include her. Now, I put some music on and put my daughter in her carrier on my chest. I have her with me in the bathroom as I dance around, wash my face, brush my hair… just make myself look a little less like a sleepless cave-woman and more like myself. I find the music keeps my daughter in a good mood while I do things like pluck my unruly eyebrows or moisturize.
When I leave the bathroom, I feel more refreshed and less like I am a zombie just stumbling through the day.
Despite my lack of appetite in the morning, I still get myself a bowl of cereal and eat it while I breastfeed. It’s like I am not eating alone and makes me feel great.
Normally after breakfast my daughter will doze for a bit. This is the perfect time to put her in her swing while I do a 7 minute workout using my 7 minute women’s workout app on my phone. (I love this app!)
Lately I have been using it just to guide me through stretches and easier workouts. Nothing overly taxing as I can’t necessarily wind down afterwards depending on my daughter’s mood.
Reading this you may be thinking that none of this will work for you. That’s fine, we are all different. The point is, because the weather restricts what you can do outside of your house, it’s important to make your home comforting to you. A place that doesn’t feel like a binding prison but like it’s full of opportunities for you throughout the day.
Maybe it’s reading a book. Maybe it’s taking time to do some journalling. Find what makes you feel good and do it every day to help you keep your winter weather blues at bay.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health, especially as a new parent!