Life is busy for new parents. Supporting a new life in the world often comes at the expense of, well... everything else. It's easy to become so focused on the tiny bundle of wonder in our arms that self-care starts to feel like an unnecessary luxury.
But it shouldn't be. Taking time for yourself isn't selfish; on the contrary, it's crucial for being a good parent. After all, you can't fully give to others when you yourself are drained. Here are some blissfully easy ways to make time for yourself as a new parent:
Like so much in life, the trick to successful self-care is starting small. Avoid being overly ambitious, which could result in frustration and disappointment if things fall through. There are 1,440 minutes in a day—start by taking 10 of them for yourself.
While your baby is taking her morning or afternoon nap (or after you've put her to bed) treat yourself to some tech-free self-care. Here are five simple, 10-minute ideas to get you started:
Think about a hobby or activity that really energizes you. It could be as simple as going for a run or bike ride, as stimulating as a book club or language class, or as fun as having brunch with your college buddies.
Make that self-care, no-kids act part of your weekly routine, and honor it as consistently as you're able.
We get it: It's hard to justify spending extra time in the shower when you're faced with more pressing issues, like washing baby's clothes or getting dinner on the table. But taking the time to unwind and relax in soapy solitude will rejuvenate you, both physically and mentally.
Keep the shower stocked with your favorite toiletries, like natural shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, to make it feel like your own personal spa. Light a candle and reserve your fluffiest towels for yourself. Twice a week, take time to exfoliate—keep a make-ahead batch of DIY exfoliator in the fridge so you have it handy. Follow up with an absorbent, organic lotion.
There's a reason the ancient saying "It takes a village to raise a child" still rings true today: Raising a child is pretty much impossible to do alone.
Maybe you need to leave your little one with the grandparents while you book a spa day. Or you and your partner might schedule play dates with your fellow parent friends, so you can both have regular date nights. Ask your partner to take the kids for a walk, so you can have 20 minutes of guilt-free alone time. Or hire a sitter so you can go for a round of golf.
Take due advantage of your own "village" so you can recharge.
You might not have the time or flexibility to pursue every hobby you'd like, but you can still take up new ones at home.
Maybe you always wanted to learn Italian, or want to brush up on your high school French. Now's your chance: Use an app like Duolingo to study a new language from the comfort of your couch.
Or pick up a new instrument—not only will it give you street cred, it's also ridiculously good for your brain. Coloring books for adults are also great ways to relieve stress while hanging out at home.
When you're exhausted, it's easy to sit back on the couch and catch up on your favorite shows or plug into social media. But all too quickly, one episode becomes three, and scrolling through Instagram leads to unrealistic comparisons between our own lives and friends who seem to "have it all."
Rather than succumb to screen time during your free time, prioritize your favorite at-home activities. Draw a bubble bath, call your sibling to catch up, or test out a new recipe you've been meaning to try.
Being realistic, but adamant, about how much "me time" you're able to squeeze in is key. Even the smallest act of self-care will likely leave you feeling recharged, reconnected, and more present with your family.