This is the time of year when we can’t help but think about “New Year’s resolutions”. Suggestions are everywhere; organize your closets, simplify your life, get fit, lose that weight, read these books! And some of these might be things you actually want to do! But if you are parenting, especially if you have a newborn, there is tremendous pressure all the time to do it right and do it all. Real life isn’t quite like that, though. If you are learning how to care for your new baby, sleep deprived, or parenting a baby and toddler it can feel like a lot just to get your teeth brushed. The responsibilities, time it takes, and emotions are huge. And that means you need to care for yourself too. If a week on a beach in Hawaii isn’t looking like your future, here are a few suggestions that might work.
Make your 5 minute list (or 2 minutes, or 10)
What really feeds you? Do you need time alone, time outside, time connecting with friends? See if you can make a list of things that are simple to do in a few minutes that can recharge you even briefly, like step outside and breathe fresh air, pet the cat, make a cup of tea, do one yoga stretch, text a friend, watch a funny YouTube video, read two pages in a good book? Then when you are finally able to put a sleeping baby down, or your baby fell asleep on you, look at your list and do one thing. The dishes can wait this time.
Stockpile healthy snacks
Meals might not always work. What can you keep in your house and ask friends to provide that can feed your body quickly throughout the day? Think unprocessed whole foods like fruit, humus and veggies, cheese, yogurt, soup (that a friend made), whole grain toast, nuts, leftover meat or tofu from dinner. Yes, some of these need some prep, so have a list that friends can help with when they stop in or you can do as you clean up from a meal.
No, not on a treadmill. Just take a walk, lie down and stretch, dance with your baby and toddler, do two yoga poses, breath some rainy fresh air. Exercise makes us feel good and grounds us in our amazing, sacred bodies, no matter how different they might feel right now. Finding things you can do with your baby or children make it more possible.
Find one centering practice
Is there one thing you can do most days that will make you feel present and connected? Here are some ideas: take 10 slow centering breaths, read a poem, write 10 words in a journal, name three things your grateful for, say a prayer, offer yourself words of loving kindness, feel your feet on the floor and bring yourself back to the present, step outside and watch the sky.
We can only care for others when we care for ourselves. If you are a parent, the you are amazing! The world needs a lot of kindness right now, and finding some for yourself is a great way to welcome in the new year.