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Here are some self-care tips for moms to help you feel your best and make the most of motherhood.

As days and nights blend together and you adjust to life as a new mom, it can be challenging to carve out even a few minutes to focus on self-care. According to a survey of over 2,000 parents, most averaged only 30 minutes of “me time” per day. You probably have even less time if you have a newborn or multiple children. Yet as the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You may find that if you aren’t able to meet your own physical, mental, and emotional needs, it can be more difficult to care for your baby.    

But where do you start and how do you fit it all in? Here are some self-care tips for moms to help you feel your best and make the most of motherhood.  

Make a self-care calendar appointment.

As you juggle the commitments of day-to-day life, you probably rely heavily on your calendar. As a mother, you track your kids’ feedings, diapers, healthcare visits, nap times, and play times, but when do you block off time for yourself? Self-care is not a perk to fit in, but an essential need to prioritize. And if it’s not on the calendar, it probably won’t happen. 

Try to schedule an hour each day (or at least most days of the week) to exercise, cook a favorite meal, read, meditate, or call a friend to make “me” time part of your routine. Ask your partner, family members, or friends to support you in this task by caring for the baby or other children while you take care of yourself. 

Feed your body and mind with healthy fuel.

Your body and mind need energy to accomplish daily tasks. As a parent, you plan what your children will eat but may often forget to plan for yourself. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can fuel you as you run from one activity or task to the next. Knowing that time is often in short supply, buy pre-portioned healthy food packs or pre-portion these foods yourself into plastic bags or storage containers so you can grab and go when you need to.

Fruits and vegetables offer you gut-protective fiber and antioxidants to fight inflammation, while protein-rich snacks (cheese, nuts, yogurt, seeds, etc.) can help you feel fuller for longer and support healthy blood sugar levels. A little bit of meal prep can also help you avoid packaged or processed foods that might be convenient but can make you feel sluggish. There are many recipes for healthy snacks you can make ahead of time. If you’re breastfeeding, getting enough calories is especially important – you generally need about 500 extra calories a day.  

Drink up and often – and make it fun!

If the thought of drinking the standard recommendation of eight, 8-ounces glasses of water a day (up to 13 cups if you’re breastfeeding) makes you cringe, add some pizazz to your beverage selection by infusing water with healthy fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, oranges, lemons, and berries.

Fill your favorite pitcher with fruit, ice, and water and put it in the refrigerator for a refreshing and nutritious drink. Sparkling water and seltzers are also excellent choices and are available in many flavors and varieties. From energy levels to promoting brain, skin, and heart health, hydration is essential for your overall health and wellbeing.  

Be a selfish sleeper.

Leave the guilt over the unchecked to-do list items at the bedroom door and set the stage for quality sleep. Utilize your circle of support to make sure you can rest throughout the day. But what happens when you lay down and you can’t sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, new moms are at risk for insomnia. This can make daily activities of driving and caring for kids difficult, and sometimes even dangerous, if you are not well-rested.

Even if you don’t sleep for long periods of time, try to figure out what can help you maximize your sleep time. Music, scented oils, light-blocking curtains, sleep masks, and weighted blankets may help create a safe and productive sleep space. Weighted blankets, in particular, may be able to help with feelings of restlessness as they provide gentle pressure to the body that can support the release of serotonin. 

When you take the time for self-care, not only are you better able to care for your kids, you are also teaching them the importance of loving and caring for themselves. Healthy self-care habits are a great gift to pass on to your children. 

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