As new parents, there is this feeling of constant momentum inherent in taking care of a baby. A feeling of always having to do something: to prepare something, to do research on something, and of course to clean up something! This article for parents is helpful in reminding us all to re-charge. We get so used to going and going, it is often very hard to find discipline in letting ourselves rest and decompress. Somehow we get addicted to this feeling of constantly moving and we feel we are being more productive if we keep up this momentum but it is not the case. This last part is true for many people, not only new parents.
So, what can we do? First make a choice to not run in that impossible race that does not exist. Remember there is always going to be something else to do. The house may not look close to perfect for a while and even if it does it will only last a day! Make a conscious effort to force oneself to do nothing and to rest at times or reconnect to something that rejuvenates you. Your vitality and good mood are equally and probably more important to the health and well being of your little bean than most of the “Tasks” we need to do. Burnout is not something that benefits anyone at any time especially not as a new parent. Please use this article for parents as a reminder. There is of course true postpartum depression which is not what I’m speaking about. If there are symptoms of depression seek professional help immediately.
We can start by giving ourselves permission to be still! To consciously recharge our batteries. It may be helpful to make a list of things that help with the recharging process. Examples can be a bath, meditation, a pilates/yoga c.d., and reading a book. Think of an activity that helped pre-baby. There are activities that can discharge our energy for example, watching a lot of t.v. etc. A favorite t.v. show is one thing but constant numbing in front of it can be very draining.
I began looking at my catalog for massage therapy tools and I saw an eye pillow and it reminded me that it has been over a year since I had used my eye pillow. It had completely fallen out of my routine. If something so simple can bring me such relief-why not take 10-15 minutes while my baby is napping and enjoy it?
Learning to get off the constant motion of the mind is a daily and hourly practice. Making the choice to stay well-balanced rather than being a victim to our monkey minds-swinging from thought to thought is the shift we need to slow down. We will be more effective in our other endeavors and the moments with our kids. It seems like such obvious advice doesn’t it? The pattern of momentum of getting things done is a powerful pattern to overcome however.
Tuning into the body, mind, and emotions really is a lifelong practice and something that is so often overlooked in our society. We are constantly trying to “keep up” and seemingly running in that race that is impossible to win. Once I heard the Dalai Llama say, “The better you take care of yourself, the better you will take care of others.” This quote always stayed with me and helped me as a health care professional. I often told this quote to mother-clients during treatments. They always appreciated it and it seems to resonate on a deep human level for us all. There are feelings of guilt inherent in being a mom (parent). I begin to understand my grandparents and parents much better now. We really need remember to take the time we need to rejuvenate our bodies and minds.
I write this to remind myself not because I am so good at it, but because we all need reminders. Having worked for over ten years with clients and seeing the results of constant stress, I do have an awareness of the importance of slowing down and resting or pausing to re-connect. Many people go and go until they basically collapse into sleep or dull themselves with tv etc. This is about taking conscious time to be still to recharge and why I felt it necessary to write this article for parents. For further reading on recharging and re-connecting please see the article, Dynamic Stillness.