Wondering how to feel like yourself again after having a baby?
Here are some quick tips on how to feel like yourself again postpartum — even in the midst of sleepless nights and crying fits. (Both yours and the baby’s.)
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When You Lose Yourself In Motherhood
How to feel like yourself again postpartum — It’s something I struggled to figure out for a long time.
I remember the first day my spouse and I brought our baby boy home. Being first-time parents, we were kind of in shock and not sure how to go on with our daily lives. Everything was so different!
Personally, I had about a million thoughts running through my head. I had just as many conflicting and confusing emotions, too. Of course I was overwhelmed with joy, but I was also full of fear.
Well, that and complete exhaustion. Just the thought of doing something as simple as brushing my hair or heck, even my teeth felt overwhelming.
It was all I could do to get up and pee before the baby woke up again or to get a quick meal in. (Thank god for peanut butter and bread…and sometimes just the peanut butter ‘cause new parents sometimes forget to grocery shop. Oops).
I felt like I had lost every bit of my mojo, to say the least!
Good news! I got it back! (Most days.)
Does this sound like you, too?
If you are feeling like you are in the deep despairs of the postpartum period and the lack of sleep and constant pressure is at its worst, keep reading!
I know it feels like your motivation, your energy, and your own identity is gone forever…
But I promise you that it’s not!
Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable because we are going to hash out the details on getting your mojo back, Momma!
How to Feel Like Yourself Again Postpartum
Well, for starters — stop putting so much stress on yourself! I know it’s way too easy to do, but nobody really feels like their best self when they’re constantly stressed, do they?
Take that energy and put it to good use.
How do you reduce stress so that you can feel more like yourself again, though?
Keep It Simple
You have probably already figured this out, but life will never be the same, and that includes the everyday things like cleaning and cooking and even eating.
Obviously babies need constant care and attention, but you may be surprised by just how (dare I say it…) inconvenient that becomes.
They are 100% worth it, but honestly…
Gone are the days of tackling your entire to-do list in a day and all at once, and having time (and energy) to spare.
From here on out, you are going to just have to keep things simple. This includes the cleaning, cooking, self-care — you name it.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect or get everything done.
Wash a couple of dishes when the baby lets you put her down, then get some clothes in the washer while she’s in the carrier, and make meals ahead of time or opt for simple and ready to go snacks so you never have an excuse to not eat.
Learn To Adapt
I know life is so different, and it’s weird, and it’s incredibly stressful.
If your postpartum feelings are anything like mine were, you’re feeling very vulnerable and lonely, even if you have tons of support and visitors.
Maybe you’re even scared.
You’re probably really confused, too.
How in the world are you supposed to take care of a brand new baby, while trying to take care of everything else, work, sleep, not go insane, and still feel like a person?
For starters, you simply learn to adapt and go with the flow.
Don’t expect life or your baby to revolve around a schedule, and try to not get upset when things don’t go as planned.
If I had just been more understanding and patient during this really difficult time in my life — or even knew what to expect — I really do think I would’ve “bounced back” and felt like myself again much, much sooner.
Instead, I was constantly stressed, anxious, trying to force a perfect plan, and always trying to change something.
I should’ve just learned to adapt to my new life and embrace it, instead of thinking about the ways it was different and everything I missed. (Like sleep.)
So, be sure to keep your expectations realistic. Adapting to this new life is tough, but it is possible to feel like yourself again postpartum.
Invest In Yourself
This can be financially, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
Or heck, even by taking five minutes to eat a candy bar on the couch while crying and watching TV.
Contrary to popular belief, life with a baby is not all snuggles and naps. It isn’t binging on Netflix shows and doing nothing all day while we bask in the help of others. (Well, not for most people anyway.)
I mean, if that’s the case for you — awesome! Enjoy it. 😉
Newborns are seriously hard work.
Sometimes as we take care of someone else so selflessly, we need a reminder to care for ourselves, too.
By investing in myself during the postpartum phase, I grew as a person and not just as a Mom.
But it’s not just about putting on makeup and getting dressed. It’s about finding ways to connect with your creative self and working towards your goals and aspirations.
I did this by researching blogging and work from home careers. Then I figured out how I could incorporate these things into my everyday life as a stay at home Mom.
Finding something for yourself to invest in such as a career or a hobby can bring back a sense of control and independence.
It allows you to feel like your own person again so your own identity doesn’t slowly wither away into nothing.
Doing so may seem selfish, but remember something, okay?
You can’t fill from an empty cup.
Investing in yourself isn’t an excuse to not be an amazing mother or a way to do what you want and when you want.
It’s a means to fill your cup up so that you have even more to give to those who need you. It’s also a way to show love and attention to yourself. You need you, too. Okay?
Take Care of Your Health and Body
You’ve probably heard this one before, haven’t you?
Well, it’s a cliche because it’s true!
If you’re struggling to feel like yourself again postpartum, I strongly urge you to make sure you’re taking care of your health and body as a whole.
I know it’s really hard to get up and do something when you just had your baby and all you want to do is stuff more donuts and Doritos in your mouth. But seriously — stop.
As soon as your doctor gives you the okay, get off your butt and go for a walk. Get to that grocery store and load up on veggies and fruit and make yourself some delicious smoothies, salads, snacks, and badass meals.
Good food and exercise is vital for good moods and a healthy, happy Mom.
You don’t have to go crazy and turn into a health food nut. Just include more good-mood-boosting foods like;
- oranges, bell peppers, and broccoli (Vitamin C)
- carrots, spinach, and bananas (Vitamin B6)
- chia seeds, flax seeds, and wild salmon (Omega-3 Fats)
- seeds, nuts, and whole grains (Zinc)
- legumes, tofu, and leafy greens (Magnesium)
- avocado, oranges, asparagus (Folate)
- Brazil nuts, wild yellowfin tuna, and mushrooms (Selenium)
and lucky for people like me who LOVE to cook and EAT — many more.
(Read this article by FoodRevolution.org for more ideas and information!)
We all know sunshine is good for us and makes everything a bit brighter (literally) but actually getting outside and doing something (anything, really) — well that’s a different story.
There are so many ways to get outside and reap the benefits of the sunshine (hello, vitamin D).
Go for a walk, sit in your yard or on your porch with a book, plant flowers, start a new hobby like nature photography, or even go for a drive around town.
Trust me, fresh air and sunshine can make you feel like a completely new person. It makes you feel energized and alive. Take advantage of the nice weather when it comes your way!
At the very least, open the blinds and crack open the doors and windows.
Didn’t get much time outside while the sun was up? Go out at night to get some fresh air, anyway. Take some time to slow down and enjoy the night sky and crisp air.
Communicate Your Needs
This is my worst and least favorite area, but a necessary thing to master; communicate your needs.
How is anyone supposed to know what you need if you don’t tell them?
And no — they shouldn’t (and won’t) be able to figure it out by the passive aggressive articles from other angry Mom bloggers that you post to Facebook.
(I’m not dissing them, as I just so happen to enjoy such articles time to time. I don’t feel quite so alone in this Motherhood journey, and it’s nice to hear someone else understands what I’m going through. I’m simply warning you from experience that a lack of communication and passive agressive hints will likely get you nowhere.)
If you suck at confrontation and communication like I do, start small.
Begin by asking for simple things from your partner (like unloading the dishwasher) or asking your parents to pick up some groceries for you when they’re in town.
No matter what, try to remember that understanding and patience can go a long way — for you and everyone else. Other people are trying to adjust to this new way of life, too!
And don’t forget; it takes a village, Momma. It’s okay to ask for help!
Do Something Creative
I can hear you saying; “But Courtney, I’m just not a creative person! I’m not good at art or sewing or anything.”
You’re not doing it to sell or win an award! Shoot — you don’t even have to show anybody. Keep it to yourself, show your friend or your kid, or show the world. Just do something creative every day to keep your mind busy.
It can be as simple as:
- Coloring (yes it’s for adults too!)
- Crafts (Here’s some ideas)
- Writing (Poems, about your day, a fiction novel, etc.)
- Playing an instrument (Music is very therapeutic)
- Messing around with Canva or Photoshop
and whatever else your heart desires.
Learning something new and being creative can have positive effects on your mood, self-esteem, and overall health. Don’t believe me? Read this article by Entrepreneur, and this one, too from Healthy Place.
Dress Like You’re Going Somewhere
Somehow I always forget this one, but it seems to help the most. Being a stay-at-home-mom is awesome for many reasons. One of those reasons being I get to stay in my pajamas all day and avoid looking “presentable” if I don’t feel like it.
But like everything else, it’s true that there can be too much of a good thing.
As time went on, I seemed to never change out of my sweats or pajamas. My lovely significant other likes to chuckle when I shower to just make an appearance in another pair of pajamas.
But it really is easier to “let yourself go” during pregnancy and postpartum. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that in terms of recovering from childbirth or preparing for it; however, I do think it can eventually lead to feelings of unproductivity, low self-esteem, less confidence, and overall just feeling kind of lazy.
People are designed to move and do things. To get out and about and to live.
And while I absolutely love being a stay at home mom and sporting a solid look of “hot mess express” from time to time, I also love feeling pretty and ready to start the day. For some reason sweats and pajamas and a weeks worth of unbrushed hair just don’t scream “ready to kickass!” quite like a pair of jeans, comfortable shoes, and a classic (and tangle-free) ponytail does.
So, take it from me you beautiful, messy-bun wearing, caffeine-seeking, sleep-deprived, heck-of-a-hot-mess-express Momma — get dressed like you’re going somewhere (even if you’re staying home all day).
Put on some makeup (if that’s your thing), and get dressed.
Now, go conquer your to-do list because nothing screams “ready to accomplish my goals” like actually dressing for the part.
I guarantee you that you will instantly feel more productive and more like yourself again!
Just Take A Shower
It’s the simple things, right? And it almost sounds too simple. But you’d be surprised just how easy it is to forget to do something like taking a shower, or how quickly you run out of time to do so.
However, if you get the chance to get in a shower, even if it’s for five minutes — definitely do it!
Maybe it sounds silly, but it’s one of the simplest ways to feel like yourself again postpartum.
I can’t tell you how many times I was able to re-energize myself and come out with a much better attitude after a much needed shower. It helps my stress levels tremendously. I don’t know about you, but I feel much more like myself when I am able to decompress and am not as stressed out.
So, have your partner or Mom watch your baby for a few minutes or put the monitor on and sneak away when she’s sleeping in her crib and just go take a shower!
Summing It All Up
Feeling like myself again after having a baby wasn’t as unattainable as I made it out to be in my head when I was struggling with it during the “fourth trimester”.
It isn’t always easy, but reconnecting with yourself can be done. It should be done.
Everyone needs to take care of themselves, including Moms.
Some things that can help to reduce stress and help you feel like yourself again are:
- Keep life simple — everything from your daily routine to your expectations.
- Learn to adapt to your new life — and take time to really enjoy it.
- Invest in yourself — and your dreams.
- Take care of your health — this means eating right and getting some exercise.
- Get outside — sunshine and fresh air is good for everyone and everything.
- Communicate your needs — and be patient with those around you. Their life is changing, too.
- Do something creative — even if you think you suck at it.
- Dress like you’re going somewhere — even if you’re not and just staying home all day.
- Just take a shower — because it’s one of the easiest ways to re-energize and decompress!
When it’s more than a case of losing yourself…
A case of the baby blues is normal, and so is feeling like you need to remember who you were pre-baby.
Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are normal, too. Many women experience them. So Momma, if you are struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of harming your baby — please reach out to your doctor asap!
You are a badass. You can get through this.
What are your favorite ways to reduce stress and feel like yourself again after having a baby?
Share with other Moms in the comments below!