Coming up for air: how to get fit and eat well as a new parent
We know it’s hard. We’ve been there: the sleepless nights, the moments of realisation that you just don’t know what you’re what you’re doing, and the sinking feeling that you might never get your life back on track.
It’s hard at the beginning, but holding on to little pleasures and your own wellbeing is key. New mummies are gradually feeling the courage to say that looking after themselves is important if they are to look after others. And the same goes for new daddies. Anyone really. The awesome &Breathe knows exactly how to help you do that.
So how do you make time to take care of yourself? Making sure you’re in good shape mentally and physically can take time, and with a new baby time is short. Here are &Breathe’s tips to make your time count.
1) Get moving, and make it short. The endorphins rushing around your body after exercise are second only to the rush from oxytocin, so it’s well worth hauling your bum into leggings for a run or jiggle around, even if it’s only 10 minutes, every other day. Build up time and frequency as your baby gets more predictable and you get fitter and more confident.
2) Get rewarded, make it sweet. Don’t just make time for exercise, but for relaxation too. A mini treatment or massage can do wonders for your headspace.
3) Get childcare. I cannot emphasise this enough. Give yourself a break! If you have help available, ask for it. It’s hard enough getting your arse in gear for a class without having to worry about the next change or feed at the same time.
4) Get motivated. It could be the endorphin rush, it could be reducing the amount you spend on ready meals, it could be increasing your confidence. Goals and motivation are different for everyone. Setting goals is important (see our tips for doing it HERE) but I find short-term motivation is also crucial. Music can make all the difference to your mood, speed and all round enjoyability of your workout. Set yourself up with your favourite tunes to get you rocking, or listen to our faves HERE.
5) Get eating right. As the old saying goes, you can’t run from a bad diet. There’s no point in getting fitter if you can’t keep your hand out of the biscuit tin. &Breathe shares via our mailing list (sign up HERE) new delicious, healthy and quick recipes regularly, and it’s worth following a meal plan and shopping list to make things easy on yourself. Recipe boxes like Hello Fresh can really help if you’re in the very early stages, as it takes all of the thinking out of it.
6) Get talking! If you’re struggling, talk to your partner/mum/friend/HV about it. A problem shared is a problem halved. We find our retreaters so much more confident about taking on the parenting world once they realise there are others going through the same thing and are able to share their tips and stories (good and bad). It gives you back a little control and helps you re-find your identity. Plus even if it’s only 5 minutes squeezed into baby’s naptime, it can make all the difference.
7) Get away from it all. Literally put time in your diary for you. Whether a day or week, dedicated space for you, rather than the needs of a screaming baby (no matter how cute) will refresh and reboot you. Our postnatal fitness and wellbeing retreats are perfect for that with everything, including childcare, on tap. But anywhere can work, as long as it makes you feel good about yourself.
&Breathe Postnatal runs postnatal fitness retreats in France and day retreats and workshops in London. Their next weekend retreat is over Easter 25-28 March 2016 and their next weeklong retreat from 25 June – 2 July 2016. Prices from £950 per family.