Becoming parents can be one of the most exciting and joyful experiences of your life, but it can also be stressful. This new role may feel quite intimidating to some, and the challenges could lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
When you are continuously handling a range of new responsibilities, such as nappy changes and managing sleep and feeding schedules - parenting can seem daunting. Similarly, stress and anxiety are normal reactions to new parenthood, but new parents must find ways to manage these feelings.
Managing stress and anxiety is critical so that you can enjoy the experience of having a new little life in your home without feeling overwhelmed.
Here are a few tips for managing stress and anxiety as new parents.
Prioritise your self-care.
Self-care is essential to managing stress and anxiety. New parents should make time for themselves, whether it is by taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk, or just taking a nap. It is necessary to take care of yourself to be the best parent possible. Regularly switching roles to manage the baby while one partner takes a quick nap or finishes a chore massively helps.
Be patient with your partner.
Postpartum depression is one of the most common and severe conditions that can affect new mothers after giving birth. It is characterised by sadness, anxiety, exhaustion, and a lack of interest in the baby or daily activities. To care for someone with postpartum depression, the partner and the family members need to be understanding, patient, and supportive.
They can help by doing household chores, assisting with the baby, encouraging the new mum to get out of the house and do things they enjoy, and encouraging them to seek professional help if needed. One can also be there by providing emotional support and comfort by simply listening, giving affection, and being a shoulder to lean on.
Reach out for help.
New parents should not be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is asking friends and family for assistance or seeking support from a professional - getting help can make a big difference in managing stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. It involves focusing on the present moment and not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. This can be achieved through meditation, yoga, or by doing breathwork.
Set realistic expectations.
New parents often have lofty expectations for themselves and their abilities as parents, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. It is also important to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and it is okay to ask for help.
Try to get some sleep when you can.
Lack of sleep is a contributor to stress and anxiety in new parents. One must get as much rest and breaks as possible when required. Try to get some sleep while the baby sleeps. It may sound unrealistic, but managing your sleep is just as important as managing your infant's sleep schedule.
If necessary, be open to hiring a babysitter or asking a family member to help with night-time feedings. Your family and friends will be happy to support you whenever and wherever possible - ask them.
Communication is key.
Always be open to communication with your partner about how you feel, what triggers your anxiety, what makes you sad, and what makes you cranky. Speak to one another and know that you are doing your best for the baby.
Some couples may get so busy with the baby and parenting that they forget they are partners first and parents later. Having a healthy relationship and open communication makes it a better environment for the little one to grow up in.
You are not alone.
Joining a support group or connecting with other new parents can be incredibly helpful. Talking to others who are going through similar experiences can provide a sense of comfort and help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Hacks, tips, and experience-sharing can also help new parents get around things they otherwise wouldn't have known.
Practice positive self-talk.
New parents often have negative thoughts and feelings about themselves and their abilities as parents. It's important to practise positive self-talk and remind oneself that everyone makes mistakes and that it is okay. Always remember that you are doing your best for yourself and your child. This is an experience. You will make mistakes and learn as you go.
Managing stress and anxiety as new parents can be a challenge. However, you must find ways to cope and seek support when needed. While both parents are bound to be tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed, it is necessary to support new mums and be patient with them. She may get emotional, cranky and anxious. Although, please remember she has just given birth, and their bodies need healing too!
For new parents, communication and openness are essential, as is being unsure. One should remember that there are many ways to reduce stress and anxiety in new parents. One can try self-care, reach out for help, practise mindfulness, connect with others or do things that make you happy. At the end of the day, parenting is a beautiful experience, and it is okay to not know everything. It is a journey with your partner and your baby, which you will eventually figure out.