Sometimes 5 minutes at a time is all new mothers can find in their busy days. When the baby is sleepy or older kids are briefly entertained. These can be thought of as “mini vacations” that you can return from more relaxed and ready to take care of the tasks you have committed to.
- Focus on you breath. Breathe in and feel how cool and dry the air is as compared to warmer moister air as you exhale. Breathe deeply filling your lungs from the bottom up. Let your abdomen move as you breathe. As you breathe in, say silently “re” and as you exhale “lax”. Say silently to yourself “re-lax” as you breathe deeply.
- Sit quietly and comfortably and close your eyes. After taking 5 deep cleansing breaths, bring your attention to noises, smells and feelings around you. What can you hear, smell and feel? Pay attention to detail, subtle sensory stimuli and what you might not usually notice, when your mind wonders, gently bring it back to something you hear, smell or feel.
- Spend 5 minutes, just noticing without judgement. If you notice undone housework, clothes on the floor, your fatigue, just notice that it is so. Do not use “should”, “would”, “could”, “ought” or any other derogatory statements about yourself or others. Detach yourself from the emotional judgement about your environment and those around you. Begin bringing this perspective into the rest of your day.
- Walk outdoors. Notice how nature works effortlessly, without worry or anxiety. Notice the colors, movement, and temperature, breathe in the fresh air. Exhale completely. Be fully present. Watering, gardening, watching clouds, playing with pets or just watching leaves blow in the breeze creates tranquility.
- Spend 5 minutes each night writing down things that you accomplished, giving yourself credit. These may be “small” in comparison to “life before the baby”, but now take effort, focus and forethought. Give yourself credit for healthy food you’ve eaten, quality time you spent with your baby and other family members, and relaxation time you have taken out during your day.
- Have a lovely fragrant lotion (the more “decadent” the better) to give yourself a 5 minute hand or foot massage, feel the softness, smell the fragrance, bring your attention to the muscles relaxing as you massage the lotion into your skin.
- When driving, listen to positive self-confidence building tapes or CD’s. Feed yourself emotionally by what you listen to. Avoid angry and hostile talk shows or personal acquaintances. Notice if what you are listening to builds you up or tears you or someone else down. Surround yourself with positive growing people who encourage you.
Dr. Lois Nightingale, author of “A Quiet Time for New Mothers, Ways To Relax and Rejuvenate” 1999 ISBN #1-889755-28-1 and “Overcoming Postpartum Depression, A Doctor’s Own Story” 1998 ISBN # 1-889755-25-7