Dr. Carol J. Scott — a highly sought after stress management strategist and author of Optimal Stress: Living In Your Best Stress Free Zone — shares her top de-stress tips for new moms.
Blame It On the Hormones
Most big life changes create anxiety or stress. For nursing moms, there’s the added surge of the hormone oxytocin (the bonding hormone) which normally elevates in all women (and modestly so in men) when we’re stressed. This hormone is what brings out your nurturing side so tap into it while you adjust to being a new mom.
Trust Your Maternal Instincts
They’ll rarely steer you wrong, but if you’re not sure — educate yourself. Seek advice from peers, healthcare professionals or others whom you trust. And recognize that caring for and learning to understand your child is an ongoing experiment. If something you do doesn’t work out the way you anticipated, learn from the experience and try not to let it happen again. Most babies are less fragile than the China doll you played with as a little girl.
Seek Out Emotional and Physical Support
It’s key to reducing stress. Online or offline support groups can be very helpful. Also, pick up the phone and reconnect with girlfriends. And let a trusted relative or friend (especially new dads!) spend a few hours with your little one while you make a run to the store or go to the park to enjoy the fall foliage. And try to avoid feeling guilty. It’s necessary, normal and healthy to be away from your new baby for small periods of time.
Embrace the Stress
If you have a rich and fulfilling life, stress is inevitable. Plus, you’re probably already a pro at identifying your key stressors so you more than anyone know what to avoid to keep your stress level down. Use that knowledge to help you transition into your new role as a mom. And more importantly take it easy so you can enjoy your new baby!