Coping with stress after having a baby
Coping with the demands of a new baby and everything else that's going on around you can be stressful.
You can spend a whole day trying (and failing) to get one job done. Just as you start something, your baby wakes up, a nappy needs changing, or they need a bit of attention.
Sometimes you can feel as though life is completely out of control. If you're the sort of person who likes to be in control and worries about getting things done, this can make you feel very tense and frustrated.
Worry and unhappiness can also cause stress. Maybe you're worried about where you're living, money or relationships.
Or perhaps you're worried about a lot of small things that nevertheless make a big difference to your life. You may not be able to do anything about some of these things, but there are ways you can deal with the stress.
Some of the following suggestions may help:
- Unwind. Spend half an hour each evening doing something you enjoy. This helps you put other things out of your mind and relax. Have a bath, read a magazine, watch TV or do whatever else helps you unwind. Borrow a book, CD or DVD about relaxation from the library. Ignore any housework – it can wait. Make some time for yourself.
- Seeing other people can help relieve stress. Your health visitor or other parents may be able to recommend local mother and baby or mother and toddler groups. If you're not keen on organised groups, get together with people you meet at the clinic, playgroup or nursery school.
- Make time for your partner. Relationships can suffer when you're tense, tired and don't spend much time together. Make time to be with your partner, even if all you manage to do is fall asleep together in front of the TV.
- Express yourself. Talking about how you're feeling can help, at least for a while. You and your partner need to understand how each other is feeling and work out how you can support each other. Sometimes it's better to talk to someone outside the family.
- Accept help. Make the most of all the help you can get. You can't do everything yourself, so there's no point in trying.
- Relax – there are no prizes for being a supermum or superdad. It can be difficult if you're a perfectionist, but being a parent is the one thing that nobody is perfect at.