For many new mothers, COVID-19 has drastically impacted their pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Gone are the days of family visits to meet the new baby, and mothers now feel hesitant to leave the house to seek out the supportive care they so desperately need. With the lack of outside support, restricted access to alternative healing methods (acupuncture, massage, etc.), and no help at home, new mothers are feeling more stressed and overwhelmed than ever before. So, now what?
Not to mention that in addition to the added stress of COVID-19, they’re also caring for a new baby. During this time, new mothers are also navigating the typical challenges associated with the postpartum period.
Think about caring for yourself in a new way
Motherhood propels you into an entirely new headspace. Almost instantly, you’re short on time, sleep-deprived, and working to create a schedule around a human who can hardly communicate what they need. Layer in a global pandemic that cuts you off to your traditional self-care methods, and it’s easy to see why moms are struggling.
I’ve found that approaching self-care during Coronavirus is reminiscent of how I approached caring for myself during the early postpartum days: simple, effective, and supportive.
It’s also critical to work on throwing out ideas of how your self-care “should” look right now. Do your best to let go of any past expectations you held around your postpartum time and focus on what’s in your control in our current reality.
Read next: Postpartum Self-Care Tips
Postpartum self-care while in quarantine
I’ve always said that self-care isn’t a long bubble bath or a day at the spa, and when you’re a mom, it’s easy to fantasize about those moments. Trust me, I know! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and many other life circumstances, slipping away to our self-care appointments isn’t an option for most mothers.
So, how can new moms tend to their needs when stuck at home?
1. Assess your most urgent needs
It’s not glamorous, but I believe that addressing and tending to your needs is the foundation on which transformational self-care is built upon.
Take a current inventory of your life. What is it that you require in this moment to help you get back to feeling more calm and centered? Write out a few things if it helps.
Perhaps it’s a nap, some time away from your baby, or a hot bath. Whatever it is, acknowledge your need and work to prioritize them at some point during your day. Make sure that you communicate these needs to your partner and express how critical this time to yourself is for you. Make it explicitly clear how they can help you.
2. Get creative with self-care solutions
When possible, work to find creative ways to care for yourself that might require blocking off time for yourself, communicating with your partner, or even calling on an outside resource for help.
Here are a few self-care ideas that are COVID-19-friendly and can help you feel more grounded and nurtured:
- schedule an at-home massage with Zeel using proper safety precautions ( you can check to see if Zeel is operating in your state here)
- put your phone away for an hour and pick up a good book
- create an at-home self-care retreat using our done-for-you retreat program
- video chat your loved ones at a set time each week
- schedule a virtual therapy session to help work through postpartum feelings and emotions
- head out for a walk or hike in nature with a friend
- eat nourishing meals that support recovery and encourage energy
If you’re up to it (or when your local regulations allow), ease into getting out of the house for supportive treatments such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, or any other healing modality that takes place in a clean and safe environment with little interaction. Concerns about safety? Call ahead and talk to an employee to see what they’re doing to help customers stay healthy during COVID-19. Also, don’t forget to wear your mask and wash your hands regularly!
3. Listen to and re-frame your self-talk
The voice inside of our minds can have a significant impact on our overall happiness. Instead of ignoring that little voice inside of your head, try listening to what it has to say. Get curious about what it’s trying to tell you. Here are a few important things to consider:
- Is the voice usually positive or negative in tone?
- Is the voice helpful or chaotic?
- Is the voice something you listen to or ignore?
If you find that your internal dialogue is typically negative or chaotic, consider how you could re-frame your thoughts to be more helpful. At the same time, don’t ignore the messages that your inner voice is working convey.
Ultimately, seek to find the positives of this time, but don’t bypass the hard and uncomfortable feelings, too. All of your emotions are valid, and you have permission to feel two things – joy and frustration or sadness and gratitude – at once.