Amber Price - Clarity Coach
Mindfulness as a New Parent
Mindfulness as a New Parent
August 20th, 2021
Time is a precious commodity once you embark on your parental journey. The joys and struggles of becoming a new parent may simultaneously include; sleep deprivation and constantly feeling overwhelmed. Although, there is recommended rituals to improve your daily routine as you adjust to your new norm — some of those recommendations may not fit into your challenging schedule.
Practicing mindfulness has an abundance of benefits such as; enhanced sleep, increased productivity, elevated energy levels and reduced stress. If you are left perplexed on how to find time to practice mindfulness when you are already feeling strained, adjusting your mindset is crucial. By transforming your daily experiences into ones that promote wellness, balance and peace, you will find that living mindfully is not a lifestyle to be sacrificed.
Here are 11 ways to practice mindfulness while also parenting:
When practicing breathing techniques, specifically deep breathing, you are receiving plentiful health benefits such as; lower blood pressure, a lower heart rate and an improved mental state. Paying attention to your breathing patterns is an excellent form of practicing mindfulness. Inhale through your nose and then proceed to exhale from your mouth slowly. Try matching your breathing patterns to the ones of your baby by syncing their inhales and exhales to your own. Be aware of what feels right for you and how your body and mind respond to this exercise.
Try recalling a time where you’ve had a shower and then noticed an increase in your mood. Showering can facilitate a period of liberation from your daily parenting tasks, all while providing a form of sanctuary. Water also carries high vibrational energy that promotes healing by removing any negative energy from your auras, leaving you feeling cleansed and fresh. Listen to the water and feel the touch of it on your skin while taking in the aromas of the soap. Recognize how your body feels during your shower experience, it may become one of your most pleasurable daily rituals.
Walking provides the body with movement that is essential to releasing stored energy. Getting outside to walk can offer you a new perspective from those we encounter indoors. Integrating mindfulness with movement combines mental exercise along with physical exercise. While walking, feel the ground beneath you, notice your legs supporting you as you stride, notice your arms either holding your baby or pushing a stroller, and feel the air touch your body as you move with it.
Stretching removes negative energy that can contribute to unwell effects such as; stress, worry, fear and anxiety. Since sitting is a rarity as a parent, you have the opportunity to move your body and stretch frequently. While carrying your baby, notice your muscles and bones providing you with strength. Try laying on the floor with your baby and stretch your body, or stretch when you wake up and start your day. The ultimate goal is to feel relaxed, reinvigorated and reenergized.
Accept that you have and will make mistakes and handle some experiences without the original intent you had. Give yourself the courtesy of forgiveness for being human and try to focus on the learning aspect of the experiences you will have. When you become a parent, plans you originally intended on may change. Instead of being harsh on yourself, reflect on a time in your life that you had to make an adjustment and it ended with a better outcome than the original plan. By practicing this, you are creating a present that has less opportunity for overthinking your choices which prevents feeling satisfied in the moment.
Let go of expectations that limit your ability to parent authentically. Sometimes a dream we have for ourselves does not support the reality we live in. By letting go, the expectations will feel noticeably lighter and you will be able to focus on the present signals of your baby’s needs and what it means to parent authentically. Try reflecting on your definition of a ‘perfect mom’, do your findings apply to you? Are they achievable and reasonable? Once you set that clouded idealization aside, you realize the beautiful life you have created right in front of you.
Having support systems is a wonderful tool to utilize on your parental journey. Support systems offer insight and advice while you navigate your new role. However, be mindful of how much insight you are accepting into your life. Be aware of how much you compare yourself to others, we all walk on different paths and you will find that if you continuously make comparisons, your joy and sanity will be stolen from you. Try doing a complete body scan. Start at your head and go all of the way down your body trying to focus on any sensations, emotions, tensions and thoughts that enter your mind while using social media or in a support group. You need to break the comparison cycle because it’s a game you will unfortunately never win!
Feeling all of the feelings
Parenting is filled with an array of emotions. Leap into them! When you lean into the fierce sea of your emotions, you slowly lose resistance and avoidance and sink into your feelings unapologetically with an abundance of possibility opening up with it. Practice embracing your emotions without feeling obligated to give an explanation to yourself or others. Learning to skillfully feel gives you the gateway of being deeply connected with yourself, and creates freedom to engage in your life and do what is truly meaningful to you.
You do not have to do it all! Trying to be everything to everyone, including yourself, can create an abundance of stress. As a parent, your increasing demand will eventually catch up to you and involving other people or practices, may ease some stress from your role. The upper limit will only increase as you create the initiative to collaborate with others; as well as planning ahead. Try planning as much as you can ahead of time, or assigning other people to take care of some tasks for you. You need to be more essential, yet less involved. It is quite the paradox however, the more you are able to embrace it — the less stress you will feel.
Connecting to baby
Spending time with your baby will promote the connection between the two of you and will give you the opportunity to use your senses to practice mindfulness. By connecting to your baby, this allows you to tune into their energy, and as you two grow closer; your energies may sync. If your baby is acting out of character, perhaps look within to see if they could be absorbing your energy or mood. This is called an empathic connection. By being in tune with your own emotions and energy, you are able to set a solid foundation for your baby who is not mentally mature enough to control their adaptability to emotions just yet.
Stopping the shame
Drop the shame and judgment at the door! Shame leaves you with self flagellating thoughts that jar you to the core. If you are doing your best with the information you have, there is no need to be ashamed of yourself. When feeling shameful, observe the emotion and let it pass. Setting boundaries for yourself is an excellent strategy to avoid feeling shamed by unsolicited opinions in regards to your parenting — although remember to be open to effective and loving advice when rightfully solicited. Try practicing effective mantras to promote self worth. Knowing your value will leave you feeling free to develop new ideas and prevent you from ladening yourself with shame.
Parenting is a life long privilege that should be savoured and attentively thought of with mindfulness. You need time to be aware and honour your needs. Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act that should be frowned upon, in fact it is crucial to being a present and effective parent. Enjoy taking time with your children, for these mindful moments are magical times that are for you and your babies to share; independently. Once you allow yourself to be present with what is here in the moment, you will notice the results are profound.
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