A new baby is called a “bundle of joy” for a reason – but sometimes the joy is a little hard to find amid the sleep disruptions, strains on your relationship with your spouse or partner, too much outside “advice,” nagging self-doubts, and the worry, the stress and the never-ending tasks of tending to a helpless new life form.
But the joy is there, and being aware of and stocking up on activities and moments that bring you happiness will carry you through the tougher times.
Here are 7 ways to harness the "Happy Power":
• Be protective of your time and mental energy. Given the choice between taking a much-needed nap or having a co-worker read you the minutes from the latest board meeting, take a nap.
• Reframe whatever overwhelms you the most. If you are exhausted and your child needs you repeatedly in the middle of the night, see it as a chance to privately hang out with this new person you love.
• Go outside with your baby. Sunlight is calming.
• Make good choices about the people with whom you surround yourself. It’s OK to decide not to spend a lot of time with people you have to entertain, take care of emotionally, or have to endure in any way.
• Feed your mind. Discuss ideas with people who take your mind temporarily out of baby mode. Challenge yourself with crossword puzzles, read books, discuss politics, read the paper, or whatever you find intellectually satisfying.
• When feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath before entering your child’s room and say, “I can do this.” Remember that women have done this for centuries and in much tougher situations.
• Follow the 4 S’s – seek support, sleep, sustain yourself, and smile (you’ll lower your heart rate and release chemicals that lower levels of sadness and anxiety).
Return to: Finding the Joy in Your Bundle of Joy
– Rachel Bernstein