You can’t pour from an empty cup!

It’s January, Christmas is done, new year is over and Spring feels a long way off. So what can we do to help us feel brighter and lighter this January? Self care is my answer. That’s what I’ll be concentrating on this week. I asked Janice to give us some tips on how to do this. As a Life Coach, Janice is passionate about helping clients reach their full potential and achieve their goals, dreams an aspirations.  For further information and details of her free 30 discovery session go to www.lifecoachjanice.com

 

you can't pour from an empty glass, take care of yourself first

 “You’ll never have enough to give if you don’t keep yourself full – honour yourself and keep your cup full” – Oprah Winfrey.

 

I felt honoured when Janet asked me to write a blog as part of her self-care focus for January aimed at new parents. I am a parent of two teenage boys, and although it is 14 years since I was a ‘new’ parent, I have vivid memories of how our family life changed, and of the sleep deprivation! When our second son arrived, we already had a 3 year old, and I can remember thinking ‘what on earth did I do with all the spare time I must have had first time around?’

 

As well as pulling on my own experiences as a parent for this blog, I decided to ask close friends for their top ‘survival’ tip, particularly during those first 12 weeks. At worst after little or no sleep for many consecutive nights, it can feel like survival, at best you may find you can’t quite believe you have produced such an amazing bundle of joy. As Janet says on her home page, “capture you and your baby from those precious first weeks of their life all the way to their first birthday”.

The first few weeks are indeed precious as a baby’s brain grows by 64% in their first 90 days of life. Isn’t that incredible? And although they can’t speak yet, they communicate with their parents by smiling, chuckling and crying – sometimes all at the same time! The demands on new parents are huge, and cannot be underestimated. They can feel all consuming, and recognising this is the key to any parents’ survival, together with building a team of family and friends who can help to lighten the load. Accept help in whatever form it is offered, that way you can ensure you do something for you – being a hero will only lead to exhaustion.

Although we all think we are super human, of course we aren’t, and self care during a baby’s first weeks of life is crucial to maintain a parents’ sanity. As a Life Coach it is common for me to see clients (of all ages) forgetting to take care of themselves, and wondering why they are so worn out with all the giving they do to everyone else in their lives.

When a new baby arrives, putting time aside for you means you will be an even better parent for it. There are no ‘best parent’ awards, it is not a competition, and recognising this new phase in your family life will lighten the pressure and unrealistic expectations. Remembering you are still a couple within the new family dynamic, will mean you can both remain resilient for when sleep deprivation kicks in and any sense of proportion can fly out of the window.

My top survival tips for new parents

Trust your gut feeling and go with the flow of your new baby and what suits your family.

Health is vital – look after yours by seeing the midwife or doctor and listening to your body.

Rest when your baby is asleep – although its tempting to do housework at this time, it is crucial you rest to maintain your energy levels, then you can give to your new baby.

Eat and drink – ask those well-meaning visitors to make you a cuppa and snack

Fresh air every day if you can. Getting outside will help with keeping perspective on this phase of your family life, and seeing the sky helps to broaden your mind too.

Kindness to yourself, celebrate small victories – finishing a whole cuppa whilst it’s still hot, a quiet bath with essential oils and candles, this will add value to your self-compassion.

Mindfulness practice can help to enable you to recognise and enjoy those precious once in a life time moments – a true smile (as opposed to wind!), the tight grip of your finger.

Meet up with other new parents and swap experiences, knowing you are not alone at 3am can be enough to keep you going.

 

Emily Dickenson said “forever is composed of now’s’ which can so easily be missed when a baby is growing so fast. Good luck, and remember, you are a human being, not a super hero!