Whether you are a first-time mama or a mama of more, each postpartum journey is different. You’re barely sleeping, and you are exhausted beyond words which only allows stress to show up easily, mood swings and emotional changes are real. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed give yourself a gentle reminder that life will eventually get back to your new normal. Until it does, today we are going to chat all things basic to get you moving in your body, feeling in control, and reducing your stress postpartum.
As a mom, you have plenty on your plate and as much as you want to do something for yourself, your quick response is “There isn’t enough time”. It’s time to transform that mindset and this is why; once you give yourself as little as 5 minutes or as much as 30 minutes your mood will shift and transform the way you respond to those around you and your energy will increase. So yes, taking time for yourself is not selfish and VERY beneficial for you, baby, and your family.
Benefits of exercise postpartum:
- Exercising improves your mental health and can reduce depression and anxiety which provides stress relief.
- Exercising gives you better nights of sleep which helps reduce exhaustion, stress, and frustration.
- Exercising supports restoring your muscle strength and toning up your body. It gives you confidence in your new body because there truly is no “bounce back” but you can still strengthen and tone your body to feel sexy.
Now it’s time to make it fun and attractive!
What does making exercising attractive mean? It means including the things you love!
Items that might make the activity attractive:
- Specific water bottles or glasses
- Workout attire
- Workout equipment
- The food you eat before/after
Here are a few examples:
The exercise, taking a postpartum yoga class on YouTube, how to make it attractive: light a candle, dim the lights, pick your favorite cup for water or electrolytes, maybe even have a fire burning.
The exercise, walking with your stroller, grab your AirPods pick your favorite music, use this time to catch up on your favorite True Crime podcast, or listen to that book you keep putting off.
The exercise, weight training, grab your go-to water bottle, workout attire that makes you look in the mirror and admire what your body has done for you, and look forward to a tasty protein shake filled with fruits, veggies, and proteins afterward that fuel you not only for your workout but your day. Don’t forget your AirPods to listen to what you want, maybe it’s even to cover up Ms. Rachel in the background keeping your toddlers entertained.
When something is attractive you look forward to it and it is fun!
What does fun do for our stress?
Fun encourages laughter which produces oxytocin, oxytocin helps your uterus contract and shrinks everything back down to normal. Such a WIN postpartum. Moving your body reduces stress and allows endorphins to flow which is going to bring you ease and joy.
Safe postpartum exercises:
- Core strengthening exercises
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Modified planks
- Bridge exercises
- Strength training
- Bodyweight exercises
- Resistance band workouts
- Yoga and mindfulness/meditation
- Deep breathing techniques
Incorporating exercise into a busy postpartum schedule
It’s not going to be easy but committing, writing it down, and daily making the decision to show up and do what you say you are going to do will create daily healthy habits that will build over time. The best way to stay consistent with daily exercise and to keep your stress at bay is by short periods, starting with 5-10 minutes, and growing by making your goal 30 minutes or even extending it to 45 minutes or 1 hour. Sometimes you might need to include your baby in your exercise, walking, having your baby on a mat beside you while you workout, but the consistency will pay off.
Sample 30-Minute Exercise Plan Postpartum
3 Pelvic floor exercises followed with a 20min walk, over 12 weeks postpartum make it a goal to include hills.
1. Hug Your Baby - The goal is to engage your abdominal muscles and 'hug your baby' or 'draw the baby up and in'. Focus on connecting your belly button to your spine and you will lift your baby up and in. Hold for three to five seconds while you inhale and exhale, don't hold your breath. Repeat this exercise for 5-10 repetitions and repeat 3-5 times throughout your day.
2. Breathe + Connect -Your breath is your most powerful tool to stabilize and support your body during movement, manage intra-abdominal pressure, and keep your body strong. Find a neutral, stacked alignment between your rib cage and pelvis lying on your back with knees bent, and feet on the floor.
On the inhale, focus on expanding your rib cage 360 degrees and allow your abdomen and pelvic floor to expand and relax.
On the exhale, blow air out through pursed lips and gently contract the pelvic floor; the transverse abdominals should follow the leader.
3. Marching Bridge - Hold the top of the bridge position, exhale to bring the knee in, and touch the foot down. Inhale in the glute position before the next rep. Try lowering the foot down heel-toe, then alternate like a march. Focus on keeping your belly button pulled towards your spine. Do 4-8 reps on each side for 3-4 sets.
Now you have the tools to take a step forward in creating healthy habits in reducing stress during your postpartum journey. My final tough love is to get rid of the idea you need to workout six times per week. Who's got the time or energy for that anyway? I used to be that girl. I was exhausted, my body was never healing properly and it took up so much time. All I want you to do is pick from one of the concepts shared or slowly combine them and slowly add in what's DOABLE for you. Build up your confidence by completing the smaller tasks and realizing you can do them.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.