Mom working out with her baby Mom working out with her baby

Healthy lifestyle tips for new parents

Top tips to help you feel better every day:

1. Spend at least one hour a day outdoors

Being indoors all day lowers serotonin levels. It is important to get out and about. Stop to smell the roses and enjoy a sunset regularly, it greatly improves your quality of life. Your Vitamin D levels will rise, you will get in some exercise, you'll be happier and your concentration will improve along with your health. Breathe deeply and breathe fresh air. Even 5 minutes can make a difference

2. Keep your diet balanced

Good nutrition starts with eating a balanced diet and as many kinds of foods daily as you can. When you eat, slow down, enjoy your food and chew it well. It is suggested that you choose a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and to not overcook them. Also try to eat fish at least twice a week, especially salmon or tuna. Good nutrition also means less saturated fat – so limit those sauces, gravies and margarine, and remove or trim excess fat from animal products. Reduce caffeine and alcohol, but increase the amount of water you drink. Aim to have at least 2 litres daily and try to use a water filter.

3. Practise relaxation

This can be in the form of gardening, meditation, tai chi, or reading a good novel – whatever you enjoy doing. It is important to take some time out. Sitting in front of the TV and reading a magazine at the same time is not relaxation. Yoga or meditation or sitting in a quiet room with some relaxing music is! Time out is vital to restore your energies and bring balance into your life. When you relax, try to really relax.

4. Create your own Spa bath

Invest in lavender oil or any particular natural essence that appeals to your sense of smell and put a few drops into your bathwater at least once a week (more often if possible). Light a few candles, turn off the lights and just relax. You may or may not want to take some form of relaxation music into the bathroom with you to help you escape from a busy day.

5. Enjoy a regular massage

Regular massage can help to keep your muscles and joints supple, reduce tension and help eliminate toxins. Aim to have a massage each month if you can. If your finances don't allow for a monthly massage contact a local school that teaches massage. These schools need people to practise on and provide the service for a nominal fee. Students working on you are at the very end of their tuition and know what they are doing.

6. A facial, eyelash tint, manicure, pedicure

Perhaps you can't manage or afford them all but book at least one to fit into a week or month when you need to pamper yourself. Finances stretched? Check with local beauty schools; the students need you and you need them to pamper you!

7. Spoil yourself every now and then

Whether it is a weekend away or a couple of hours having beauty treatments, choose something that will make you feel really good. Plan for it and enjoy yourself!

8. Develop strong coping mechanisms

Find a balance by doing things that you enjoy, away from the environment that causes you stress. This activity will be different for each person, for example play some golf, go fishing, or perhaps enjoy a massage.

9. Do some regular exercise

Exercise gives you a natural sense of well-being, and prevents you from becoming tired and exhausted too easily, so it is important to make physical activity a regular thing. If you find this difficult, find an activity that you really enjoy doing, and it will be much easier. This may mean that you need to try a few different things before you find what you like. If you have limited time, ensure you make this exercise most efficient by doing it at the most optimal time – i.e. before breakfast.

10. Incorporate stretching into your daily routine

Many people have stiff and rigid muscles, but it only takes a few days to loosen up and enjoy stretching sessions. Stretching should be done regularly and is easy to do. Best times to do it: first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, after sitting or standing for long periods of time, for example: driving, on a plane, sitting at a desk and after exercise when muscles are really warm.

11. Start each day with a healthy breakfast

At least 5 days out of 7, make sure you have a substantial, healthy breakfast. The benefits of a healthy breakfast are well-documented, particularly one that is low in fat, high in fibre, and has a low glycaemicindex.

12. Give yourself a break at dinnertime!

Make sure a couple of meals each week do not require Jamie Oliver type dedication and skill. Buy a roasted chicken, or even a pizza, and make a salad. The adults and kids will not suffer long-term nutrition deficiencies if you decide to take a couple of nights off from toiling in the kitchen.

For more information see Motherhood or Parenting.


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