Taking care of yourself and your mental health when you’ve just brought a baby into the world can be tough. Babies need a lot of attention, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give any attention to yourself. You can do these at-home activities to improve mental health in quick bursts or long stretches, and they’ll help you relax while having fun.
Read a Book
Reading can help decrease depression symptoms, blood pressure, and heart rate, resulting in a relaxing escape that benefits both the mind and body. You can read whatever interests you, but fictional books have additional benefits compared to nonfiction. Through fiction, readers of all ages develop social skills, empathy, and interpersonal understanding. No matter what you choose, reading can help improve focus, and finishing a book provides a great sense of accomplishment.
With sleep deprivation and an active feeding schedule, most new moms dread hearing advice to “get active.” Despite this, physical exercise remains one of the best ways to improve mental health as it elevates your heart rate, which increases blood circulation and boosts endorphins. Aerobic exercises such as walking and dancing can reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, relieve stress, increase energy and stamina, uplift mood, enhance mental alertness, and encourage heart health.
If aerobic exercise doesn’t sound right for you, try yoga. This activity is ideal for people at any fitness level and can improve emotional balance and stress levels with concentrated breathing. It’s also good for your body, releasing endorphins and developing muscle tone and flexibility.
Do a Puzzle
You may not think that you have the right type of personality for puzzles, but anyone who is imaginative, goal-oriented, meditative, or cooperative will enjoy a puzzle. Puzzles come in a variety of sizes and cuts, so you can pick something that will be both challenging and fun. No matter their size or cut, puzzles can improve cognition, visual-spatial reasoning, concentration, short-term memory, and problem-solving. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do a puzzle all at once either. You can piece together sections as you have time, enjoying both the process and the end result.
Take a Bath
While most new moms take quick showers to stay clean and move on to the rest of their routine, taking time for a bath has mental health benefits. A 30-minute hot bath can lessen depression and allow for meditation and deep breathing, which help improve mental health. Including calming scents, such as lavender and sandalwood, can also improve mood and reduce stress.
Reading, exercising, doing puzzles, and taking baths are all at-home activities to improve mental health that you’ll find both relaxing and fun. Taking time for these activities will allow you to better care for yourself, which is essential as a new mom.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.