Sometimes we get asked why self-care is important. You know, "WHY should we make it priority to schedule activities just for our own enjoyment and pleasure?"  “Isn’t that selfish?” we hear. “Who has time for THAT?” In case any of these questions have crossed your mind, read on.  

If we really understand the reasons for self-care, it helps us make it priority. Rather than thinking of it as selfish or indulgent, consider the following reasons for why a disciplined self-care plan is essential:

  1. It makes you take responsibility for your own well-being. Struggles with emotional mental health can easily make us feel defeated and like we are our own worst enemy. Make friends again with yourself by resolving to do the things you like and that you know are good for you. It takes you out of the victim role, blaming others for your distress, and puts the responsibility for recovery back on you. Good professional therapists can help you develop and hone your self-care plan, but ultimately it is up to you to use it.

  2. Self-care is by definition a stress reducer. Stress is often the trigger for the development of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. The stress of learning how to care for a baby, be a co-parent, and all the other changes that are occurring, along with the usual sleep-deprivation that comes with it is a recipe for a disaster or at least an emotional melt down. It is essential that all of us discover and use the tools that best help up reduce our stress or at least manage it successfully. Self-care for stress relief means you temporarily remove yourself from the stressors and instead focus on relaxing.

  3. Self-care is rejuvenating. This is one of the main reasons for doing it.  We must learn how to “fill ourselves up” when life is depleting us. Again, rejuvenation is not selfish, it is essential. The only way we can manage the very hard job of caring for a baby well is to take regularly scheduled breaks from it. Exercise is one of the main ways we can replenish our energy. But so is napping, sleeping in, or going to bed early. Also, good times with friends, families, meals that you don’t have to prepare, hobbies, recreation and spiritual activities all help with rejuvenation.  

As a new mom, you are worth being taken care of, and the best person to do that well is yourself. It may involve asking for help and tolerating the pain of stepping away from your baby for a short period, but it is necessary. Ultimately, self-care helps us be better mothers and partners, and that is good for your family. If you don’t feel like practicing self-care for yourself, do it for them. They will thank you for it!

If you are having a hard time making and implementing a self-care plan, working with a mental health professional specializing in perinatal care can be an important step. CPFH has clinicians that can see you in-person in the Houston area or online across Texas. If you're a mom struggling anywhere in the state - from El Paso to Tyler or Midland Odessa to Brownsville, we are here to help. Reach out today to discuss options!

Be Well, Mom!