Next week Hannah will be seven months old. This past month, I’ve really been focusing on self-care for me. It sounds totally crazy, but in the whirlwind of giving birth and adjusting to taking care of a baby it took a whole six months before I even started really thinking about myself and what I need. Adjusting to being a new Mom has been so much harder than I ever imagined.
Now that things have settled down a bit, I’m seeing the parts of my life that have been neglected and it’s kind of alarming. I was definitely the kind of girl that had a ten step skincare routine, regularly did things to treat yo’ self and don’t even remind me of how much sleep I was getting. I thought pregnancy was difficult but nothing could have prepared me for the exhaustion of postpartum.
I’ll be honest, it did take a toll on me. Some days I would look in the mirror and think to myself, “What the heck? I look rough!” I even got my first gray hair in my eyebrow of all places. I started adding things here and there to make myself feel more like me and it’s been such a game changer for how I feel mentally and physically.
They have made a huge difference for my self confidence.
I will share some of them that have had the biggest effect here.
1 Herbivore Jasmine Body Oil
Showers are kind of a luxury as I usually have limited time to enjoy them like I used to. My skin has been so dry this winter so I purchased this Jasmine Body Oil from Herbivore. This has been such a game changer for me not only because it smells amazing and puts me in a great mood, but it goes on while you are still wet from the shower. It goes on so easily and takes less time than regular lotion. It keeps me moisturized all day and I love the faint scent of jasmine that follows me during the day.
2. Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening
I used to drink a lot of coffee before, but my coffee drinking postpartum is on a new level. I noticed that my teeth were getting a lot of staining and it was bumming me out. In my pictures it just looked terrible. I’ve always been self conscious about my smile and previously did Invisalign to fix the gaps in my teeth. I want to have a beautiful smile! I asked at the dentist about teeth whitening and I was really surprised that they recommended me to buy a kit at home instead of whitening in office. They told me it was basically the same thing but way cheaper. So that is what I did!
I have whitened my teeth at home with one of the most common whitening systems you can buy in the drugstore. I wasn’t really a fan because they felt weird while on (a lot of shifting) and I didn’t see that much improvement in the color of my teeth. I went with custom fitted trays this time around from Smile Brilliant and it was such a different experience! Putting in the custom trays was easy and comfortable and made going about my day while whitening so much easier. I’m a little OCD so I like the feeling that the trays are on my teeth really well and the whitening solution is reaching all of my teeth. I just pop them in and get on with whatever I need to do like cleaning, feeding Hannah or working out.
I used it seven times for about an hour each time and I am more than thrilled about how white my teeth have gotten. I even told my husband yesterday that I had a supermodel smile they were getting so white! It’s been such a confidence booster and I love to smile everywhere now! It is such a small thing but it really affected how I feel. For Valentine’s Day I ordered a kit for my husband. He is a big tea drinker so we can’t wait to see how white his teeth can be too! Since we are regular coffee/tea drinkers, we will definitely be keeping up the maintenance and whitening our teeth regularly to keep our smiles looking gorgeous!
If you are interested in teeth whitening, you can get 15% off using the code itsautumnslife15 on the Smile Brilliant website. 😉
3. Stretching & Yoga
Pregnancy and birth made my muscles so tight. While I am still trying to lose weight post baby I made the decision to focus on stretching and flexibility as my big fitness goal this year. I spend 40 minutes a day on the mat stretching and I can’t even tell you how much of a difference it has made for me. Not only does it make me totally relaxed, but it feels amazing afterwards. I don’t feel how tight I am during the day but I definitely feel it after stretching. Everything feels much looser and doing things during the day is much easier! If I don’t stretch every day, I definitely feel it.
4. Laser Hair Removal
Back in 2013, I had a ton of laser hair removal done in South Korea while I was living there teaching. I would totally recommend it. There is still one stubborn area of my chin that has been a serious problem for me since what feels like forever. Since the hair is on my face (Thanks PCOS), it really affects my self-esteem. I avoided laser hair removal because of the cost but I finally decided that it was now or never and started going monthly for laser hair removal. It has been such a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I feel more confident and happy and I’m looking forward to not having to worry about it again! Investing in me is totally worth it.
5. Eating Well & Guilt Free
This was an action that I’ve done as well as a mindset change really. I had a lot of guilt surrounding my eating post partum just because I was concerned about losing the weight, eating enough to breastfeed successfully and just finding time to eat anything during the long days taking care of a baby mostly by myself. A lot of the time I ate quick foods that weren’t the healthiest but allowed me to eat quickly with little preparation. I did keto for so long and I just couldn’t stick to it with breastfeeding without affecting my milk supply. I switched to CICO and eating whatever I needed to to get myself fed and it has been so freeing! The weight is coming off and I’m not worrying so much about eating in a very specific way every day all of the time. A lot of days I don’t have much time to eat but I need to so eating a hot pocket isn’t going to kill me.
6. Meeting Up With Friends
Breastfeeding. I love it so much. But it also means that I can’t really get away from my baby for more than a few hours. The thought of going out with her a lot of the time doesn’t appeal to me so I mostly stay at home instead of going out and meeting my friends. I started forcing myself to bring her along with me and it really wasn’t that bad. Being with my friends in some of the places I love (like my favorite coffee shop) is such a mood booster and makes me feel like my old self. I’m a Mom but that’s not ALL I am.
7. Post-Partum Massage
I committed to doing six months of post-partum massage after giving birth and guys. If you can afford it, DO IT. It has been life changing and I look forward to it every month. I can’t believe how much of a difference it has made in my recovery after birth. I hesitated to spend the money but if there is any time to spend on yourself, it’s during your first year after birth. Your body has went through so much and it deserves a little TLC!
I’ve been implementing these changes for a bit more than a month and it feels amazing. I finally feel like I’m starting to be normal again. It’s a new normal, but much closer to the person I am.
Self care isn’t selfish.
What kinds of things do you do for self care?
I’m partnering with Smile Brilliant to give one of my readers a $149 credit on their website. Follow the link to enter:
Good luck to you!