Being a new mom comes with a lot of changes. The biggest change of all is that you stop feeling like yourself. Life, especially in those first few weeks, is a baby fog. You are talking about nursing, sleeping and pooping. You may not think about showering or what’s on television. You forget to respond to emails and phone calls.
Eventually, the fog dissipates, and you are ready to take on the world again. Sort of. Maybe you'll feel like you first need to introduce yourself to the real world again.
Whatever the case, here are a few activities that cost next to nothing that you can do to connect back with yourself:
1. Go to Target, get coffee and walk around
The cost of doing this is about $5, not counting what you buy once you’re in there. One my favorite things to do is peruse the magazine and book aisle, and get some reading in. For some extra R&R, take a nap in the car before or after. You will feel like new-ish again.
2. Hike with a friend
The cost of this is gas or public transportation. Walking in nature has healing properties, for sure. The silence is refreshing and it gives you a chance to talk to another human without any interruption from screens. You know that childfree friend who actually came to visit you after the baby? Whose text you feel bad about ignoring when the baby is having a sleep regression? Yes, invite her. She will be glad to see you, and you can catch up about things not related to the baby life.
The beauty of this is that you won’t have to get childcare, and the conversation can go for as long as you want.
But really any kind of physical activity is good for you.
3. Have a movie day
Take an afternoon to watch all the movies you missed during your baby “vacation.” For extra relaxation, don’t do this at your house. Do it at another person’s house. Maybe you could even find an affordable Airbnb in your own neighborhood, so you don’t venture too far away from the baby, which can be hard to do in those first few months.
4. Write a letter to yourself
Now that you have had a baby, it can be easy to get caught up in the cult of parenthood. While you love your child, you either spent a lot of time pregnant, trying to get pregnant or in the adoption process. Either way, this is a good time to think about what you want for your own life. Just write down whatever comes to mind. Put it in a place where you can see it from time to time and set some plans into action.
There are benefits to remembering you matter, too.
5. Have a dinner party
Do it potluck-style to save yourself some trouble. Invite the kind of friends that you don’t mind seeing your messy house. The beauty of this is that you won’t have to get childcare, and the conversation can go for as long as you want.
6. Learn a new skill
Sign up for a course to learn something new. Even if it’s something completely out of your usual thing. Being engaged in an activity for a few hours has huge benefits and makes you feel refreshed in a way that being in front of screen never will. Community colleges offer courses that range from jewelry making to public relations.
7. Start a book club
There’s no better way to detach from our lives then by immersing ourselves in a good book. Make it a weekly gathering with one or two friends. Again, this will cost you only as much as you pay for the book. This will also make it so that you actually read the book, since you are accountable to others. Doing something for yourself, even if it’s just reading 15 minutes a day. I promise, there are benefits to remembering you matter, too.