Relaxed mum or ways of fighting the every-day stress

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The birth of awaited for nine months baby is a great joy and relief for a woman. From that moment a period of intensive and responsible educational work begins. Happy moments combine with plenty of problems, and there will be no shortage of stressful situations. The excess of duties, lack of time for rest and sleep make the woman overtired, sad, and, what’s worst, stressed and irritable. What to do so mum could gladly devote herself to her maternal tasks and calmly go through the hardest months? There are several simple ways, which should be introduced to the daily rituals.

Stress, perceived as a serious problem of today’s society, accompanies us almost every day. Too many situations requiring special effort makes us overtired and helpless. Long-term tension may lead to negative results, not only mental ones, such as depression or anxiety, but also physical. Chronic stress becomes one of the reasons for serious diseases – those of cardiovascular system and digestive tract, as well as cancer. Most importantly, its causes are not only negative events. It can also accompany positive events, which are a great experience.

Pregnancy and birth of an offspring can be included here, especially if it is your first baby, and activities related to care and raising a child are novelty to us. Especially women are experiencing these moments hard, the smallest failure perceiving as a motherly failure, and alleviating the non-threatening health problems of a child to the level of catastrophe. Then there are sleepless nights, no time for rest and excess of – often monotonous – responsibilities. Young mother becomes a bundle of nerves, and stress accompanying her effectively blocks the joy of motherhood. We are not able to eliminate from our lives the stressful situations completely, and in the case of a small child it is practically impossible. Hence we need to learn to reduce the stress’ harmful influence. How to do it? It’s enough to combine a proper diet with relaxation techniques, and daily problems will not be so terrible anymore.

Anti-stress diet

A popular saying “You are what you eat” perfectly reflects the functioning of our bodies. It refers also to stress, that, even though caused by the external factors, is a process taking place inside our organs. The natural way to combat this phenomenon is therefore an appropriate diet. “Following the anti-stress menu is especially important for young mothers, and especially those who are breast-feeding. Because of the baby their diet is very restrictive, so all medications should be reduced to absolute minimum. Together with the food they also give the offspring the most precious nutrients, which may cause the body’s vitamin and mineral deficiencies” – advises Iwona Gryszkin, a dietitian. The daily meals of the stressed mum cannot be short of products rich in magnesium, which stabilises the functions of a nervous system. Best absorbable is that contained in food, and it can be found in spinach, various kinds of nuts and buckwheat. Vitamin B6 is also important, present in fish, potatoes or carrots, as well as potassium, the lack of which causes nervousness (celery, tomatoes, avocado, dried apricots and figs).

Among natural ways of combating stress also drinks are important. One should avoid coffee, which raises the blood pressure, stimulates, and, even worse, flushes out magnesium. To every-day consumption a still water, e.g. Mammy and me, should be introduced in a large amount, containing magnesium. “Drinking clear water is very important for two reasons. First of all, the ritual itself of the slow consumption of water relaxes muscles, putting us in a state of relaxation and tranquillity. Secondly, water that contains magnesium provides the body with it, which is very important, especially with the shortage of that element, and also thins the blood, oxygenating brain and removing toxins from the body” – explains dietitian, Iwona Gryszkin.

Ways to deal with nerves

The stress related to looking after a baby may be bothersome. And even though we love our baby, we may feel sad and nervous. We should remember, however, that mother’s emotions are transferred onto a child, and thus it is worth taking care of a good mood and positive attitude. Even though it is hard to fight it in the excess of new duties, sometimes a few simple tricks are enough to improve one’s well-being. Let’s start with breathing – mastering the diaphragmatic technique help oxygenate the brain and subdue the nerves. We put one hand on the stomach, second on the chest and this way we take a deep breath. We hold the air for 3-5 seconds, and then we slowly exhale. Relaxation techniques may be introduced to the daily schedule using also the time spent with the baby. Lie the baby down during Pilates exercise or doing several yoga exercises. Also, the time of putting the baby to sleep is a perfect moment for relaxation. Lie next to the child or sit in an armchair, play calming music, best designed for relaxation, e.g. sounds of forest or sea. Our baby will fall asleep more easily, and we will have a moment of rest. At the end of the day, despite tiredness, when we manage to put the child to bed, have an aromatic bath or at least a hot shower. Warm water will relax tense muscles and facilitate falling asleep.

Stress accompanying care for a new-born can effectively strip you of all the happiness related to the little one coming to this world. Do not let the daily problems and fatigue to disturb the family happiness. Introduce changes in a daily diet or schedule, and both you and the child will feel better.

Iwona Gryszkin, MSc children’s nutritionist

Iwona Gryszkin
Expert bio:

She graduated from the Faculty of Food Sciences of the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław, as well as Dietetic Postgraduate Studies at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Poznań. Since 2005, effectively has been active as a dietitian. She is also an active member of the Board of Lower Silesian Society of Dietetics.

More information about the expert can be found on the following website: www.klinika-diety.pl