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The last two years have been hard. Parenting was already difficult before COVID, and the pandemic has made it an even more challenging and isolating experience. New Year’s resolutions of the past like “drop the baby off at the gym daycare four times a week and work out” are laughable these days. Gone too are the days of guilt-tripping ourselves for being imperfect. In 2022, New Year’s resolutions for new parents are all about embracing small, attainable actions that promote wellbeing on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
New Year’s Resolutions for New Parents in 2022
1. Drink More Water
Modern parenthood already predisposes us to headaches, anxiety, and fatigue – why make it worse by being chronically dehydrated? Hydration is essential for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, staying well-hydrated is even more important. Set a specific goal, like consuming the 95+ oz per day experts recommend, or simply resolve to be better about keeping your water bottle nearby. On that note, treat yourself to a nice new water bottle as a reminder of your resolution!
We all know that meditation is important, but most of us fail to follow through. As new parents, dedicating time to closing our eyes and simply observing our breath can feel trivial. But study after study has proven the many incredible benefits of meditation. Just five minutes of quiet mindfulness per day is enough to boost mental clarity, improve mood, reduce reactivity, and even slow down the aging process. You can find 5 minutes, right? Trade that scroll session for a mini-retreat into the mind, and you’ll soon reap the many rewards. Set a timer on your phone or download an app to help you get into the habit.
3. Put Your Phone Down
So much of our lives is now lived through our portable screens – work life, social life, home life logistics. But at the same time, we’re missing what’s right in front of our eyes. And too much of the time, that’s our children and spouses, bidding for our love and attention. Studies have even shown that children of phone-obsessed parents are at greater risk of depression because they feel shunned and neglected by their family. Help yourself to improve your phone habits by taking advantage of screen time-tracking apps, designating a charging station out of the way, or even dedicating a screen-free day (or partial day) of the week.
4. Read More
Reading strengthens cognitive skills, increases empathy, reduces stress, and may even lengthen your lifespan. Finding time to read as a new parent can be challenging, and many book lovers get out of the habit when a new baby arrives. However, the mental escape of reading is more important than ever during this season of life when endless thoughts of diapers and repetitive tasks can leave us feeling chronically bored. With a new baby, a backlit e-reader is easy on the eyes and perfect for those endless nursing sessions in a dark room. New parenthood is also the perfect time to embrace audiobooks or essay collections that can be easily dipped into and out of. Those long afternoons of reading on the beach may be on hold for now, but 10 minutes of literary reprieve here and there really adds up – and your brain will thank you for every minute.
5. Ask for Help
We are more physically isolated than ever, and it’s catching up to us. At least one in three adults is now experiencing depressive symptoms, up from one in 10 prior to the pandemic. Add in the stressors and hormonal fluctuations of postpartum, and the pressure is unprecedented. You don’t have to be everything for your family. Wearing all the hats of caregiver, cleaner, chef, employee, teacher, organizer, and more is totally exhausting. It’s also not how parenthood was ever meant to be – human beings are social creatures that truly need each other to survive. It’s beyond time to accept help whenever you can find or afford it. There are several low-risk ways to embrace help and take some pressure off yourself. Hire a housekeeper, try a meal kit service, or hire a postpartum doula. Accept an hour of babysitting from a family member or friend in your COVID pod. Schedule a therapy session. You deserve support!
Embrace Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for New Parents
The key to New Year’s resolutions is to choose actions that are doable and rewarding. New Year’s resolutions for new parents need to be simple and promote wellness – not perfection. Encourage yourself to relax more, embrace support, and take care of yourself. You’re already caring for one or more tiny people – you don’t need to push yourself toward unrealistic goals. You don’t need any resolution to change who you are; this new year is an opportunity to embrace all the strengths and imperfections that make you gloriously you. Go easy on yourself, take deep breaths, and step mindfully into 2022. You’ve got this.