Happiness Coach Anushree Dindokar Shares Tips On Managing Stress For New Mums

Happiness Coach Anushree Dindokar Shares Tips On Managing Stress For New Mums

18 May 2023 | 13 min Read

Manisha Pradhan

Author | 983 Articles

Motherhood, especially for new mums, can be as daunting as it is exhilarating. Amid the diaper changes and feeding schedules, a mother’s body undergoes significant changes that often extend beyond physical recovery. One such change is stress-related hypertension – an overlooked, yet critical concern that can impact a new mum’s wellbeing.

BabyChakra spoke to Anushree Dindorkar, a certified Happiness Coach from the Berkley Institute of Well-Being and the founder of A Pocket Full Of Happiness, to shed light on strategies for managing stress for new mums so that they can avoid stress-related hypertension.

Happiness coach Anushree Dindorkar says speaking about the overwhelming rush of emotions is something most mums ignore/ Image source

Here are some important tips shared by Anushree on managing stress for new mums.


Key Factors that Contribute to a New Mum’s Happiness

What are the key factors that contribute to a new mother’s happiness and mental well-being during sleepless nights?

Being a new mother is a blessing but what people don’t talk about is the overwhelming rush of emotions it brings with it. On the one hand, you are happy to see your beautiful child in this world, while on the other hand, you are still in disbelief at the sudden changes you experience, both physically and mentally.

On top of it, sleepless nights and hormonal changes make it all the worse. So, what a new mother truly needs at this stage is being understood, not being dismissed from her emotions but being heard. She needs an empathetic and loving ecosystem, which provides her space to nurture herself and her newborn.

All these factors together contribute to a new mother’s happiness and mental well-being not only during sleepless nights but at all times.

How can new mothers maintain a positive outlook and stay sane when they are constantly sleep-deprived?

Firstly, while it sometimes may feel like it’s difficult to find the light at the end of this tunnel, know that this feeling and the time are not going to last forever. Years later, the new mother will reminisce this time of holding their little one in their arms, feeding him/her and laughing, “Remember when my whole world turned upside down at the arrival of my little one?”.

Hence, it will only help if they remain hopeful for better days in future. Secondly, be patient with yourself and understand that all these things and the changes around you are new to you as well. So, it’s okay if you take things at your own pace, to ask for help if it can get you some time to sleep, and it’s okay to sleep for a little longer, whenever and wherever you find the time.

Coping with the Emotional and Physical Demands of Caring for a Newborn

What specific coping strategies do you recommend for new mothers to handle the emotional and physical demands of caring for a newborn?

In my opinion, the new parents must draw out a parental plan. This can be done before or after the delivery, so that both the parents and especially the new mother, are not overwhelmed by the sudden emotional and physical demands when it comes to taking care of the newborn.

In this plan, you can decide on the responsibilities of preparing meals, cleaning the house, carrying out errands, doing the baby’s laundry, changing diapers, and taking turns handling the baby. This will not only help in the equal involvement of both parents but also help the new mother get some time to herself to focus on her health.

While sticking to this plan in its entirety might not be possible in reality, and that’s okay! But the goal is to have a system in place, to bank on when needed.

Tips for Creating a Healthy Sleep Environment

Can you share some tips for creating a healthy sleep environment for both mother and baby, to maximise the chances of better sleep?

A new mother needs to prioritise her sleep along with the baby. It is only when she is getting enough sleep that will she be able to put her 100% towards the baby. So it is advisable to sleep when the baby sleeps. Do not plan any other chores at this time.

Ask for your partner’s help if it’s difficult to implement it in reality. Place the baby’s crib right next to your bed and make sure to put all your gadgets away. Baby safe sleep practice, white noise

How can new mothers effectively manage their time and energy to balance their own needs with those of their babies?

As I explained earlier, it is very important to have a parental plan in place to ensure that the responsibilities, house chores and baby duties are divided amongst the parents. This will help the mother to have some time to herself.

Secondly, as a mother, it is also important to have clarity of your needs and wants and communicate them to your partner and your family members. Because only if you share your needs clearly, will you be able to get proper help to focus on your well-being.

Building a Support Network

In what ways can a strong support system impact a new mother’s happiness and sanity during this period? How can one build such a support network?

Yes, a good support system is an integral part of any new mother’s well-being and effectively manages this major change in life. So, a new mother needs to identify their support system. It can be your partner, family members, siblings, close friends or even a hired house help.

Having people who help you and keep you positive during this time are crucial for your peace of mind. They can not only help in your basic baby duties and household chores but also make sure that you as a mother eat and have your medicines on time.

But there are also mothers, who live away from their families and don’t have any support system around. For example, when my sister delivered her baby in Germany, she had no one except my brother-in-law with her. So in this case, you can get in touch with various support groups in your area, that have women on the same journey as you and stay connected with them. Today, in the time of the internet, you can find various support groups online as well.

Tips on Relaxation Techniques

Are there any specific mindfulness practices or relaxation techniques that can help new mothers cope better with sleepless nights?

Indeed. Being mindful helps you slow down, step back and introspect. It helps you live in the present moment, calms you down and relaxes your nerves. Hence for new mothers, practising mindful exercises and relaxation techniques has proven to be very beneficial in reducing stress, supporting physical health, enhancing sleep quality and improving overall well-being.

While having a sleepless night, you can start with simple breathing exercises while listening to calming music (You can find these on Youtube). Breathing exercises can include, inhaling and exhaling at the count of 5 or inhaling then exhaling through the mouth. Keep your eyes closed while doing these and doing the exercises for 5mins. You can also match your breathing to the baby’s breathing, just staying in the moment.

Once you are done with breathing exercises, take out a notebook, name it your “New Mother Journal” and write down all the thoughts that are going on in your head.

You can end it by writing 5 things that you are grateful for. Now lie down, close your eyes, and practice guided meditation (You can find many good guided meditation videos on youtube). All of these activities will calm you down, and help you to connect to the present.

It is also important that you make an affirmation for yourself, like a mantra that you will repeat during the meditation or anytime that you feel haunted by negative thoughts, like “ I am an amazing mother” “I am raising a wonderful child” “This is will help you reinstate the statement in your mind.

You don’t have to do all these things together. You can take one of the above practices and incorporate it during sleepless nights.

Importance of Self-Compassion and Self-Care for New Mums

What role can self-compassion and self-care play in maintaining a new mother’s happiness and sanity during this challenging phase?

Self-compassion and self-care play a huge role in maintaining a new mother’s happiness and sanity. Be kind towards yourself and go easy on yourself. Accept the fact that you are doing this for the first time, that you will make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t compare yourself or your child with others. Everyone is unique in their way and has a different pace of doing things. Lastly, don’t feel guilty for taking out some time for yourself, for your mental and physical well-being. Understand that your health is important too.

Setting Boundaries to Maintain Their Well-Being

How can new mothers effectively communicate their needs and set boundaries with family and friends to maintain their well-being during sleepless nights?

First of all, have a clear understanding of your needs, and then communicate them with utmost clarity to your family and friends. Prioritize your sleep and learn to say no. Don’t worry about being the “Bad mother”, make them understand that it’s for your and your baby’s well-being. So it’s okay to cancel on the plan, it’s okay to say no to people coming over to visit after a specific time, it’s okay to leave a family gathering early, and it’s all okay if you think your sleep is being compromised.

Real Mum Stories on Successfully Managing Stress

managing stress for new mums
New mum Shruti managed stress by always looking at the bigger picture/ Image source: Anushree Dindorkar

Can you share some real mum stories of new mothers who managed to stay happy and sane during the sleepless night’s phase? What can we learn from their experiences?

Look around you. You will see so many such examples in your own family where they have effectively managed the sleepless night phase. This is not to say that it is easy. NO! It’s frustrating and exhausting. Everyone has a unique experience, and we can only learn from each other.

I consider my sister, Shruti, as the best example, for having managed this phase efficiently and stayed sane while at it. She is settled in Germany and delivered little Shaurvi there. Away from family, and without any kind of support system. She, with the help of my brother-in-law, did it all alone. And that I feel is commendable.

Her mantra was, “Look at the bigger picture always!”. Whenever she felt frustrated and exhausted, she always looked at the bigger picture, which was “I chose to bring Shaurvi into this world and I will try to do my best to give her the best life” and that she said instilled hope and gave her an immense amount of strength to keep going.

Signs of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

How can new mothers recognise the signs of postpartum depression or anxiety, and when should they seek professional help?

Postpartum depression and anxiety is a condition that can affect new mothers after childbirth. Some of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety include:

  • Feeling sad or depressed most of the time.
  • Crying often.
  • Feeling anxious or worried.
  • Feeling irritable or angry.
  • Feeling overwhelmed or hopeless.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Changes in appetite or weight/
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby.
  • Lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. 
  • Thoughts of harming oneself or the baby.

If you are a new mother and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can evaluate your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Remember that seeking help for postpartum depression or anxiety does not mean you are a bad mother or that you are failing in any way. It takes courage to recognise that you need help, and taking care of yourself is essential for both your well-being and the well-being of your baby.

Misconceptions about Seeking Help

What are some common misconceptions about happiness and sanity during sleepless nights, and how can new mothers overcome these misconceptions to better care for themselves?

We need to understand that happiness is a journey, not a destination. A journey that is defined by your perspective and behaviour towards yourself. It’s learning new ways and unlearning pre-conceived notions and misconceptions. A good mother means sacrificing your own needs and well-being is the most common misconception.

Our society and popular culture have made us believe that an ideal mother should be the one that compromises and sacrifices for her little one. So, it’s very common for new mothers to feel guilty for taking time to care for themselves and prioritise their own needs, believing that this makes them bad mothers. However, taking care of your mental health is essential for your ability to care for your baby.

Secondly, believing that seeking help is a sign of weakness. As a new mother, you may feel ashamed to seek help for getting proper sleep. However, seeking help is a sign of strength and courage. Understand that only if you are mentally and physically well, will you be able to give your 100% to the baby.

So, to overcome these misconceptions, firstly, prioritise your self-care, and make time for self-care, such as taking a relaxing bath, practising mindfulness, or engaging in a hobby, which can help new mothers feel more refreshed and rejuvenated and in turn, have quality sleep. Secondly, seeking support from friends, family members, or a mental health professional to help them cope with the challenges of sleepless nights.

Thirdly, Educate yourself, Learn more about your sleep cycle, your baby’s sleep cycle, and how much quality sleep you need to function at your best. Quality over quantity always. Fourth, reframe your mindset towards sleepless nights.

Rather than seeing sleepless nights as a sign of failure, new mothers can reframe their mindset and view them as an opportunity to bond with their baby or a me-time opportunity to focus on themself. Finding moments of joy and gratitude during difficult times can help improve mental well-being.

Lastly, Know that this is just a phase which eventually shall pass. Take things at your own pace. “One day at a time” as I always say.

Motherhood is undeniably one of life’s most rewarding experiences, but it doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Stress-induced hypertension is one such challenge that has a profound impact on new mothers.

Managing stress for new mums is very important because a healthier mother nurtures a healthier child. After all, acknowledging and addressing our health issues doesn’t make us any less loving or devoted; on the contrary, it sets a strong foundation for us to better care for our little ones.

Keep learning, keep evolving, and remember – your health matters too.

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Also Read:

Hugs, Love, And Laughter: 11 Fun Self-Compassion Practices For New Mums This Mother’s Day

Skin Care For Mums: The Ultimate Skincare Products List For Healthy Glowing Skin

Cover image source: freepik