May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. Parenthood is filled with ups and downs, which means prioritizing self-care is a must. Recharging will allow parents to put their best foot forward every day for their family, friends, and themselves. We’ve outlined four ways that parents can recharge to feel their best.

1. Learn to Say No

Parents have a lot on their plates. From play dates, household chores, and work, life can feel pretty overwhelming. Learning to say “no” will help you be able to free up some of your time. By opening up your schedule and calendar, you’re less likely to feel burnt out in the long run. Some parents are people pleasers, so this may be difficult as this isn’t something they’re used to. Starting slow can help parents feel more comfortable with this process. Look into different ways to say “no.” What approach you take will depend on what kind of situation you’re in. This is something that’ll be easier each time you do it. Learning to say “no” can be a challenge, but it’s something that has the potential to change any mom’s life.

2. Create a Personal Space

Personal space isn’t easy to come by as a parent. You may start to feel like you’re losing your grip on what you thought was your own space. Living rooms turn to playrooms, and master bedrooms turn into nurseries. Since kids can get into every nook of your home this may result in you feeling like a stranger in your own space. To combat this, create a relaxing space where you can recharge. Start by picking out where you want to create this new area. This could be in a living room, bedroom, or even a garage. Once you have the location selected, start by getting a sense of what kind of environment you want to create. Pick something that speaks to you and that you’d enjoy being around. Have fun with the colors, decorations, and other personal touches.

You’ll want to make sure that your new personal space is something that fits your budget. For those working with a smaller budget, home improvement projects such as a new paint color, a fresh landscape, or upgraded showerheads, are all great options that don’t break the bank. If you’re working with a larger budget, consider utilizing a home equity line of credit. A HELOC allows you to use your home’s equity to fund those bigger home projects. No matter what budget you’re working with, creating a personal space will help parents feel more calm and comfortable in their home.

3. Start Journaling

Journaling is a great way for parents to recharge. We often face a wide range of emotions on any given day. Writing down your thoughts and feelings will allow you to express and reflect on what you’re experiencing. By taking the time to journal, you’ll make sure that you’re putting your mental health first. Journaling doesn’t have to only be done when you’re feeling down. Journaling positive experiences or memories is a great way to boost your mood. Furthermore, you can look back on your own words in the future and remember all that you went through. If the quiet alone time isn’t convincing enough, there are an abundance of journaling benefits. Parents can take advantage of all that journaling has to offer to improve their overall well-being. Getting started with journaling can be tricky for some people. Check out these journal prompts for moms to take the first step.

4. Be Active

Physical activity is one of the best ways to recharge. You may find it challenging to find the time to work out. That’s where an accountability partner can come in handy. A trustworthy workout buddy allows you to stay on track to hit your goals as well as motivates you when things get tough. For new parents, finding an accountability partner who’s also a new parent can be a rewarding experience as they know how hard life can be. Since everyone has different preferences for working out, there are a variety of ways to stay active. Walks are an easy way to get outside and get moving. When walking, you can listen to a podcast or even bring your accountability partner along. Another way to get moving is through yoga. Yoga can help parents feel more grounded and mindful. Making time to be active will help you feel more energized and ready for your day. Setting goals and sticking to a plan can ensure that moms get the most out of their physical activity.

Maternal mental health must be treated as a priority. There’s no doubt that it can be hard to start putting yourself first, but the benefits are substantial. Little self-care moments throughout the day have the power to boost your mood and clear your mind. Your self-care journey will take some trial and error, but it’ll always pay off in the end.

Learn a multitude of ways to support new parents by attending ChildLight’s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, ChildLight’s Yoga for Babies & Toddlers Teacher Training & ChildLight’s Doula Training!