Life with a baby and a career has been a huge adjustment. Before Fox I lived a fast-paced lifestyle as the editor of not one but fourteen magazines. This in-office job kept me on my toes while under the constant deadlines of seven magazines printing per month.
After I had Fox everything stayed the same – except I did my entire job from home.
If I had to name my three strengths at work they would be my organizational skills, ability to multi-task, and capacity to prioritize. So adding motherhood to my task list should’ve been a breeze, yes?
Not so fast. After Fox, I immediately fell into a slight postpartum depression. I can’t even begin to describe it properly. I was failing at breastfeeding, hurting from labor wounds and a ridiculous case of PUPPP, and sleep deprived. It truly broke my heart that I couldn’t give my child 100% of me. All of that mixed with a four-month-long case of colic and acid reflux that began around day six, and I found myself crying the majority of each day. I thought this would never end and I didn’t know how to fix it.
One day Tyler brought home a jigsaw puzzle for me to work on as a way to relieve stress. I silently handed him our screaming baby with tears streaming down my face and thought, “Such a sweet gesture, but is a puzzle really going to make me feel relaxed and happier?” Well, yes! Yes it did. Within minutes that horrible feeling was easing up. The time that I spent that night trying to find the right pieces to fit into place wiped my mind blank and the end results were equally gratifying.
Since that day I have tried my best to maintain a healthy balance of motherhood, work, and relaxation. Not every day is perfect, but they can’t always be.
Here are 10 easy stress busters that have helped me to achieve a healthier mind:
1. Dinner Kits – I have to admit that I felt a little bit defeated when I signed up for delivery dinner kits, but I did it out of desperation when our pizza delivery person seemed to know our baby’s sleep schedule. If you find little time in your schedule I urge you to try a food delivery kit program. We use Gobble which is available in California and Nevada. Our meals are delivered every Tuesday (we chose five for next week: Chicken Provencal with Basil Pesto Ravioli, Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Pea Risotto & Baby Carrots, Linguine & Clams with Artichoke Hearts & Heirloom Tomatoes, Thai Yellow Curry Chicken with Yukon Potatoes, Peas & Carrots, and Summer Squash Polenta Skillet) and they go straight from a well-packed cold box to our fridge. They use only one pan to prepare and cook within 10 minutes. Plus, I’ve noticed a significant change in my weight since eating better and we’re ultimately saving money not having to grocery shop.
2. Coloring Books – These babies are not just for kids! From travel to pop culture and home design, it’s easy to clear your thoughts when spending some alone time with a good coloring book. All of these are under $13!
3. Fresh Air – For the days that I know I can’t step away from my email for a quiet lunch, I like to bring the baby outside and work from my phone. Even if just for a few short minutes, the fresh air helps me to not feel so cooped up. Plus, Fox has a major thing with palm trees right now – haha. It’s a win-win.
4. Be Prepared – When I was pregnant with Fox (who came with a due date of Feb. 3), I had all Christmas and birthday gifts through March purchased by Halloween. Everyone thought I was nuts, but when it came time for the holidays and baby I was super relaxed. Pro tip: create a free Amazon Prime account and make a private wish list for anyone you’d like to buy for throughout the year. Whenever I come across something that reminds me of someone I know, I save the item to the wish list. Tyler’s wish list has been running for years now and it’s so nice to reference it for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, or even to send to my parent’s when they need an idea for him.
5. Talk to Yourself – Admit it, you do it. Whether it be in the car, in the shower, or when you’re getting ready in front of the mirror. Sometimes talking over a situation out loud can help bring clarity to the surface. It’s kind of like sounding out a word, but in thought form.
6. Jigsaw Puzzles – Yes, we’ve covered this one – but I can’t stress it enough! My favorite routine is flipping on reruns of The Office on Netflix and going to town. Here are a few of my favorites. Oh, and if you have pets or small kids, do yourself a favor and get one of these.
7. Inbox Zero – Do not go to sleep with outstanding emails in your inbox! There is nothing worse than going to bed with a laundry list of items to take on and then waking up with double that before the clock hits 9 a.m.
8. Light a Candle – There’s something about the warm scent of a candle that envelopes the room and turns everything into pure magic. Generally I love the candles that smell like fall and baked goods, but lately I’ve really liked floral as well.
9. Tune Out – Turn off the TV, look away from the phone, and log out of your email. Give yourself a breather each night from screen time and just breathe a little. It always makes me feel refreshed, even if I don’t feel like I want to.
10. Stay Organized/Like Your Space – Cute little office items have a strange way of making the work day a little more fun. Spruce up your desk area and like the spot you’re in.
Moving forward, I have one major goal for myself: move my “office” into my real home office and out of my bedroom! Keeping everything in the same room is making it impossible to put the work down and realize the work day is done.
Do you stay at home, work in office, or work at home? What are your experiences with the path you chose? I’m eager to hear all sides of the spectrum.
*Please note that if you’re feeling blue for an extended period of time it is best to speak with someone! There’s always someone that will lend an ear, whether it be friends, family, a licensed professional, or me.