10 happiness habits to feel your best as a new mama

6. Find an exercise you actually like. We are sooo there.

10 happiness habits
to feel your best as a new mama

Love your beautiful (and sensitive) face.

Take care of your face by cleaning your skin and washing your pillowcase regularly.

If you suffer from adult (or mommy) acne like I do, my rule of thumb is Sleep-Turn-Sleep-Wash. Sleep on one side of the pillow, turn it over the following night and sleep on the opposite side, and then wash it. Simple and effective.

Stay hydrated.

Although the physical effects of dehydration are subtle, you will realize just how bad you felt when dehydrated once you start to feel good from hydration.

For the past 15 years I have started my day with lemon water. It all started at a photo shoot one day, when my skin was suffering from a bout of adult acne. A makeup artist told me that drinking warm lemon water every morning would help.


Upon studying research on nutrition, I have come to realize that the benefits of hydration are far greater than I could have ever imagined.

Waking up with a glass of warm water with lemon each day kick-start syour digestive system and metabolism.

Small changes like this can make a massive difference in how you feel.

Just think of how dehydrated you are after sleeping all night. Doesn’t it make sense to drink fluids first?

When I take a break from drinking warm lemon water in the morning, I start to notice the difference in how efficient my digestive system is and in my energy level.

Lemons contain bioflavonoids, potassium and vitamin C.

Bioflavonoids are antioxidants that contribute to good heart health and also provide powerful anti-carcinogens.

Potassium stimulates the brain and keeps blood pressure under control.

Antioxidants from vitamin C will help your skin (especially if you are healing from a C-section). Vitamin C is required to produce collagen, a protein that plays a critical role in the structure of our bodies. Collagen is the framework for our skin and our bones. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of iron and acts like a giant fire extinguisher for getting rid of the pollution and toxins that find their way in to our bodies.

Pro tip: Get more water into your day by keeping a bottle with you all the time and by drinking herbal teas (caffeine is a diuretic). Or eat your way to hydration by including water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, like cucumber and watermelon.

Find an exercise you actually like.

Fitness is meant to be fun, and if it’s not for you, then try something new. Life is hard enough without dreading our exercise class or the gym.

There are countless ways to move and be fit. I get bored with a monotonous workout routine, so I switch it up from yoga to Pilates and the gym. But that’s just for me. Do what feels right for your body and mind.

You need to feel good about what you are doing because the body, mind and spirit are all connected.

Say thank you.

Speak these two little words every morning as you wake, and keep a gratitude diary. This should take no more than three minutes each day.

Recent research from Harvard happiness researcher Shawn Achor suggests that picking three things each day that you are grateful for increases your optimism.

This is one of the most powerful tools I use daily, and this habit helped to drag me out of dark times after the birth of my son.

Sometimes we can become too focused on what is going wrong and miss everything that is going right!

Find your wellness formula.

The beauty of life is that we are all so different. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another, so have fun and find a formula that works for you.

In life, we sometimes focus on just one area at a time, such as diet or exercise, but what I have found is that a little of everything is better than a lot of one thing to help you find that balance.

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Stop judging and start supporting.

I have one hard and fast rule: Always try to be there for another mum who needs you.

All mums are working mums—whether you stay at home or go to work. There is no “ideal” situation, as every mama is completely different and faces her own set of daily struggles.

To create a healthy work-life balance, you need to do what’s right for you—including seeking out help from other mamas when you feel the need!

Let your inner mama-glow shine through.

You’re crazy busy, so keep makeup simple and natural. Makeup should be used to highlight your features. I’m definitely a “less is more” girl.

From a health perspective, I have also started to use more natural and paraben-free products—skin products can enter the bloodstream, after all!

When I was recovering from depression and anxiety, I started to understand that the products we use disrupt our endocrine system and our hormones, which are related to mental health.

It’s the cumulative effect of the many skin products we use that cause problems. Our bodies are very good at detoxing naturally but don’t cope as well with being overloaded with environmental toxins, product toxins, bad food and a harmful lifestyle.

Alison Canavan is a health and wellness expert and the author of Minding Mum: It’s Time to Take Care of You. Her book is filled with inspiration for helping new mamas feel their best, inside and out.

We had a chance to catch up with Alison on her experiences as a new mother, overcoming postpartum depression, and the importance of self-care during pregnancy and new motherhood.

Alison offered up her 10 most important “happiness habits” a new mama can establish to take care of herself during this monumental period in life.

Just breathe.

Besides being detrimental to your health, chronic stress is just no fun.

Using mindfulness and meditation can help more than you might think!

It’s simple: If you can breathe, you can meditate.

Breathing is a powerful asset. Bonus: It’s free and readily available 24/7!

As a busy mum, it is oh so easy to feel overwhelmed, but very often just taking a moment to stop and breathe can make all the difference. Stop, breathe and be.

Catch negative thoughts and change them to positive ones.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a pattern of consistent negative thinking without even realizing it. Fortunately, it’s a habit that we can break with practice.

I use my Stop-Catch-Change formula to help end a cycle of negative thinking.

Stop the negative thought, catch it and change it to a positive one.

This may seem unnatural or difficult in the beginning, but it becomes easier with time. I use it to catch negative thoughts about myself, others, work and life in general.

Eat real food.

Our culture has made food very complicated, and there are thousands of diets out there now.

My advice is to keep it simple by eating fresh, whole foods. Go easy on processed foods where possible, and ease up on sugar. But most importantly, eat in a way that feels good for you.

If you are short on time, cook and freeze for the week.

If you are being nutrition-conscious, one easy trick is to try to eat at least one food for each color of the rainbow every day. We have a colored food chart that we put stickers on each day to make eating healthy more fun!

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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