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!

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