I don’t know if you know this but babies are stressful.
“WHAAAAAATTT!?!?!”, you say.
Yup. Cute, snuggly, laughing, stress-inducing poop and puke machines.
The problem? Stress is one of the top culprits for maintaining a soft middle. We talked last week about the hormone cortisol. It is a hormone that gets released during fight or flight moments to help our bodies deal with in the moment panics. I don’t know about you but pretty much every moment that my son is awake, I am in fight or flight mode.
So how do we combat this constant barrage of cortisol flooding? Working in.
Working in is (kind of) the opposite of working out. It is the time we take to lower the adrenaline in our bodies, to slow down our central nervous system, and to really focus on our breath and thoughts.
There are a couple ways you can incorporate Working in into your schedule.
1) Yoga. I am sure I don’t have to pimp the benefits of yoga. This form of meditative exercise has been around longer than dinosaurs. Give or take a couple years. It teaches your body to work as a unit, stretching with your breath, focusing inwards instead of outwards. Luckily yoga is pretty accessible now. You can find classes online (youtube or Yogaglo) or you can search your local neighbourhood. Really try and find a class that is calming like Yin instead of Power or Bikram which is pretty intense.
2) Meditation. This is the thing I get the most pushback from Mamas who I train. I get it. We are all busy and important and too stressed to take 10 minutes out of our friggin’ day to sit still and breathe and try not to think about the laundry and the diapers and the bills. But Mama Bear, all of these things are the very reason why you NEED meditation in your life. It should be a non-negotiable. Grab 10 minutes during nap time or once your little one goes to bed. I promise promise promise this one act with change your life. I pinky swear. Some great resources for beginners are the app Headspace which is a 10 day beginners challenge and the Deepak Chopra centre’s website that frequently holds 30 day challenges, growing from 5 minutes a day to 15. All free.
With these two tools you will quickly lower your cortisol levels and by proxy, some of the belly softness that sticks around for so long post-birth.
Stay tuned for the big follow-up next week where I pull all of this together.
Baby Mama and Body Boss,