staying homeAlthough being a stay-at-home Mom is naturally rewarding, it has its challenges too. One of those challenges, perhaps the biggest challenge of all, is winter. Because as much as you love your infant or toddler, you probably don’t love being cooped up together, all day, every day.

It’s hard to get out in the cold. Bundling up baby can take half the morning and turn errands into a major hassle. Then there are the toilet training toddlers, who suddenly need to “go” once you’ve gotten on the hat, jacket, coat, mittens, and boots. So yeah, I get it. Getting out is hard to do.

So how to fight the winter blues while caring for your little ones? Here are a few tips to help you keep that chin up!

1. Goals. Setting daily goals gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which prevents the dreary leaden moodiness from settling into your bones. A word to the wise though; make sure your “to-do” list is realistic since unreasonable expectations will only lead to frustration and resentment. A day’s goals may be something like this:

  • Do two loads of laundry
  • Prepare and eat a healthy lunch
  • Chat with a friend on the phone or Skype
  • Get ten minutes of exercise

Which brings me to my next pointer:

2. Exercise. Exercising releases endorphins in the brain that create a feeling of happiness, wellness, and well-being. Intense exercise can even bring about a sensation of euphoria, often referred to as “runner’s high.” While new moms may not be feeling up to intense exercise, a consistent daily exercise that gets your heart pumping a little faster will contribute to an overall sense of contentment and well-being.

If you lack the motivation to exercise and feel like “I just can’t get into it,” try listening to some stimulating, fast-paced music. Let the music make you move it never fails!

3. Nutrition. It cannot be overemphasized that what you eat affects how you feel. You make sure to feed your child right—Mom is just as important. Regarding bad-for-you foods, sugar and white flour are the two biggest villains. These particular foods will cause you to feel drowsy, sluggish, and cranky. They also make you crave more of the same, leading to an unhappy cycle. Most people don’t need to eliminate these things from their diet, but cutting back may provide positive results very quickly.

Take the time to plan a day of nutritious meals for yourself. This starts before you go to the supermarket when you compose your shopping list. Whatever you buy is what you will eat, so planning is essential! If you tend to get the munchies, stock up on healthy snacks, like nuts, fruit, vegetables or high-fiber crackers and cereals.

4. Companionship. Make a plan to provide yourself with human companionship. Human contact is one of the best ways to ward off any blues. Being a stay-at-home mom can be lonely, so plan to care for your social needs. Perhaps you have SAHM friends you can get together with for a few hours, a family member you can visit each week. If there’s a playmate for your child in the picture, that’s even better.

Although the effort of getting out to that person may seem daunting, it is a very basic human need that must be attended to.

By Chaya Glatt