Most mothers will admit that motherhood is the hardest job you’ll ever love. It takes up so much energy, attention, and resources. When a mother isn’t particularly careful and mindful of how she’s feeling, the journey can lead her to a dark place. This is why it’s important to be extremely intentional about the way you navigate the first year of motherhood. If you’re an expectant mother, in the first year of motherhood or plan to become one in the future, consider the following tips for navigating the first year of motherhood.

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

A lot of women tend to get consumed with the ways their bodies change after childbirth. Whether the weight falls off quickly or tends to stick stubbornly, be gentle. Remember that your body was the home to your baby for almost a year. If it takes time to embrace your new body, that’s okay. Just remember to celebrate what your body did and speak kindly to yourself when you’re in the mirror.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Managing a new baby can feel all-consuming because simple tasks like going to the grocery store can take forever. Just packing up the diaper bag and stroller can take forever. While there are grocery delivery services and same-day shipping systems, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Call a close friend or family member to watch the baby while you take a nap, run a few errands, or get a massage. If you’re unsure how to wrap an infant in the crib, ask a friend or look online. Even if you need a listening ear, know who you can call to let it out.

3. Recognize When You’re Feeling Down

When you’re taking care of a newborn, you’re probably not getting a lot of sleep. If you’re able to get into a sleep-training rhythm, that’s amazing. However, most mothers experience lots of fatigue, exhaustion, and frustration. As a result, their emotions get out of wack. While it’s one thing to chalk it up to the circumstances, it’s important to note that there’s a strong possibility that postpartum depression can settle in. Before it gets to that place, it’s best to explore postpartum depression treatment options. If you need to talk to a counselor, please do it. Professional therapists and psychiatrists can walk you through the different ways you can alleviate the symptoms and find joy on the other side.

4. Develop Nutritional Habits

What you eat can directly impact your mood. If you choose to breastfeed, it will also affect the baby’s milk as well. Choose to eat whole foods that are high in nutritional value. Take the right vitamins, supplements, and use natural products to both strengthen and purify your body. Always keep a water bottle close by so that you can remain hydrated through the entire process.

5. Move

As soon as you get clearance from your doctor, walk. Walking is so good for your overall health and strength. As the weather permits, get outside to get some fresh air. It’ll boost your mood, help your digestive system, and encourage efficient blood flow.

When you’re in the trenches, it can be tough to remember these details. This is why it’s good to set up as much as you can in advance. When you’re aware, you can prepare. Even if you don’t get a chance to prepare, always remember to stay in the moment and do the best you can with each one. As you focus on the present moment and work on doing the best you possibly can, the first year will fly by.