My son Jacob was three when I gave birth to my second son, Will. I was genuinely excited to do double duty, but now that I’ve added a new baby to the mix, it often feels like I’m drowning in dirty bottles and onesies. I’m constantly behind on housework, emails—and life, in general. And while I know this is all normal, it’s hard for an overachiever like myself to admit I can’t keep up.
So when I learned about a new wellness app for expectant and new moms just days after Will's birth, I figured I’d give it a try.
The Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Wellness for Expecting and New Moms™ App—a follow-up to the popular Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout® App—is designed to help with exactly those “I feel like I’m losing my mind” new mom moments via guided meditation sessions and quick, easy exercises to boost spirits and stamina.
The app is the brainchild of a team of experts, including, Senior Manager of Content Development at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute (JJHPI), who actually pops up onto the screen once you download and open the app.
“I pulled from my own personal and professional experiences, as well as my closest mom friends, to help inform the content,” says Lea, the mother of two boys. “For example, no one prepares you for the discomfort you’re going to feel while pregnant. I also included topics women don’t typically discuss after childbirth, such as postpartum depression [PPD]. I had a terrible case of the baby blues, and I wanted moms to feel like they're not alone.”
Sure, I was nervous at first at the prospect of adding yet another to-do to my crazy, busy, sleep-deprived life. But the daily sessions were short, and I could do them anywhere, anytime. I actually looked forward to them!
Sometimes I feel a bit selfish when I do things for just me (even though Lea says self-care is critical), but I genuinely never felt guilty doing these activities. If anything, they made me a more confident, strong and mentally stable mom.
Looking to feel better, stronger and more energized this year yourself? Follow along as I retrace my journey from downloading the app with apprehension to considering it my new best friend.
Day 1: Getting started
When I open the app, I’m prompted to rate my energy level, so the app can personalize the session based on my answer. Will actually slept well last night, so I'm thrilled to say I was feeling "Good"—maybe not “Energized,” but better than other options, like “Okay,” “Tired” and “Depleted.”
Today, I'm told we’re going to talk about optimism—even when we're not feeling it. The app asks: 'Do you wish your baby came with instructions?'
Next, I receive an onscreen tip that's both written out and read aloud by Lea, whose voice is oddly soothing, helping me tune out everything around me except the app. She reminds me to try and "be there" for the baby and focus on the little things, not big, out-of-my-hands ones—something I realize I needed to hear.
I'm then offered small, quick activities for an energy boost, like neck tilts (moving my head from left to right and front to back) and ankle extensions (just flexing and pointing my toes). I click "Get Started." (There's also the option to click "I Need Something Different," if you want to skip the activity.)
After I complete the short exercises, I’m asked to visualize a stressful time and a non-stressful time in my life with my eyes closed. The background music (often classical or spa-like) is soothing, as is the two-minute checkout from reality.
At the end of the session, I'm asked whether I want to do "Movement." I don’t (hey, I’m just being honest), but I decide to try it anyway and do some "reach aboves,” where you clasp your hands together and extend them above your head until you feel a slight stretch in your back. I'm supposed to do this for 10 seconds, which is counted off with a handy timer. Up next: "knees to chest."
All of it is easy, which makes me feel accomplished. It doesn’t feel like I went to the gym, but at least I got physical!
Day 3: Why don't babies come with manuals?
Today, I'm told we’re going to talk about optimism—even when we're not feeling it. The app asks: “Do you wish your baby came with instructions?"
YES! In fact, I'd expressed this very wish to the pediatrician earlier that day. I know this is my second child, but that makes me even more stressed out, like I should have it all figured out by now. But it's been three years, and I forget a lot.
I almost fall asleep during this session because it relaxes me so much. At one point, they ask me to do shoulder rolls, and when I do, it almost feels like I am getting a massage.
I also like how the app asks about your energy level after a session, not just before it, because it closes the loop and empowers the mom to know she’s getting stronger, whether mentally (like I am today) or physically.
According to Lea, this is by design. “I want mom to celebrate herself and her capabilities, like being able to function at a high level even with sleep deprivation,” she explains.
At the end, there's a “My Motivation” screen where you fill in the blanks of a mantra, making it your own.
I Want Energy For: MY FAMILY
So That I Can Focus On: WHAT'S IMPORTANT
Day 6: The beauty of routines
I open the app and learn we’re going to focus on “Ritual Building” and how to make the most of your energy by creating new routines.
I love routines. And I need someone to teach me how to handle two kids. So this is almost like having a personal therapist at your fingertips at all times.
Based on the activities given to me today—everything from breathing techniques to tips on prioritizing my schedule—I decide my new schedule will be to get up 30 minutes earlier to give myself time to get ready uninterrupted. Having that time to focus on myself will give me more energy. It’s the one thing I decide on today that will make me a better and more focused mom—and that is empowering.
Day 8: It's a "Depleted" kind of day ...
I've had a difficult afternoon with my older son, and I've been so consumed by him that I've barely worried about Will, which makes me feel guilty. I only slept a couple hours the night before, so "Depleted" feels like the right word to choose when I log into my session.
This app has kept me sane over my first few weeks as a mom of two. It’s also shown me that I’m not alone—that I’m part of this amazing club of women who are working so hard to care for a family and herself at the same time.
The prompts ask me to determine what kind of mom I want to be and the qualities I aspire to have as I grow. This is a comforting reminder that each day is a fresh one. It’s easy to get caught up in all the little details—and frustrations—that pop up on a daily basis, but it’s good to have a bit of a reality check that a day is only 24 hours long.
It’s more important to think about how I want to feel in the weeks and months ahead. It's advice that helps bring me down from a very upsetting afternoon. And that’s another part of the app I love—the feedback is always fresh and new, so I feel like it’s tailored just for me.
That's no mistake. “We worked very hard to ensure that repetition of content is kept to a minimum for the mind and body sessions,” says Lea. “There might be repetition every couple of weeks, but it should not occur after a couple of days.”
Day 11: Skip the laundry. Sleep instead.
I am feeling extremely burnt out, so when the “Willpower” topic pops up, I’m disappointed, thinking I'm going to hear a lecture about healthy eating. And I'm really not in the mood.
Wow, was I wrong.
The app tells me that people often think of willpower as a food issue, but it's more than that: It's having the strength and wherewithal to make healthy decisions for your body, which I hadn't been making in regards to sleep.
To wit, I've been staying up too late to do laundry, wash bottles and write thank-you notes. All of those things need to be done, but I learn I have to get sleep first to be able to do them. I need to better plan and prioritize putting sleep and my body first, so that I'm healthy to take care of the house and my two boys! I don’t think I would have realized this without the advice from the app.
I'm probably not the only user who's come to this conclusion. “Often we connect well-being with only our physical health, but well-being is much more than that," Lea notes. "It’s our emotional resilience, our mental toughness and our connection to purpose.”
One month later ...
The new 7 Minute Wellness app has kept me sane over my first few weeks as a mom of two—Lea, via my smartphone screen, has essentially been a private cheerleader when I needed someone most.
It’s given me the tools to know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, and it’s also shown me that I’m not alone—that I’m part of this amazing club of women who are working so hard to care for a family and herself at the same time.
I know people say “it takes a village” to raise a child, but I’d now add that it takes an app!
Before starting or changing an exercise routine, talk with your healthcare provider about how much and what kind of physical activity is safe for you.