Having a baby is supposed to be a beautiful experience full of love and excitement but, there is a real mental illness that some mothers face and it is more common than what is talked about. Postpartum Depression. As moms, we want to open the dialogue about the not so fun parts of motherhood too, today we will discuss tips on how to cope with PPD. You are not alone.
This blog post was submitted by a guest blogger.
The following are 10 tips to help you Moms with PPD deal with stress.
Pay attention whenever your life speeds up. When life gets really busy, most of us have a tendency to speed up with it. We have a tendency to push our own needs aside whenever we are really busy and we end up making any, or very little, time for our own self-care. We have a tendency to stay up later. We don’t exercise. We forget to eat. We give up our downtime, our breaks, our rest, because we feel like this is necessary in order to get everything done. However this never works, since more often than not, you will end up running out of gas. Then you will crash. We all have a tendency to to forget to put our oxygen mask on first. That leaves us not having anything that we can give to others. So, instead, when you notice that your life is getting busier, rather than rushing to try to meet all of these demands, consciously try to slow yourself down instead. Schedule in breaks, sleep, exercise, and meals. Over the long run, these measures will really save you.
Adopt a mantra: “I’m okay even when I don’t really feel it.” “I matter.” “This too shall pass.” It can be anything that will help remind yourself that you are trying to do your best, that you aren’t super human, and during those times that you aren’t feeling great doesn’t equate to you not being a great person.
Take care of a cold. Whenever you notice any early symptoms of emotional stress (getting teary, belly upset, headache, tension, emotional distress), nourish yourself in the same way that you would with earl signs of having a cold. Whenever you wake up with a runny nose or sore throat, do you run out to workout for an hour, or stay up really late? Hopefully, not. Do what you can to prevent the flu. Eat lots of protein and vegetables. Get enough rest. Take care to be kind to yourself like you would if you noticed you had early signs of having physical distress.
Allow yourself to feel bad when necessary. With all of piling up of household chores, childcare demands, increased workload, hormonal shifts, and changes in weather, it is nearly impossible to not feel overwhelmed. Keep in mind that it isn’t these feelings of being overwhelmed that are problematic. It is whether or not you take good care of yourself after you become aware of them.
Speak with someone. Talk to your best friend or husband or a store clerk when they ask you about your day. Whenever tension is help inside of us, it invariably builds up to the point where there isn’t room to store any more. Allow yourself some space inside. If you feel the need a therapist can be a great aid for something like this.
Breathe. Whenever we are stressed all of us have a tendency to be physically tense and also take shallow, short breaths from our chest. We only use a limited part of our overall lung capacity. Whenever we physically respond to a situation or event in this manner, we are telling our brains that they need to panic. Even when that isn’t actually true. Your brain needs to have an adequate amount of oxygen in order for it to function in an effective manner. And you actually have a great deal of control over that. When you practice diaphragmatic or deep belly breathe it can literally change the physiological response you have to stress.
Know this too will pass. It really will. It is very important to keep things in perspective during stressful time periods in your life. This is also the first thing that goes whenever you become anxious or depressed. Remind yourself “this too shall pass” or another mantra that is meaningful to you.
Avoid caffeine, drugs, and alcohol. It is very easy drinking too many glasses of coffee or wine when you aren’t feeling good, since it feel like will be helpful in the moment. However, the truth is, alcohol or drugs won’t help you feel any less depressed (since they are depressants after all), and caffeine is a stimulant so it won’t help you feel any less anxious.
Acknowledge any cognitive distortions that you have. That is what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on, and we know a lot about why and how our thoughts impact how we feel. Overestimating threats, fortune telling, “what if” thinking, discounting coping skills, discounting the positives, all-or-nothing thinking, should statements, or catastrophic thinking all can invariably make you feel terrible.
Be aware of what your emotional limits are. Frequently, managing just your stress won’t be sufficient. Don’t hesitate to see a therapist since you might need to have some additional support during stressful times. At times, you will just need to have one or two sessions.