5 Practices That Helped Me Manage Postpartum Anxiety and Depression
Nobody can prepare you for your motherhood journey. First, everyone's journey is unique and special in it's own way. You will have good days, bad days, exciting days and horrible days. Sorry, it is true! I mean, I still remember the days when I was sent home from the hospital with an empty peri bottle and a brand new baby. The health care team could have given me a pointer or two about how I would feel once everything sank in and I was sitting at home alone!
"In my opinion postnatal depression is a rather rational response to being left alone at home with a newborn baby and a traumatised body." ~ Luiza Sauma
Unfortunately, we are often stuck in the thick of anxiety and/or depression before we even recognize what is happening to us. Maybe you are having a hard time finding joy in the day to day events or you are feeling angry and are consumed with rage. Whatever you are feeling it deserves to be validated and supported! You deserve to own those feelings and take their power away by talking about them and finding ways to overcome those feelings.
It isn't a walk in the park. They are powerful and can seem to consume us each day which takes us away from our little ones. I always say that my days of postpartum depression robbed me of my babies. It stole those days from me. As soon as I acknowledged how I was feeling I was able to build up strength again and GET THAT POWER BACK!!
It didn't happen overnight but I began to feel like myself again. I was having a more positive outlook on motherhood and felt like a weight had been lifted. I had wonderful support and help from my doctor to find a course of treatment that allowed me to get my life back. But, it wasn't just the medication that helped! I know in many cases moms do not want or do not need medication for their situation but are still looking for solutions. I wanted to share 5 things I did and continue to do that help me manage my Postpartum Anxiety and Depression!
1. Go Outside. I know, you read about this all the time and think to yourself you don't want to leave the house. I know how you feel, leaving the house sucks when you feel exhausted and discouraged. But, trust me! 5 minutes outside can change your entire day! If it is nice outside have your coffee or tea on the deck. Bonus if your baby is napping and you sneak out! Have 1 tomato plant on your deck or front step that forces you to go outside and water it once a day. Any plant will work!
You don't need big projects, to go on long walks or stress yourself out about getting some sun rays. 5 minutes is a good start!
2. Skip Laundry Sorting. I don't know about you but I HATE LAUNDRY! This is such a big stressor for me because it feels like I can never catch up. I empty some baskets and by the end of the day they are half full again. Ugh.
I grew up in a house where laundry was sorted into whites, colors, towels and sheets. I even think jeans were washed separately but as a kid you don't realize how much your parents are doing. Sorry mom! I naturally took on this same sorting method in my own house as this was all I knew. Until 1 day my bestie said "Why do you separate everything? Why don't you just throw it all in so that you have a little bit of everything clean?"
This CHANGED MY LIFE! haha, o.k. not seriously, but it had an impact! I started just doing loads of laundry with anything that was dirty. I am still behind on laundry every day of my life but at least I have a little bit of everything clean.
3. Pick 1 Clean Space. One fuel to the anxiety fire was clutter and mess. I would be fine with toys messed up and things out of place but in the moment of an anxiety explosion I would become overwhelmed with the mess.
The 1 space in my house that makes me feel the best when clean is the kitchen. The sunlight glistening off of the countertops versus dirty dishes can help me feel like I accomplished one thing that day. So, even if the rest of the house is dirty (laundry piled up of course) I focus on tidying up the kitch.
You don't have to pick the kitchen! My house is small and open so the kitchen is always in sight for me. Choose 1 space in your house that you focus on and if you feel overwhelmed just accomplish that one section!
4. Red Raspberry Tea. Did you know that raspberry leaf tea is often known as the woman's herb? After being pregnant, birthing babies, breastfeeding, weaning, and more you could say our hormones seem to be a little out of wack. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, I found this tea to be relaxing any time of the day. I didn't realize how much better I felt until after a few weeks of drinking it I missed a day.
This is just a personal experience with the tea but many traditional medicine sites guided me to try incorporating this tea into my daily routine and I am glad that they did. Known as one of the best herbs for women due to supporting healthy menstruation I felt like it was important to keep me balanced each month.
** Do not use during pregnancy until you talk to your health care provider! **
5. Get a Plant(s). I never realized how much my anxiety grew when I felt like I couldn't control my feelings, lash-outs or situations. Feeling like you are not in control of your own body is scary but it is just a FEELING! You got this!
One evening I was watching "This is Us" and during one of the episodes when I was ugly sobbing, a character talked about taking care of a plant as a method of nourishing something. It was such a great idea! Sometimes T.V. shows are so smart!!
The next day I went and got a plant. Ok, 5 plants, but I will say that was too many. I just needed 1 to care for. When all else feels like it is falling apart and you have no control you can look at your plant and see how your care and attention is important. It sounds nerdy I know, but it helped me!
You don't have to make huge life changes to get out of a rut or to help move yourself in a new direction. Give yourself grace, give yourself love and treat yourself like you deserve to be treated! If you are having feelings that may indicate you are experiencing postpartum anxiety and/or depression then trust me when I say you owe it to yourself to reach out!
You got this!! Thank you for reading this and if you think somebody would enjoy then share away!