I Tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and This is What Happened

Online therapy can be a great tool for busy moms.

For the past few months, I’ve been dealing with depression, despite being on anti-depressants.  I assumed it was triggered by the chronic pain I have been experiencing since developing scar tissue adhesions following my hysterectomy for endometriosis. Having suffered from depression off and on since being diagnosed with postpartum depression many years ago, I didn’t want to let it get out of control.  So I thought it was time to try out cognitive behavioral therapy via Online-Therapy.com.

Here’s a look at what my experience was like with online therapy.
I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
*This is NOT a sponsored post but it does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy


How Does Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy Work?

I have tried online therapy before, in the form of online talk therapy.  That means that I’ve video chatted with a licensed therapist to discuss my thoughts and feelings.  I’ve also done talk therapy in person, so online talk therapy wasn’t much different from that, aside from the convenience of it. 

But cognitive behavior therapy at online-therapy.com is a completely different world.  First of all, it’s not talk therapy.  It’s a series of activities that you do in order to help reprogram your brain.  The idea being that if you can change your way of thinking, you can change your behaviors and ultimately, your mood.

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Secondly, you do it all at your own pace.  I decided to be more aggressive and try to complete all the sections in 30 days.  This meant that I was logging on and completing at least one worksheet every couple of days.  But there is no timeline, no deadlines, no schedules, no specific hours of availability.  You can complete a worksheet in the middle of the night if you want to! 

And finally, while you’re doing it all on your own, you’re never actually alone.  You’re assigned one therapist to work with you throughout the entire process.  As you complete sections and worksheets, your therapist will leave comments about what you’ve written.  You can schedule a weekly live chat and you can email your therapist whenever you need to. Over the 30 days, I really did develop a bond with my therapist and looked forward to connecting with her during the weekly chats.

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The Benefits of Working Solo

I’ve always been better working at my own pace.  Some days I would complete an entire section with it’s corresponding worksheets, and other days I would just do part of a section and one worksheet.  And while the worksheets are designed for self-reflection, I always looked forward to getting that notification that my therapist had responded to my answers.  When it was time for our live chat session, I couldn’t wait to talk to her about some of the things we had worked on.  She always had great input and feedback about the things I’d written in my worksheets.

While it was reassuring that my therapist was always there for me, I also felt empowered that I was taking control of my own thoughts and emotions.  The worksheets really made me think.  I was responsible for examining my own negative behaviors and how I responded to certain triggers.  Taking ownership of my reactions to common situations made me want to change my behaviors even more. 

Towards the last few sections, I became much more efficient at recognizing my negative thoughts and behaviors and how to replace them with positive ones, or healthier negative ones.  At the time, I found some of the worksheets to be repetitive, but now I see that was done on purpose.  Having to recall certain thoughts and behaviors over and over meant finding out which ones affected me the most. 

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The Online Therapy Toolbox

The sections and worksheets are just one part of the cognitive behavior therapy process.  In order to get the most out of therapy, I needed to make some life changes. 

Yoga and meditation was something I have been wanting to incorporate into my daily life for a while now.  In the online therapy toolbox, there are a series of yoga videos that I can access at any time, and they include both short workouts and longer ones.  

The online journal was another great tool available 24/7.  As a writer, journaling has been something I’ve started and stopped several times throughout my life.  But the online therapy journal isn’t just a blank page for me to write in all my thoughts, instead there were specific questions I needed to answer each day to get me thinking about how I wanted to feel. This made it easy for me to set goals each morning and be accountable for achieving those goals each evening.  

The action plan was a place where I was really accountable for making progress.  As I went through the online therapy course, I scheduled specific activities to help me get better.  Things like yoga, exercise, socializing events and health appointments.  As I completed each activity on my action plan, I checked off that it was done and it was added to my “ta-da” list (instead of a to-do list).  Seeing all the actions I had completed towards improving my mental health gave me a sense of accomplishment. 

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Getting a Diagnosis

As I go through and complete the worksheets, my therapist reads all of my answers.  She leaves a comment within 24 hours and I can reply if I want to.  She was able to divulge certain things from my answers that I didn’t immediately see.  Together, we came to the conclusion that I was suffering from some trauma related to my hysterectomy.  I realized that I hadn’t grieved for the loss of my uterus in the right way and therefore, every time I felt pelvic pain, I was reminded of that loss. 

Following that revelation, I began to work on activities to help me grieve.  I started to write about the loss and allow myself to feel the emptiness, even cry about it.  I now have an answer as to why the pain causes me to be depressed, and I have an action plan in place on how to replace that depression with something more positive. 

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Was 30 Days of Therapy Enough?

The thing about cognitive behavior therapy is that it’s not something someone else does for you.  It’s something you learn to do yourself.  It’s not like getting a massage, it’s more like learning how to drive.  Once you learn how to change your thinking, it’s something you need to continue to do regularly.  And the more you practice, the better and more confident you will get. 

Online-therapy.com offers a course in cognitive behavior therapy.  How long it takes you to complete the course is up to you. I managed to complete the entire course in 30 days but that doesn’t signal the end of my therapy.  I now need to take everything I’ve learned and put into practice in my every day life. 

Others may need longer than 30 days to complete the course and may want additional therapist support along the way.  Thankfully, sessions are billed monthly and you can stop at any time with the click of one button. And you’ll still have access to your toolbox even after the subscription ends, so you can continue with the yoga and meditation, journal entries and action plan. 

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In Conclusion

This was the right form of therapy for me because I find it easier to write out my emotions than to voice them.  I was also in a place where I wanted to get better, and I wanted to take ownership of my own mind and moods.  Those things were key to getting the most out of the online therapy experience. 

If you’re not quite ready to do it on your own, consider the package that allows two live chats a week instead of one, so that you have that additional support.  Online-therapy.com costs less than traditional talk therapy because you’re not paying for someone else’s time by the hour.  I put off doing it for a long time because of the cost associated with it.  But eventually I needed to prioritize my own mental health, no matter the cost. 

So whatever your struggle is, I urge you to consider this option.  You may not find a diagnosis or the root cause of your mental health issues in just 30 days, and you definitely don’t need to.  For many people, mental health disorders are a lifelong battle.  You may need to do multiple rounds of therapy or try a combination of treatment options to find relief.  But if you’re interested in learning how to take control of your own mind and moods, then cognitive behavior therapy might be for you. 

Click here to sign up for Online-Therapy.com and get 20% off your first month.

100 Self Care Ideas That Are Social Distancing Approved

Anyone who isn’t currently practicing social distancing is putting others at risk.

With the COVID-19 Coronavirus on the loose, many people are retreating to their homes and avoiding large groups, i.e. social distancing.  Not all are finding this is easy, with the Millennials and Gen Z’s getting most of the blame.  Whether you’re currently serving a 14 day self isolation, or you’re still working and living life, you’ve likely noticed an increased level of boredom.  Most places are closed, events are cancelled, and even hanging out with friends is frowned upon. So what are you supposed to do during this quarantine? 

Well, my friends, it sounds like the perfect time to practice self care!
100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Pamper Your Body

With the added amount of stress due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, your body is likely in less than optimal health.  Social distancing provides us with an unlimited amount of time for self care without feeling guilty.  We don’t have to sacrifice time for self care because we suddenly have an abundance of it.  (Besides, with all the frequent hand washing and cleaning, I’m sure we could all use a little extra pampering.)

1. Soak in the bathtub with a bath bomb or Epsom salts.

2. Take a thermotherapy shower by starting hot and finishing cold.

3. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.

4. Deep condition your hair. 

5. Apply a face mask.

6. Dry brush your skin

7. Exfoliate.

8. Moisturize.  

9. Give yourself a massage

10. Try acupressure

11. Get plenty of sleep.  

12. Do a detox. 

13. Drink lots of water

14. Make a smoothie or fresh green juice.

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Work on Your Mental Health

The media coverage on the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has us all stressing out.  All of the stress and anxiety is bound to have a detrimental effect on our mental health.  Plus, having to stay isolated can exacerbate those symptoms. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to use this time of self isolation and social distancing to work on improving our mood and mental health. 

15. Try online cognitive behavior therapy.  

16. Sign up for talk therapy via video conference 

17. Practice meditation.  

18. Listen to music.  

19. Do yoga. 

20. Write in a journal. 

21. Light incense or diffuse essential oils.  

22. Listen to a podcast.  

23. Find a way to help a charity.  

24. Read a self help book

25. Nurture a house plant.  

I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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Laugh and Play

Self care should never be all work and no play.  In fact, laughter is a great mood booster and we should find all kinds of ways to laugh and be playful, even while social distancing.  

26. Play a video game or app. 

27. Play a board game.  

28. Work on a large puzzle.  

29. Doodle a mandala. 

30. Watch your favorite movies. 

31. Laugh along with some stand up comedy or a funny movie. 

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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Keep in Touch

We often think of self care as being alone but taking care of ourselves means doing good things for others, spending time with those we love and sharing pieces of who we are.  This might seem hard to do while practicing social distancing, but there are still ways to keep in touch with others. 

32. Call a friend.

33. Video chat with someone.

34. Make a YouTube video.

35. Write someone an email.

36. Send a letter.

37. Mail a care package.

38. Deliver gift baskets to neighbors.

39. Decorate your front window.

40. Host a Netflix watch party.

Hygge Lifestyle
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Spend Time Outside

We need to spend as much time outside as possible while social distancing.  Of course it’s important to stay away from crowds and limit our interactions as much as possible, but accessing fresh air is so important for our bodies both physically and mentally. 

41. Sit in your backyard.

42. Take a nap outside.

43. Lounge in a hammock.

44. Do yard work.

45. Go for a walk around the neighborhood.

46. Go for a drive in the country.

47. Eat a meal outside.

48. Pitch a tent in your backyard and camp out for a night.

49. Paint your fence or deck.

50. Make a fairy garden.

51. Paint some rocks.

52. Have an outdoor bonfire.

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Declutter Your Space

Decluttering is a form of self care because it’s something that we tend to put off doing.  Then the clutter sits there, reminding us of our failures and causing undue stress.  Use this time at home to deep clean, declutter and minimize possessions. 

53. Deep clean your kitchen and bathrooms.

54. Repaint or redecorate a room in your house.

55. Sort through your wardrobe and donate any clothes you don’t wear.

56. Organize your home KonMari style.

57. Clean out your closets.

58. Sort through your shoes.

59. Sort through your accessories and jewelry.

60. Declutter your cabinets.

61. Clean out your makeup bag.

62. Clean the garage or basement.

63. Go through all your old electronics, DVD’s, CD’s, cables, etc.

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Tap into your Artistic Side

Art therapy is a super important way to practice self care while social distancing.  Being creative means using our brains as well as developing hand eye coordination.  Even if you don’t consider yourself an artistic person, you might be surprised with what you can come up with.

64. Draw or paint a picture.

65. Sketch something outside your window.

66. Color in a coloring book.

67. Create your own story book.

68. Make a craft completely out of recycled material.

69. Build something out of wood.

70. Make your own dough and sculpt something.

71. Build a bird house.

72. Bake cookies, cupcakes or some other type of delicious dessert.

73. Cook a hearty homemade soup or stew.

74. Start an indoor herb garden.

75. Sew, knit, crochet or macrame.

Art Therapy
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Learn Something New

Use this opportunity to learn something.  Learning is a way to improve our brain health.  Plus it offers a distraction from anxiety and loneliness and can boost our self esteem.  As adults, we often refrain from learning new things, or we start them but never seem them through.  Learning a new skill or hobby is truly making the most of social distancing.

76. Take an online class.

77. Watch YouTube tutorial videos.

78. Read an instructional book.

79. Watch a documentary.

80. Find a new way to utilize something you don’t use anymore.

81. Take an online photography course.

82. Practice hand lettering or calligraphy.

83. Learn how to play a musical instrument.

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Get Your Heart Pumping

Exercise is one of the most important parts of self care.  There’s no excuses while locked up at home with nothing to do.  If your local gym is closed, check to see if they’re offering online workout videos instead.  And don’t worry if you don’t have a home gym, there are so many different ways to stay physically active at home. 

84. Ride a stationary bike or run on a treadmill.

85. Try some online workout videos.

86. Stretch.

87. Dance.

88. Plank.

89. Run up and down the stairs.

90. Focus on improving your pelvic floor health.

91. Work out with an exercise ball.

92. Skip rope.

93. Climb a tree.

94. Do squats and/or lunges.

95. Jump on a trampoline.

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Be Present 

The world looks a little scary right now.  Try to focus on the positive aspects instead.  We are living in a moment of history, so document it.  Take photos, write about it and enjoy every single moment.  Use your time wisely and continue to have hope for the future.  When this is all over, will you come out of it a better person?

96. Take at least one photo each day.

97. Cuddle with your spouse, kids, pet or even a stuffed animal.

98. Sit peacefully and do absolutely nothing.

99. Work on your bucket list.

100. Make a list of everything you miss doing and plan to do again once this global pandemic is over.


100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
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How To NOT Feel Isolated While in Self Isolation

Self isolation is the recommended course of action for many during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Those who have recently traveled, have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who are sick are putting themselves into self isolation.  This basically means to quarantine yourself within your home for two weeks.  And further more, social distancing has us all keeping away from friends and public places.  With all of this isolation and anxiety, how does a person avoid actually feeling isolated?  For moms with mental health issues, isolation can actually make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse, so it’s important to have some ways to manage the loneliness. 

During self isolation, try some of these tips to avoid feeling lonely.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation

Most people, especially moms, will not actually be alone during their self isolation or social distancing.  Spouses and children will likely be in isolation with them.  It’s hard to say whether this makes it better or worse for a woman with postpartum depression or anxiety.  Having the family around 24/7 might become overwhelming very quickly.  

While it’s great to embrace this gift of family time, make sure that each person is also getting enough alone time to themselves each day.  This could be quiet reading or doing a quiet activity all in one room, or have everyone separate into different rooms for an hour or two each day.  This will surely benefit everyone’s mental health during the isolation period.

If the entire family is beginning to feel isolated from the outside world, then consider some of these options.

Make a Connection

Even though we can’t go out and socialize with our friends right now, we can still make connections with others.  We need to stick together, especially during these uncertain times. This is something we should be doing daily or at least a few times a week in order to maintain our mental health.

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Phone a friend or family member. Simply talking to another human being helps you avoid isolation.

Video chat with a friend or family member.  It helps to see another familiar face from time to time, and not just hear their voice.  This is also a great option for younger kids.

Write a letter to someone.  It doesn’t even have to be someone you know.  Consider writing letters with your kids to senior’s homes, hospitals, government offices, army bases, etc.  It would make someone’s day.

Write an email to someone.  Same as above, but send it online instead.  You can find e-mail addresses for most places on their websites.  Let your favorite local shop know how much you miss their store/business while it’s closed, and can’t wait to be back there again. 

Read a book or watch a movie.  Going on adventures with the characters in a book or a movie is another way to help you feel less lonely and isolated.  Now is a great time to start binge watching that TV series you’ve been wanting to start.

Adopt or foster a pet. If you’re going to be locked up inside the house for weeks anyway, why not foster a pet to keep you company?  You could all benefit from the company during this anxious time.

Find a Distraction

Don’t count the days of self isolation on a calendar, find a way to pass the time.  Keeping the mind distracted is a great way to avoid things like intrusive or anxious thoughts while you are quarantined at home. 

Art Therapy
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Cook or Bake.  Don’t do it with the intention of “getting dinner on the table” as that will likely stress you out even more. Spend a day cooking some homemade soup or baking fresh bread or muffins with the kids.  Take your time and don’t worry about the mess. 

Clean.  Self isolation is the perfect time to clean out that closet you’ve been avoiding for months.  Start your spring cleaning early and tackle on the big messes that you never have time for. Decluttering is also a great way to maintain your mental health. 

Craft.  You can find hundreds of crafts you can do with the kids on Pinterest.  Or maybe you’d rather do something just for you?

Learn something new.  Nothing keeps the brain busier than learning. If you’re planning on homeschooling the kids, that will keep all of your brains busy.  Trying to pick up a new skill?  Now is the perfect chance to focus on it undisturbed for weeks!

Leave the House

If you’re in self isolation or practicing social distancing, you should be avoiding other people and public places.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be locked up within the walls of your house.  There are still several ways that you can safely leave the house in order to avoid complete isolation.

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Spend time in your own backyard.  Good weather or not, spending some time each day in your own backyard is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Walk around the neighborhood.  You can also go for a walk in your own neighborhood, especially on a sunny day.  The natural Vitamin D not only helps to boost your mood, but the coronavirus doesn’t survive long in the sun. 

Go for a drive.  Why not pack the kids into the minivan and go for a drive in the country?  See if you can spot any wildlife or signs of spring.  Take photos along the way and compile an album.  Stop for a picnic lunch on the side of the road and play some fun family car games. 

Work on Yourself

Having weeks of undisturbed time at home means you finally have the chance to focus on yourself.  This global pandemic is going to change our entire world in ways we never imagined.  Let’s begin to prepare for the aftermath of it by using our self-isolation time to reflect on our lives. 

100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
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Exercise. There’s no better way to avoid stress, anxiety, depression and isolation than to exercise daily.  Exercise is so important for both our physical and mental health.  You don’t need a home gym, either.  Watch yoga videos on YouTube or turn on some music and dance!

Read self help books. Maybe you’ll actually finish some of those books that you’ve been saving for when you have time.  Or try listening to some inspirational podcasts.

Try cognitive behavior therapy. If you’ve been putting off therapy because of a lack of time, self isolation is the perfect time to try online therapy. By completing an online therapy course, you can emerge from self-isolation with better tools to help you be successful in life. 

Meditate. Download a guided meditation app or simply spend time being mindful and grateful. Practice deep breathing and stretching for optimal health.  Turn on an essential oil diffuser and listen to some soothing meditation music. 

Focus on the positive. Self isolation is not the ideal situation for everyone. You may be worried about your job and bills and having enough food.  Instead, try to find something positive to focus on each day and write it down.  At the end of this quarantine, you can look back at this time and feel the happy moments instead of the negative ones. 

Make plans for the future.  Thinking about the future is a great way to avoid isolation and anxiety about the coronavirus. Sit down as a family and decide what things you’d like to do when this is all over.  Maybe you’ve learned to live with less or have realized where your true priorities are.  This is the time to set goals and make plans for the rest of this year.


Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression – Are You at Risk?

Does postpartum depression put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is officially a global pandemic and causing all kinds of anxiety and uncertainty.  It can be especially hard on new moms who are already dealing with mental health issues.   Moms with postpartum depression might see an increase in their symptoms during this time.  Yes, it’s a stressful time for everyone, but could moms with mental health issues actually be at a higher risk?

If you have postpartum depression, find out if you are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 
Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression: Are you at Risk?
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression


Those most at risk for contracting coronavirus include the sick, elderly and people with a weakened immune system Many mothers with postpartum depression may suffer from a weak immune system, which is what puts them in the high-risk category.  Depending on how recently a mother has given birth, her immune system may not have had a chance to recover properly.  And certain behaviors caused by postpartum depression can affect our immune systems as well. 

Symptoms of a weakened immune system:

    • Frequent and long lasting illnesses and infections
    • Fatigue
    • Digestion issues (diarrhea, nausea, constipation)
    • New or increased allergies
    • Joint pain or inflammation

Think about whether or not you seem to catch every cold or still get the flu despite getting the flu shot.  Do your symptoms drag on for a long time? Do your wounds take long to heal?   These are all warning signs that you could have a weak immune system.  And if you’re likely to catch a cold from someone sneezing nearing you, then you’re also likely to catch coronavirus.

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How does postpartum depression cause a weakened immune system?

Stress

Stress is the number one culprit when it comes to a weakened immune system.  High levels of stress can increase our cortisol levels and decrease our lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight off infection).  This imbalance within our bodies makes us more susceptible to viruses, like COVID-19.  Moms with postpartum depression and anxiety often find themselves under a lot of stress.  It’s never easy to manage the kids and a household, while trying to maintain our own mental health. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

Sleep Deprivation

New moms, especially those with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, are not getting nearly enough sleep as they need to.  Chronic sleep deprivation can affect our immune system in a negative way.  Normally while we sleep, our body works to produce certain antibodies that help us fight infection.  Sleep is also our body’s time to recharge and refill.  But when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system goes into overdrive.  Then it doesn’t work when we need it to the most, like for fighting off the coronavirus. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Isolation

Both postpartum depression and anxiety can cause a new mother to distance herself from others, long before the CDC recommended it for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus.  Moms normally take extra measures to keep baby away from crowds and strangers, in order to protect their fragile immune systems.  But all this time spent in isolation results in the opposite for moms.  Without being exposed to normal, everyday bacteria in the outside world, moms haven’t been able to build up any immunity to it.  Our immune system needs a lot of practice in order to keep it in good, working condition.

How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
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Fluctuating Hormone Levels

While the underlying cause of postpartum depression is still unknown, some theories suggest it could be due to changes in hormone levels after giving birth.  We know this to be the cause when it comes to the baby blues, which is why it’s so common and doesn’t last long.  Postpartum depression is a much more complicated illness, however.  Either way, lower levels of estrogen may contribute to weakening the immune system.  All women who experience a hormonal imbalance of estrogen might be susceptible.  This includes women who are postpartum, peri-menopausal or who have had a hysterectomy.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Our body needs a steady source of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.  But moms with postpartum depression or anxiety don’t always have the greatest eating habits.  Whether it’s binge-eating junk food or skipping meals all together, these bad habits can weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to the coronavirus.  If food was an issue during your pregnancy (due to hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes, anemia, etc.) you may already have some type of vitamin deficiency.

Warning Signs Your Body is Screaming for a Detox
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How will coronavirus affect a mom’s mental health?

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    • Those with postpartum OCD might be overwhelmed about keeping germs away, hand-washing and disinfecting everything they touch (more than usual, that is).
    • Stress.  Lots of stress.  Stress about running out of food and supplies.  Stress about entertaining the kids while they’re off school.  Financial stress, marital stress, etc. 
I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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What to do about it

The coronavirus is so new that not much is known about it yet.  Studies are being conducted on the effects of coronavirus on pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding moms, but they are still in the early stages.  Experts are working hard for answers but until then, it’s up to us to try to keep it contained. 

Here are some things that moms with postpartum depression can do during the coronavirus outbreak to help maintain their mental health.
    • Stop reading all the global news stories. Instead,  stick to the local news coverage, which will keep you updated on the issues that affect you the most.
    • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for prevention of the spread of coronavirus, and bear in mind that these are updated as more information becomes available. 
    • Eat healthy.  Or take vitamin supplements to help boost your immune system.
    • Drink lots of water.  Regularly drinking water not only boosts your immune system, but helps to flush out any unwanted bacteria in your body. 
    • Get plenty of fresh air in wide, open spaces.  Avoid crowded parks and playgrounds and take a stroll through nature instead. 
    • Practice deep breathing and meditation. Not only does meditation help to calm stress, but taking long, deep breaths will actually improve your lung function.  Strong lungs will help in the event that you need to fight off coronavirus. 
    • Focus on the positive. This worldwide pandemic is one for the history books!   As scary as the times are right now, we are living in a moment of history.  Try journaling your experiences, or take photos.  Look for ways that you can help out someone else, even if it’s just by making a phone call to check in. 
    • Continue practicing self care.  Increase the amount of self care you do daily, if that’s an option.  In order to keep yourself from getting cabin fever, you’ll need to find time to yourself each day. 
    • Try online therapy. If your mental health is truly suffering during the coronavirus outbreak, this is something you can always do from home. 
100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
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The thought of a global pandemic killing thousands of people across the world is truly terrifying.  With the intense amount of media coverage on the coronavirus, it can get very overwhelming for a mother with postpartum depression.  It’s terrifying because so much of it is out of our control. 

We need to focus on the small things that we can control.  Don’t waste your time hoarding toilet paper.  Instead, work on getting your immune system ready by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce your stress levels. In time, this too shall pass. 

Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety is a common mood disorder that affects up to 15% of new mothers.

Postpartum anxiety is just as common, if not more so, than postpartum depression.  It’s seldom discussed and when it is, it’s usually grouped together with postpartum depression as if they’re a package deal.  The truth is, women can get BOTH postpartum depression AND anxiety or they can get one of the two. 

Here’s what all moms need to know about postpartum anxiety.
A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety

What is Anxiety?

Basically speaking, anxiety causes a person to worry.  Anxiety, in itself, is a common and natural human reaction.  It’s our body’s instinctive way of protecting us from a possible threat.  For new and expectant mothers, anxiety is almost expected, and seems to be part of the maternal instinct.  We need to worry about our newborn babies in order for them to survive. 

An anxiety disorder, however, is different.  It’s when you lose your natural ability to stop worrying when the threat has passed.  Postpartum anxiety is what it’s called when a women develops an anxiety disorder following the birth of her baby.  Women can also suffer from prenatal anxiety during pregnancy.  A postpartum anxiety disorder can cause a mother to worry so much that it disrupts her life and affects her health and well being. 

Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

    • Constant worrying
    • Racing thoughts
    • Intrusive thoughts
    • Paranoia (always feeling like something bad is going to happen)
    • Loss of appetite
    • Insomnia
    • Hyperventilating
    • Perfectionism
    • Needing to be in control of everything
    • Physical manifestations including nausea, excessive sweating, shaking or trembling, heart palpitations or fatigue

While the symptoms themselves might not seem overly concerning, living with postpartum anxiety can be extremely debilitating.  A mother who suffers from postpartum anxiety may suffer from extreme sleep deprivation if she stays up all night worrying or watching her baby breathe.  She might start to avoid leaving the house or socializing with friends.  The constant worrying, paranoia and intrusive thoughts can take a severe toll on her mental and physical health.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Symptoms of Postpartum OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

    • Compulsive and repetitive behavior
    • Scary and intrusive thoughts
    • Going to extreme lengths to avoid bad thoughts from becoming reality
    • Becoming obsessed about things like germs, illnesses, death, accidents, etc.
    • Extreme fearfulness 

Postpartum OCD is a form of anxiety that manifests as compulsive behavior.  It’s similar to other forms of OCD, just in this case, the worries relate to a new baby.  For example, a mother suffering from postpartum OCD may clean, wash or sanitize everything obsessively for fear of the baby getting sick.  Intrusive thoughts are very common in a mother with postpartum OCD and she may rearrange her entire life in order to avoid bad things from happening, even if they seem like a long shot. 

Symptoms of Postpartum Panic Disorder

    • Profuse sweating
    • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
    • Nausea
    • Chest Pain*
    • Racing heart beat
    • Uncontrollable shaking or trembling
    • Chills or hot flashes
    • Numbness or tingling in hands, feet or face
    • Claustrophobia
    • Hyperventilating or shortness of breath

*always seek medical care if you are experiencing any kind of chest pain.

A panic attack can feel so bad that it’s often mistaken for a heart attack.  It’s important to rule that out, especially if it’s your first panic attack.  But if you become prone to panic attacks in the postpartum period, then it’s likely you suffer from a postpartum panic disorder.  This is a more intense form of anxiety that can have several effects on a new mother’s life.  It can often happen when a mother’s fears become severe and she feels like she has no control over what’s happening. 

Intrusive Thoughts
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Are My Worries Postpartum Anxiety?

First of all, having a baby is terrifying.  There is a lot worth worrying about.  Starting from the moment of conception, you will likely worry about your child their entire lives.  So how do you know if your worries are truly postpartum anxiety or just the normal worries that come along with motherhood?

This best way to answer this question is by determining how much your worrying is affecting your life. 
    • Do you avoid leaving the house because you’re worried about your baby getting sick? 
    • Do you lose sleep worrying if your baby is breathing? 
    • Do you avoid driving because you fear getting into an accident with baby?
    • Is your relationship suffering because you don’t trust your partner with the baby?
    • Do you panic when you can’t control absolutely everything?
    • Are you losing weight from worrying so much?

If your entire way of life has changed in order to accommodate your worries, then it could be a sign of a postpartum anxiety disorder.  It’s best to keep a journal or workbook to keep track of your worries.  Seeing it on paper can help you identify if they’re getting out of control. Even if you’re not sure, speak to your healthcare professional about your worries.  If nothing else, they may be able to provide you with some solutions to help ease your anxiety. 

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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Postpartum Anxiety Treatment Options

In the same way that mothers can suffer from both postpartum depression and anxiety, they can also suffer from either one to all three forms of postpartum anxiety.  Often, if a general anxiety disorder is not treated in the early stages, it can progressively become worse and worse.  That’s why treatment is essential.

Some popular treatment options include:

There are many treatments available for anxiety, including alternative and natural treatments.  You may not find success until you’ve tried several different ones, or a combination of them.  Even if you have established a proper treatment plan for your postpartum anxiety disorder, you should never ignore it.  Anxiety, like most mental health disorders, is something that can easily be triggered again.

I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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Self Care for Postpartum Anxiety

Living with anxiety can cause a lot of stress and even lead to bouts of depression or other mental illnesses.  Practicing self care is extremely important to avoid triggers and relapses.  But keep in mind that self care alone may not be enough to eliminate your symptoms.  Instead, it should be used in combination with an anxiety treatment plan.

Remember to:
7 Days of Self Care
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Postpartum Anxiety + Addiction

Just as there are good ways to manage symptoms of anxiety, there are also destructive ways.  Drugs or alcohol can  numb the pain and help you forget your worries, but they only offer temporary relief and do more harm in the long run.  Addiction is something that many people with anxiety struggle with, especially those with OCD, as addiction is a type of compulsive behavior.  For more information and addiction resources, visit Addictions.com/anxiety-disorders.

Talking About Postpartum Anxiety

Anxiety, in general, is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world.  While postpartum anxiety isn’t talked about as often as postpartum depression, that doesn’t mean it isn’t as important or as dangerous to mom and baby’s health. 

If you’re suffering from symptoms of postpartum anxiety, including OCD or a panic disorder, make sure to seek help from a qualified professional and establish a treatment plan.  Speak up about it with other moms too, and I promise you’ll find that you’re not alone.  (If you’re interested in sharing your postpartum anxiety story with us, click here for more info).

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Printable Infographic Chart
Get this printable chart on Etsy!

Additional Resources:

Healthline | What You Need to Know About Postpartum Anxiety

What to Expect | Postpartum Anxiety

Verywell | Do You Have the Symptoms of Postpartum OCD?

PostpartumDepression.org | Postpartum Panic Disorders

Postpartum Progress | A Toolkit for Postpartum Anxiety & Panic Disorders

Addiction Center | Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The Tapping Solution App | App to Help You Discover EFT 

Warning Signs That Your Body Is Screaming For a Detox 

One new trend that is gradually taking over is detoxing.

In recent times, more and more people are venturing into this new, wonderful lifestyle choice to help cleanse their body. Oftentimes, many people do not know how or why they should even consider a detox. Other, more curious people will try a detox regimen without the proper knowledge.

A word of caution – a detox can be quite detrimental to your health if done incorrectly. Therefore, it is very important for you don’t follow the crowd into a trendy lifestyle without being informed; the more you know, the better a detox (or anything in life) will work for you. 

Here’s what you need to know about detoxing.
Warning Signs Your Body is Screaming for a Detox
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
Warning Signs Your Body is Screaming for a Detox Warning Signs Your Body is Screaming for a Detox

What you put into your body and what is around your environment greatly determines your health and how well your body functions. Being aware of what types of food you eat and what amounts you consume and what environmental factors you should avoid will benefit your health. This is because eating too much unhealthy food, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and living in a polluted area can disrupt normal body function and deteriorate your health. 

Many individuals are not ready to give up their guilty pleasures or are unaware how food and the environment affect their health. A detox is a great way to heal from unhealthy toxins we consume and the ones that surround us.

Presence of toxins in the body and their effects

The human body is an interconnected system of organs that require various enzymes to function properly. The actions of these enzymes can be impeded by the presence of toxins in the body. 

Toxins are chemical or physical agents that are harmful to the body. For instance, toxins that accumulate in the brain can cause poor concentration, memory problems, and even mental decline. Residual toxins from excessive intake of alcohol have been closely linked to damaged brain cells, increased risk of dementia, liver failure, and nerve pain. 

Generally, toxins deter the functionality of the body’s enzymes, causing them to become dysfunctional. In addition to the effect toxins have on the enzymes of the body, toxins also affect the body’s mineral composition, causing the bones to weaken. Toxins can also affect the DNA and speed up ageing and cell degeneration. Toxins are also known to cause hormonal disorders in the body since they inhibit hormones by blocking hormone receptors in the body.

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Sources of these toxins

Ordinarily, the human body has its own way of eliminating basic toxic substances from the body through the process of excretion; e.g. carbon dioxide is considered toxic to the body when it combines with blood, therefore the lungs have the function of excreting carbon dioxide before this occurs. The human skin, the largest organ of the body, is also beneficial in eliminating toxins by means of perspiration. However, the body may not always be able to handle the release of these excessive amounts of toxins during a detox period after years of leading an unhealthy lifestyle.

There are general sources of toxins that are detrimental to the body:
    • Toxins obtained from environmental factors, such as industrial waste and fumes
    • Toxins obtained from unhealthy foods and substance abuse
    • Toxins from the body’s own metabolic processes
Other toxic substances that can affect the body include: 
    • Heavy metal substances such as mercury and lead that can be caused by parasite infections or amalgam fillings 
    • Excessive intake of alcohol and drugs
    • Artificial additives and preservatives in food 
    • BPA that is mostly found in plastic
    • Artificial food ripening sprays and fertilizers
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What is a detox? 

Detoxing is not a new concept; it is virtually everywhere in the health and wellness world. The question that is on everyone’s minds is ‘what exactly is a detox and what does it entail?’

Detox is a term that simply means dislodging your body of harmful toxins to improve the overall wellness and health of a person. As stated before, the body itself contains a self-detoxifying system which clears toxic substances that are harmful to us. However, as a high influx of intrusive and harmful substances enter the body, it becomes very important that your body be given optimal conditions to support continuous detoxification. 

Undergoing a detox could mean different things to different people. For some, this means that specific diet plans are followed. For others, doing a detox is as simple as consuming more vegetables, water, and exercising more while getting an optimal amount of rest. To summarize, a detox aim is to get rid of toxic build-up from the body in a healthy way. This means changing your diet by incorporating detoxifying foods, gradual lifestyle changes (do not use extreme detox fads as these are unhealthy and dangerous), and buying products from respected and trusted merchants.

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Why do I need to detox my body? 

Detoxification of the body has been shown to help the body improve a lot of its functionalities and as such, increase the optimum well-being of the body. There are a number of benefits to be gained from undergoing a body detoxification as an individual.

Some major benefits include:
    • Assurance of an improved circulation
    • Promoting a higher level of toxin removal through natural excretion processes such as sweating, urination and defecation
    • Initiating a higher level of functionality of the liver
    • Normalization of metabolic activities in the body

How do I know that my body needs a detox? 

The human body was designed with a special alarm system that tells us when it has a special need. However, this may not always be the case. It is better just to stay on a healthy course than to try to change your lifestyle when it’s too late. Still, a body in need of a detox may tell you in multiple obvious ways that it needs attention. There are some signs one can observe when the body is in dire need of a detox.

A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety
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Incessant cravings

A sudden and continuous desire for certain food types can be a sign that your body is trying to pass a message across to you. Majority of the time when the body is in excess of toxins, a person experiences cravings for food substances that are harmful to the body. The most common craving by the body is an insatiable want for sugar; a diet high is sugar will raise leptin hormone levels, thereby enhancing the cravings.

As such, a detox will help refocus body functionality and decrease cravings for unhealthy food. Thereby reinstating the body back to its optimal state and making it ready to process useful and essential nutrients to support proper functioning. 

Constant tiredness or fatigue

High levels of toxins in the body can disrupt your energy levels. For individuals who do have high amounts of toxins, no amount of sleep is enough to fight off the constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue. 

Toxins in the body can also stress out your adrenal glands. This increase in stress results from high levels of cortisol which is released into your body because of toxins. In the long-term, high cortisol levels can lead to adrenal fatigue, a condition which causes a constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue.

Committing to a lifestyle that encourages a gradual and gentle detox will help reduce your likelihood of developing adrenal fatigue, and leave your energy levels untarnished.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Skin breakout

This sign is one of the most glaring signs your body is in need of a detox. Skin breakouts like acne, pimples, boils, rashes and eczema are a result of a toxic state.

These symptoms result from the body trying to remove toxins through our largest organ — the skin. The skin’s main function is to protect the body from toxins, bacteria, and viruses hence these skin reactions. The body tries to remove these toxins by releasing them through the skin and by turning up the skin’s inflammation response.

A gradual period of detoxification will reinvigorate the body and help restore the skin back to its normal state, giving you a youthful glow.

Increase in weight

The body contains various bacteria that are good bacteria and bad bacteria. However, a high influx of harmful bacteria can affect specific functions in your body that help regulate fat. Bad bacteria can reduce your metabolic rate and increase your inflammatory response. As a result of these two functions becoming affected, the body will slowly create more fat, causing weight gain. 

A hyper toxic state of the body is oftentimes a major cause of this overload of harmful bacteria. Also, certain toxins are lipophilic in nature, meaning they are often stored in fat cells in the body, which is yet another cause of weight gain.

Reduced sleep time

Your cortisol levels are a good indicator of how healthy your sleep cycle is.  A healthy toxin-free individual ought to have a higher cortisol level in the morning, and should lower levels in evening, allowing sleep to occur. 

However, a body with a high level of toxins will have a near constant high level of cortisol in the body. This high level of cortisol leaves you awake and stressed at night when you should be sleeping. 

Hazy thinking

Direct exposure to toxins can cause severe damage to the brain. Specific toxins known for their damaging effect on the brain include monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame. These two toxins can be fatal to brain cells since they prevent oxidation in the brain. 

Symptoms of brain toxicity include disoriented thinking and lack of concentration. These toxins can also cause frequent headaches in some individuals. Some people may find it challenging to remember intrinsic details of an event and may even have short-term or long-term memory loss. 

A more serious occurrence of toxin build-up in the brain can cause a condition called leaky brain syndrome. This condition occurs when blood-brain barrier becomes damaged as a result of excess inflammation in the brain. A detox can help alleviate these symptoms and restore normal brain function. 

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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Mood swings

Mood swings can be directly linked to a hormonal imbalance in the body. Certain toxins such as xenoestrogens are known to cause hormonal imbalances in women and men. Major sources of xenoestrogens come from industrial waste and plastic.  

A sure sign of a hormonal imbalance caused by toxin buildup is usually erratic emotional behavior. To combat this imbalance, a detox can help restore the body’s hormonal system back to its normal state and thereby relieve you from erratic mood swings — but only if the mood swings are indeed caused by toxins.

Digestive symptoms

The digestive system is one of the body’s systems that is majorly affected when it comes to the issue of toxins in the body. This is because most of these toxins are introduced into the body through the digestive system; they are mostly stored or can be removed through the digestive system.

Symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation are most often a sign that something is not right with the body. Many times, they are also indicators of the presence of foreign and harmful substances in the body.

As such, whenever these symptoms occur, it is a sign that the body is in dire need of a detox after which the body is restored back to its normal functional state.

Ways by which you can detox naturally 

The amazing thing about a detox is that it is affordable for everyone. The most important thing is to ensure that your body is free from all sorts of sugary and artificial substances. The best way of ensuring this is by detoxing the body the natural way, and not by using short-term fixes that may be detrimental to your health. 

Increase your intake of antioxidants

Antioxidants help protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals that roam throughout the body. These free radicals are produced by an unhealthy lifestyle that includes alcohol and tobacco. If you do develop oxidative stress, you are more prone to develop heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening disorders.

Food and herbs rich in antioxidants can help control the production of these free radicals, decreasing your risk of developing certain diseases. And there are various easy ways you can incorporate antioxidants into your diet.

Fulvic and humic acids, a nutrient obtained from naturally occurring herbs grown directly from the soil, are full of antioxidants. A natural source of these acids are shilajit. The cleansing and reinvigorating effects of shilajit help reduce oxidative stress and slow ageing and improve overall health. 

amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression
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Increase your level of physical activity

Besides obvious advantages on the physical level such as reduced risk of non-communicable diseases and longevity, a higher level of physical activity is also closely related to eliminating toxins from the body. 

Regular exercise helps activate specific systems in the body like the digestive and other excretory systems. Being active can also enhance the body’s natural detoxification system.

Increase your water intake

Water is a substance that its use in the body can never be over-emphasized. The body as a whole is made up of about 60% water therefore water is very much needed to ensure that the body maintains a functional state. 

Water performs many functions in the body; it re-hydrates the body, it helps with temperature regulation of the body temperature, it enhances digestion and aids with excretion. Thus, it helps detoxify the body.

As such, more water should be taken in daily to boost the body’s detoxification systems and clear the body of toxic waste daily. 

Add more sleep to your lifestyle

Rest is a very important state for the body to function optimally. During rest, the various body systems can function at their optimum state without becoming over stressed. Therefore, detoxification when the body is at its resting state is more effective. There are a lot of natural tips on how to get more deep sleep.

Conclusion 

A body detox is a process that has been proven to have more benefits than harm when done properly. With a well-researched detox plan, you can have more energy for your everyday lifestyle and be more productive at anything you do. It is important to note that the most safe and reliable detoxes are ones that are gradual and do not ask you to do extreme dietary changes. And in order to get the full-effect, these detoxes should be implemented to your everyday lifestyle and not as a short-term solution. Always talk to your doctor or medical professional before you start a detox, especially if you suffer from a preexisting health condition. 


Author Bio: 
Polly Telegina Bio Photo
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I am Polly Telegina, a holistic health expert from Siberia. Ayurveda, yoga, and shilajit are the main areas of my knowledge. Deeply intuitive I find that true healing surpasses the boundaries of the physical body and embraces the emotional, energetic and subtlest layers of our being. I help people to know how to be healthy and beautiful using only natural remedies. I believe that nature is the best source of human health. To read more check my last article on how to boost the immune system naturally.

 

Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?

A cluttered home has become one of the staples of motherhood.

It’s quite difficult to keep up with the messes that come along with raising young children.  And living among all that clutter can contribute to rising stress levels among mothers.  Decluttering might just be the secret to better mental health and less everyday stress.  But it’s not an easy step to take.

Rebecca Brown from Rough Draft shares some tips and information about decluttering both our minds and our homes for less stress and better mental health.
Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Clutter is generally defined as “a lot of objects in a state of being untidy.” People often think of clutter as a result of not having enough storage space, or enough time to keep things organized and tidy, but the reasons are much deeper, and lie in our mindsets, and in our culture.

A UCLA research of the middle-class American families and their homes proved that we’re a clutter culture indeed, obsessed with possessions. We stock up on things to reward ourselves and decrease the stress of our everyday lives but often end up even more stressed, as a direct result of the clutter we have in our homes. 

This is especially true for women, who feel responsible for the tidiness of their homes – the very same research found a link in the way mothers talk about the clutter in their homes and their diurnal cortisol levels.

So having clutter in our lives, no matter what form it takes, is stressful. Moreover, clutter makes us feel anxious and chaotic, and it often makes us avoid our homes, just so that we don’t need to deal with it.

11 Postpartum Depression Triggers and How to Avoid Them
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Types of Clutter

To help you understand it better, and recognize what things in your household can really be considered clutter, let’s see how the Spruce distinguishes the most common types of clutter:

  • Sentimental clutter. We all keep memorabilia of our past and the people we love. If it’s standing in the way of our everyday tasks, memorabilia becomes clutter. Giving up on those items can be hard, and may feel like a betrayal.
  • Clutter without storage space. Purposeful things that are not trash, but still haven’t been properly stored, since our storage space is cluttered.
  • Trash clutter. Things that lie around your house masked as clutter, that you could easily throw away. Remember that pair of shoes that you’ve been planning to have repaired, for like six months? That’s simply trash.
  • Aspirational clutter. Items proving aspirations we have or had. That favorite pair of jeans you wore when you had 30 pounds less, and that is only filling up space in your closet? Is that a guitar full of dust that you’ve been keeping in your living room since your teenage days when you’ve wanted to become a rock star?
  • Abundance clutter. Things you’ve been stocking up because you know you’re going to use them one day. It’s never a good idea when it comes to food or clothing.
  • Bargain clutter. You might think it’s a good idea to make a good bargain, so you buy things you don’t actually like or use.
11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
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Declutter Your Mind

One of the best and most accurate definitions of clutter is “delayed decisions.”

We can’t seem to be at peace with the idea that we’ll probably never play the guitar or go skiing again, so we leave it for the “just in case” scenario. We have several baby blankets in the garage to remind us of our kids’ childhood, as we can’t seem to decide which one to keep.  Our cluttered homes and our cluttered minds are deeply connected, enticing stress from our unaccomplished businesses.

To begin decluttering your mind, you can begin with the following:
  • Determine what your most important life goals are and define actions to achieve them. Make time for those actions.
  • Keep a journal to organize your thoughts better.
  • Spend more time in nature as it can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing, and help you distinguish your life’s priorities. Hiking is particularly helpful when trying to connect to and contemplate the essentials of life.
  • Limit media consumption. This is the only way to get rid of all the media related clutter in your mind, and the stress and anxiety it causes.
A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety
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Declutter Your Space

“If you don’t love it, lose it. If you don’t use it, lose it” a simple motto by Margareta Magnusson, the author of  “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” can be a good one to start with when decluttering your space.

Even though the idea of what happens with your things after you die, may seem a bit too challenging, the Swedish practice of döstädning is pretty much enlightening even for those of us who would rather skip this conversation.

Simply by thinking how the item that remains behind us would affect our close ones, can make a difference in how we value the things we cling on to, and whether we should choose to keep it.

If you are unhappy in your home because of the mess you live in, or you can’t find things that you need to function because of it, choose a rainy day when you don’t feel like doing anything else and start.

7 Days of Self Care
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A couple of additional tips to get you going:
  • Begin with small steps. Focus on one area of the room or one drawer.
  • Throw away or donate things that you don’t need or use.
  • Don’t move to another item until you’ve made a decision about the one in your hand.
  • If there is an item that holds a sentimental value, that it’s hard to throw away –take a photo of it.
  • Never buy a thing that doesn’t serve a purpose or just because it’s a good bargain.
  • Don’t stock up on food and clothes. Many things can change until you decide to use them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for the help of your friends or other family members.

While there is a clutter around, you can hardly feel relaxed – you’ll feel as if you have a constant reminder of tasks ahead of you that you’ll most likely never finish. By decluttering your mind and your space, your days will be less stressful and you’ll be happier too.


Author Bio: I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.

How to Cope With Parental Burnout: 5 Practical Ways to Recharge

How to Cope with Parental Burnout
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Parenting is a beautiful journey that we can pretty much compare to a roller coaster ride – filled with ups and downs that does not seem to end.  Unfortunately, there are times when parents can feel excessively tired, cranky, unproductive, useless, and not enough.  Have you felt the same way too?  Then this means that you are suffering from parental burnout.

What is Parental Burnout?

Parental burnout exists and is becoming more prevalent lately.  It is a term that describes resentment, physical and emotional fatigue, de-motivation, and even depression in some parents who are overly stressed with parenting and a pile of other obligations.

According to studies and research, the changes in our society and culture are huge contributing factors that brought about the rise of this syndrome.  So how do you know if you have parental burnout?  These are the signs that you need to watch out for:

    • Emotionally distancing from child
    • Lack of motivation to go on
    • Feeling useless as a parent
    • Easily angered by the child even for simplest and smallest reasons

The bad thing is that not only parents are affected by parental burnout.  This can take a toll on your child, too and the effects can last for a long time.  For this reason, moms and dads should partake in activities that allow them to “recharge” and prevent fatigue.

Having said that, I decided to ask other parents for practical solutions on how to cope with parental burnout.

How to Cope

If you feel like you can no longer take it all, here are some of the many suggestions from parents like you and I to avoid falling prey to parental burnout:

Shop

I shop for my son to de-stress.  I usually do this with a mom friend so I have a chance to talk to another adult (and keep my sanity lol).  This technique is like hitting two birds with one stone – shopping for things that my kid needs while socializing with other moms without feeling guilty of leaving my husband and kid behind.  I feel invigorated after doing this kind of errand.  You should try it, too.

Have a Vent Buddy

It is really frustrating for me every time my 3-year old son and I argue.  I always remind myself that I need to understand his context because he does not always get my point of view… and shouting at him does not help at all.

Whenever I feel like I am about to explode, I take a break from arguing with my son and call or text a friend.  I whine, and nag, and even swear if need be just to let everything out of my system.  After this, I feel a bit better and all my anger has simmered.  By the time I go back to my son, my head is already clear and I can better “hear” what he is saying.  This way, we can better communicate with each other.

If I can’t reach anyone, I simply send an email to myself – the same thing I want to tell my vent buddy during a phone call or text message.

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
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Relax and Watch a Movie

I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities – imagine another human being is fully dependent on me for everything.  As a result, I worry almost every time even when I am near my kiddo.  This is where parental burnout comes creeping in.

When this happens, I watch a movie – more than once a month.  I choose movies that do not last for more than two hours.  As I am engrossed with the characters in the movie, I temporarily forget about my woes and worries.  This, honestly, feels like a mini-vacation for me.  As soon as I go out, I feel like a different person.

Go for a Run

This is the same thing as having a vent buddy as this helps keep my head clear.  Before I go to work, I run for 15 minutes to decompress and work on things that are stressing me out.   

This 15-minute run might not be much but it helps me work something out on my head while keeping my body healthy and active.  By the time I get home, I feel happier and, surprisingly, more patient.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
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Let Your Partner Take Over

Parenting on your own is hard.  Plus, it makes you crazy as you incessantly want to control everything.  Sometimes, I decide to take a step back.  I tell myself to bail on some activities and let my husband handle it.

For instance, I let my husband take my son to the park so I can stay at home.  I can clean, read a book, catch on my favorite series, or just sit down and relax.  This rewards us both – my husband gets to bond with my son and I get some time to reboot.


Remember that parenting is not like a job wherein you can just resign anytime you want.  You cannot give up or quit on your kids.  But if you take note of the practical tips in this post that are proven effective by other parents, I am sure that you will feel happy.  You will never fall prey to parental burnout ever again.


Author Bio: Elkyra Park is a first-time mom who can no longer count how many baby products she has reviewed for her sanity and her son’s sake.  She discusses about the realities of parenthood and how to gracefully cope with the struggles over at www.easyparentinghacks.com

How to Have Some Time for Yourself as a Busy Parent

If you are a parent then you might feel as though at times, your work is never done. You may find that you are being constantly torn between homework, dentist appointments, soccer practices and more. If you want to help yourself, then you need to practice self-care. This will help you to become way less stressed in the day and it will also help you to recharge too.

How to Have Some Time for Yourself As a Busy Parent
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links.

Find Ways to Recharge

As a parent, you may feel as though you need to put other people’s needs before your own. You need to start focusing on yourself more and you also need to set some money aside so that you can pamper yourself too. Of course, the way that you do this will depend on your circumstances and your budget. If you are stuck for ideas then get a manicure, buy yourself a new item of clothing or even go for that haircut you’ve been meaning to get. This will help you to stay focused and it will also give you the chance to truly unwind.

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Children and their Bedtime

If your children have a bedtime, then don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. Children are often deprived of sleep, even if they don’t know it themselves. If you set an earlier bedtime, then you may have to face a bit of a battle but if you are able to push through, then it will benefit everyone involved. Your kids will be more alert, and they may even do better in school as a result. If finding your children a school that they can attend next year is on your agenda then you can find out information on Montessorri schools here.

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Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice that helps you to be in the current moment. If you are able to do this then you will lower your stress levels and you may even find that you are able to enjoy your day to day tasks more. If you are driving, then don’t let your mind race ahead. Instead, just focus on your hands being on the wheel. Mindfulness will take time to master but if you are able to do it then you will soon find that you can reap the benefits far more than you realize.

Carve out Time for Yourself

Designate two or even three 15-minute intervals per day to focus on yourself. If you have a schedule or a planner then do this in a way that you would everything else. When you do, you will soon find that you are much more likely to stick to your plans and this can really work in your favor. You may be tempted to avoid doing anything in your alone time, and this is understandable, but you have to avoid it as much as possible.

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
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Prioritize Partner Time

If you have a partner, then you need to do everything you can to spend time with them when you can. This could involve putting the kids to bed early or it may even mean trying to book the day off work from time to time. Either way, if you don’t make time for each other then you may find that you never have it, and this is the last thing that you need.

Keep in Touch

Keeping in touch with your friends or even your family can be a way for you to recharge your batteries. If you want to do this then try and hire a babysitter or even have a special afternoon out. You can also plan some afternoon activities at home if you want, either way, if they have kids then there’s a chance that they’ll need a break as well and the more you can give them this, the better you’ll all feel.

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Have a Good Diet

If you don’t have a good diet then this won’t work in your favor at all. You may feel that you are far more tired during the day and that you struggle to get through the day without having a nap. If you want to get around this then you need to try and make sure that you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and that you are also staying away from caffeine. After all, caffeine may give you a short-term fix, but it won’t do you any good in the long-term so do keep that in mind. If you don’t have time to have a good diet then making meals ahead of time is certainly the way to go, not to mention that you can get the kids involved too!


15+ Self Care Ideas To Keep You Warm in the Winter

It can be tough to find the motivation for self care in the winter.

It’s in our nature to want to hibernate under the covers all winter long and avoid leaving the house.  But staying isolated and failing to take proper care of ourselves during the winter months can lead to bouts of seasonal depression.  Self care is important year round, so despite the miserable weather, we should always try to make time for it.

Here are a few ideas for self care in the winter that are sure to keep you feeling warm and cozy. 
Self Care Ideas in the Winter
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Light a Fire in the Fireplace

There’s no better way to warm up in the winter than sitting by the fireplace.  You can read, write, listen to music, watch your favorite movie or even just sit quietly and enjoy the crackling sound of the flames.  Flickering light is said to have a meditative effect on the mind which helps to reduce stress.  In some parts of the world, firelight is essential to the practice of hygge during the winter.

2. Relax by Candlelight

In the same way, dancing candlelight can help you relax as well.  Stock up on candles over the winter and light them whenever you get the chance.  Light a few in the kitchen while you’re cooking or dine by candlelight.  Keep one on your bedside table while you relax in bed or beside the tub while you soak.  Just remember not to fall asleep while they’re lit or leave them unattended, of course. 

Hygge Lifestyle
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3. Curl Up With a Cozy Blanket

Self care in the winter is all about wrapping yourself in warm, cozy blankets.  You may have several blankets in every room that you use, or maybe you have a favorite one that you practically live in.  The soft touch of a blanket wrapped around us helps us to feel safe and secure.  Being warm is also better for our blood circulation and improves our overall mood. 

4. Take a Hot Bath or Shower

Soaking in a hot bath or standing under a hot shower is a great way to warm up in the winter.  Try adding Epsom salts to the bath water for an added dose of magnesium.  Or throw in a few shower steamers filled with essential oils.  If you find that you prefer hot showers more frequently in the winter, make sure to use all natural products that will keep your hair and skin soft and moisturized without overloading on chemicals. 

5. Visit a Thermal Spa

If you haven’t already, check out a thermal spa in your area.  They are great places to visit in the colder months because you can access the full range of hot and cold.  Natural, mineral hot springs have healing waters that not only warm you up, but can provide relief from muscle and joint pains. 

Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature
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6. Get a Hot Stone Massage

Obviously any kind of massage therapy is a great way to practice self care in the winter.  But if you’re not a fan of deep tissue massage, try opting for a hot stone massage instead.  The warm volcanic rocks strategically placed on your body can loosen up tight muscles and reduce inflammation, stress and tension.  P.S. don’t forget to put SpaFinder gift cards on your wish list to use for this! 

7. Warm Up Your Feet

You can warm up your entire body simply by starting with the feet.  Warm feet will help you sleep better but if you’re not comfortable wearing socks to bed, try plugging in a heated mattress pad or blanket just at the foot of your bed.  Invest in a pair of ultra cozy socks or slippers to wear in the winter.  For added benefits, roll some essential oil blends onto the soles of your feet before slipping them into socks to absorb all the goodness.  

8. Sip Some Herbal Tea

Don’t forget to keep warm from the inside too!  Sipping on herbal tea is a great self care activity to do daily.   There are many health benefits of drinking green tea or just plain hot water with lemon.  But you can find herbal teas for almost any ailment these days.  There’s a reason why it’s such an integral part of any ancient culture. 

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9. Visit a Steam Room

Many gyms or indoor pools give you access to a steam room so definitely take advantage of them in the winter.  Steam is a great way to detoxify the body, clean out the pores and help boost our immune systems.  It’s especially helpful to loosen things up when you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or chest congestion.  Just make sure to have a good shower and don’t forget to exfoliate and moisturize afterwards to get rid of all the toxins you’ve just sweat out. 

10. Go for a Run

Staying active is one of the most important self care practices in the winter.  It’s all too easy to neglect our bodies when they’re always covered up.  So bundle up and go for a run around the neighborhood.  You might start off feeling cold, but the longer you go, the warmer you’ll get.  Or run indoors on a treadmill.  It’s important to get your heart rate up at least once a day, which will improve your blood circulation to keep you warm all over. 

11. Do Some Yoga Stretches

Meditative yoga is another great form of self care in the winter.  Despite it’s slow and concentrated movements, you will work up quite a sweat holding those positions.  Stretching daily will help our bones and muscles from getting weak over the winter months, when we might not as be as active.  

Thermea Finlandia Sauna
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12. Spend Time in a Sauna

Similar to steam rooms, saunas can be found at most gyms, indoor pool areas or spas.  The dry heat of a sauna focuses directly on helping you sweat out toxins in your body.  You can even find places that offer hot yoga, which is a yoga class done entirely in a sauna for added benefits.  Search SpaFinder to see locations near you that offer these specific type of services.  

13. Bake Something Warm and Delicious

Baking is a great winter activity, especially around the holidays.  But don’t do it out of necessity or you’ll just stress yourself out.  Bake just for the fun of it.  Having a warm oven on will heat up the whole house and the delicious smells coming from it are an entirely different form of aromatherapy.  And then go ahead and indulge.  Use the real chocolate and the full fat cream and don’t skimp on the sprinkles.

14. Make a Pot of Soup

Nothing warms you up faster in the winter than a delicious bowl of hot soup.  Soup days are perfect and easy for those dreary days when you’re stuck in the house.  Or have a pot ready to go for when you get in from being outside in the cold all day.  Try making a bone broth from scratch or get the kids to help you make an easy veggie soup.  Soup is a winter time staple but also light and healthy. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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15. Knit a Scarf

The winter months are a great time to start a new project.  With all the extra time spent indoors, you’ll need something to keep you occupied or you’ll end up with a bad case of cabin fever.  Knitting a scarf, hat or mittens for yourself, your kids or a loved one is a great place to start.  Or work on some other form of art therapy.  Creating something will give you a sense of pride and boost your confidence.  Depending on how good your skills are, you can even give some away as handmade Christmas presents. 

16. Cuddle With Someone You Love

Finally, the best way to stay warm this winter is to spend lots of time cuddled up with the ones you love.  Whether you’re suffering from a mental illness like postpartum depression or just a case of the winter blues, nothing heals better than a hug.  You’ll stay warm simply by sharing body heat, and you’ll get a mood boost from spending time with others.  So this winter, if you plan to hibernate indoors, make sure you’ve got someone to spend it with and find ways to take care of yourself while still keeping warm.