7 Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19

The body’s immune system is integral to fighting off infection and disease.  At times like these, it’s more important than ever to make sure it’s not only working as well as it can, but also performing better than before. Just like a muscle in the body, you can boost immune system strength so it works better, and this could mean either avoiding illness altogether, or only experiencing mild symptoms if you do get infected.

There are several ways to build and boost your immune system, and understanding the importance of your immune system is the first step. 
7 Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19
*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.
7 Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19

The Importance of the Immune System

 The immune system isn’t just made up of white blood cells, but consists of a vast network of tissues, cells and organs that work in tandem to maintain overall health and protect the body against infection. The human body is an ideal host for all number of pathogens, viruses, and parasites to thrive if unchecked; the immune system acts as our defense against these microbes and any of their subsequent attacks.

Every part of the immune system plays a unique role: the white blood cells are the first line of defense against any malicious foreign invader, whilst the blood marrow produces our infection-fighting soldiers.

Other parts of the immune system include lymph nodes that act as filters for foreign particles, and the spleen which controls the amount of blood circulating through the body removing old or damaged red cells.
As you can see, there are many parts of the immune system that all play their part in various and equally important ways.


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1. Sleep

A good night’s sleep can do wonders when it comes to the body’s overall well being, improving both physical and mental health. Sleep is when the body is able to fully rest, recover and repair itself in readiness for the day ahead, and not getting enough shut eye can have bad consequences.

Indeed, studies have shown that sleep-deprived patients are at a higher risk of developing an illness after exposure to a virus, underlying the importance of getting in that recommended 7-8 hours of dream-time.[i]

2. Vitamins and Antioxidants

Like any good machine, our body runs well if it’s fueled properly, and getting the right intake of vitamins and antioxidants promotes a healthy immune system. Blueberries, spinach, kale, garlic and ginger are beneficial on many levels.

In addition to having powerful effects on your antibody response[ii] they are also some of the best brain foods available, so you’ll enjoy better physical and cognitive health by eating them on a regular basis.

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3. Drink Less Alcohol

When consumed moderately, alcohol doesn’t seem to have particularly bad consequences for the immune system, and indeed the jury is still out over whether that single glass of red wine actually presents antioxidant-related benefits to the body.

Either way, it’s clear that high levels of consumption do have a negative impact, since studies have shown the white blood cell count to decrease below normal levels when a significant amount of alcohol is in the bloodstream.[iii]

4. Minimize Stress

When the body is placed in a stressful situation, the chemical cortisol is released into the bloodstream, decreasing the performance of your immune system. In addition, anxiety can impact your sleep pattern, which, as mentioned above, can reduce your body’s ability to recover at night. Try to prioritize a healthy mindset, and perhaps introduce some form of daily meditation to provide a sense of order to any chaos you might have in your life.

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate
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5. Zinc Supplements

It’s important to get enough zinc in your diet since this mineral supports normal growth, heals wounds and keeps the immune system strong. Most diets should include enough zinc to adequately support working immunity levels; however, if you find yourself more susceptible to illness than others, consult a medical professional to see if you have zinc deficiencies that need to be addressed.[iv]

6. Probiotic Foods

A healthy gut means a happy immune system since the two are closely linked: around seventy percent of your immune system resides in your gut with probiotic bacteria living in the digestive tract and supporting our immunity levels. You’ll see most benefits from fermented foods (such as kimchi) or yogurts that contain live bacteria cultures that will boost the immune system.

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7. Exercise

The body’s circulatory system plays a key role when it comes to your level of immunity, essentially acting as a transport network for white blood cells to move about the body. You can increase the efficiency of this pipeline by exercising regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages at least two and a half hours a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes if at a more vigorous level.[v]  Read more about all the benefits of exercise here. 

The Role of Weight Loss Supplements

The other benefit of exercise is that, alongside a healthy diet planvi, it helps to maintain an ideal body weight, and this is especially important in relation to COVID-19: obesity seems to worsen the effects of the disease and puts you at greater risk of complications from it.

If you are struggling with your weight, then perhaps consider some weight loss supplements. Phenocal is a popular brand on the market, made of all-natural ingredients that enhance your weight loss efforts by reducing the appetite and boosting energy levels. Taken regularly, it can make it easier to manage your weight and enjoy better overall health.

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Whilst there are many ways to boost immune system strength, there is no silver bullet cure-all that will do the job by itself. Using a combination of the above methods and maintaining a healthy weight with the help of a supplement such as Phenocal will give your body the best chance of fighting off infections.

Of course, it’s also vitally important that you practice good hygiene at all times, such as proper handwashing, and follow the recommended social distancing guidelines.


Author Bio:

Nathan Hodges is a passionate writer. He writes about health, fitness, nutrition & diet. His work gives a curiosity engaged to the readers.


References:

[i]https://www.orlandohealth.com/content-hub/7-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system

[ii]https://www.orlandohealth.com/content-hub/7-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system

[iii]https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

[iv]https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21372790

[v]https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

[vi]https://www.healthwebmagazine.com/diet-nutrition/healthy-diet-plan-html/

 

How to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Work From Home Space

How have the last few months been treating you in terms of work-life balance? Have you been feeling stressed, losing sleep, and struggling to draw the line between work and home time due to the mandatory work from home and Shelter-In-Place orders? Sister, you’re not alone.

I’m here to tell you that although work is important and productivity is a must, you don’t have to be productive 100% of the time while you work at home. It’s important to remember that while we are working from home we are still working in a crisis. Practicing self-care and mindfulness are vital for getting through this difficult time and it’s okay to rely on others for figuring out how to adapt to this “new normal”. 

That being said, as many Shelter-In-Place orders extend and businesses’ budgets tighten, many companies are offering permanent work from home positions for their employees. While some may enjoy working from home or not, everyone’s situation is different. Whether you are deciding to venture back into the office or hunker down at home for a while longer it’s important to approach this transition delicately and with your own mental wellness in mind. 

How to Incorporate Mindfulness into your Work from Home Space
*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.
How to Incorporate Mindfulness into your Work from Home Space

To aid in this transition, I’ve rounded up a few wellness strategies from professional “zen artists” who understand the importance of adding wellness to your workspace and work routine. These professionals include organizational experts, wellness architects (yes, that’s a thing), naturopathists and holistic coaches. With these simple strategies in mind, you can take ownership back over your current or future work set-up and ensure your mental and physical health isn’t being side-stepped. Keep reading for wellness strategies to incorporate into your workspace. 

Optimize Your Space for Comfort

While your home or office may not be equipped with ergonomic furniture, that doesn’t mean you have to suffice with an uncomfortable workspace. Ask your employer if you can take office furniture home or “check-out” devices for optimal use at home. While not everyone works the same way, M Moser Associates, Global Design and Architecture Firm, offered a few best practices on this topic. They said, “To create a comfortable and positive work from home space, people need to feel empowered to discover aspects that create comfort and enhance mood and performance in their own homes.” 

They also recommended creating a minimum of three high-performance work environments. This, they say has proven to support a range of benefits including “boosting motivation through freedom of choice, creating mood-enhancing playfulness, stimulating the brain through micro-movements, and providing head space for new ways of thinking.”

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Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Routine

The next step to incorporating wellness into your workspace is by adding mindfulness into your routine. This can be done by setting strategic intentions before, during, and after your workday. Shawn Johal, Entrepreneur & Business Growth Coach at Elevation Coaching emphasized the importance of taking mindfulness breaks as you may feel that working from home means staring at your computer and phone screens more often. He says to “take purposeful breaks for mindful moments away from the screen. Breathe, meditate, and take a 5-minute walk outside every hour. Your mental health will be in better shape, your family will see you as calmer, and your work will be accomplished with more success.”

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate
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Communicate Boundaries and Set Standards in Your Work Place

As millions of employees headed home at the start of the pandemic so did millions of students and family members. You are most likely experiencing challenges you never thought you would and are being asked to set unfamiliar boundaries with family members and roommates. 

To remedy this, business expert Shawn Johal also said to create boundaries for work time. He said to “communicate to your loved ones how your day is scheduled – maybe even give them a copy of your schedule.” This will give you more time to spend with them and you can incorporate walks, breaks, and meals to be spent together.

Level-Up Self-Care and Level-Down Self Destruction

There are many ways to prioritize self-care during quarantine and it seems like that’s all anyone is talking about. However what is less commonly discussed, but just as important is practicing self-care at work. While we commonly associate lighting candles and using essential oils for times of relaxation, their use can have many impacts on improving your workspace and make it more enjoyable.

Naturopathic Milana Perepyolkina recommends incorporating essential oils into your work routine due to its relaxing benefits for the body and mind. Incorporate lavender to relax the mind, bergamot to lift your mood and peppermint to increase energy and mental activity. Whatever self-care activities you incorporate into your work routine, use mantras to limit negative self-talk and spirals of anxiety that can so easily entrap us during the workday.

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I hope this piece has inspired you to add some moments of wellness to your work routine and encouraged you to prioritize your mental health during the turbulent time. For more inspiration and ideas on adding wellness to your workspace check out the infographic below with strategies to “zen” your workspace.

Wellness Strategies Infographic
Credit: https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/zen-your-work-from-home-space

Author Bio

Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate

Meditation can be a great mental health tool, but it is not for everyone.

If you hate to meditate, you are not alone. Meditation has some great benefits but it can be boring and time consuming.  If you’re the type of person who is always on the go, then sitting quietly and meditating feels like the last thing you want to do.  But meditation and mindfulness are all the rage right now, so there must be some good behind it, right?

Here are some tips if you’ve tried meditation unsuccessfully in the past, but are still determined to reap all the benefits of it.
Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate
*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.

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate


Meditation, plainly speaking, is the act of focusing your thoughts.  It is often associated with prayer, wellness retreats, mindfulness and yoga. But there are actually many different forms of meditation.  If you think that meditation isn’t for you, then you probably just haven’t found the right way to do it.

The Benefits of Meditation

Everyone should look for a way to incorporate meditation into their self care routine, as it has so many different benefits. It might sound like something just for yogis or crunchy folk, but there is a lot of science behind it too.  Stress is often caused by our brains working overtime, so meditation helps us to declutter our thoughts. By slowing down our minds, we can then focus in one at time.   

Deep breathing and mindfulness are also a big part of meditation.  If we take something that our body does automatically and start to pay attention to it, change it, control it, lengthen and shorten it – we feel a sense of control.  This is especially helpful when it feels like everything else in our life is out of our control.  There have been studies done that prove mindfulness meditation has an effect on our brains

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Meditate While Lying in Bed

Whether it’s first thing in the morning as soon as you open your eyes, or the last thing you do at at night before falling asleep, lying in bed is a great time to meditate.  Instead of reaching for your phone when that alarm clock goes off, lie still, take some deep breaths and think about your day.

    • How do you want to feel today? 
    • What do you want to accomplish? 
    • What are you worried about? Grateful for?

Simply being mindful before starting your day counts as meditation.  Throughout the day, think about your answers and find ways to meet your goals.


At night, settle into that comfy spot in bed and take slow, deep breaths to help calm your body and mind.  Reflect on your day, both the good and the bad. 

    • Did you meet the goals you set for yourself this morning? 
    • What do you want to change tomorrow? 
    • What is best thing that happened to you today? The worst?  

Meditating while lying in bed is great for those who find it hard to fit meditation in throughout the day or are always on the go.  Plus, some quiet meditation time before bed is a great way to battle insomnia

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Engage The Senses

Our senses play a big role in our mental health.  The things we see, smell, hear, taste and touch can enhance the meditation process and make it more enjoyable.  You can either focus on one or two of your senses at a time, or, for a full body experience, try to engage all the senses at once. 

Sight

Closing our eyes during meditation is one way to eliminate distractions, but sometimes that can signal sleep which is a distraction in itself.  An alternative would be to find a visual aid to focus on.  It can be a photograph or art piece that brings you joy.  Or focus on something that moves rhythmically, like a body of water, the trees blowing in the wind, a wind spinner, or an online visual aid.

Sound

You can find meditation playlists on nearly every music platform these days.  Sounds play a significant role in meditation as they work to drown out noise and help us to stay focused within.  Natural white noise like waves, thunderstorms, rain showers, bird calls, or Tibetan singing bowls are commonly used in meditation, but it doesn’t have to be slow and relaxing “spa” sounds.  You can meditate to whatever sound you truly enjoy – even if it means listening to your favorite band or song.

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Touch

With your skin being your body’s largest organ, it’s also your largest distraction. If you’re too hot or too cold, itchy or uncomfortable, you’re more likely to break your focus.  Try meditating while sitting outside on a sunny day and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.  Sit in the grass or on the sand.  Meditate while in a hot tub, sauna, pool or bathtub.

Smell

Enter aromatherapy.  I’m talking about essential oils, diffusers, incense, candles or air fresheners.  Inhaling scents that we love or that have various benefits can really enhance the process of meditation.  Aromatherapy on it’s own can help to reduce stress and anxiety and using them during meditation is a great way to get a complete mental workout. 

Taste

Meditating and a hot cup of herbal tea can be the perfect combination.  If tea isn’t your thing, then meditate while drinking your morning coffee or smoothie.  Meditate over a glass of wine or while indulging in your favorite dessert.  Meditation can actually help to promote weight loss and a lot of that includes being mindful of what we ingest. 

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Try Active Meditation

A common complaint about meditation is that it’s boring.  Instead of doing meditation the traditional way, give active meditation a try.  This consists of doing something meditative while being mindful.  It’s a way to engage the physical part of our brain so that we can truly focus on the mental part that controls our stress and anxiety levels. 

Some ways to practice active meditation include:

You can actually meditate while doing any mundane and ordinary task.  While your hands and body are busy, be mindful of your breathing and your thoughts.  If your mind wanders, try to bring it back to your thought and breath. This is a great option for busy moms and those who don’t have 20 minutes to sit quietly and meditate. 

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Location, Location, Location

Where you meditate can also be key to achieving meditation success.  As mentioned before, lying in bed is a great place to do it as you’re already comfortable and relaxed.  Being comfortable should be a priority, but it’s also important to find a place free of distractions.  If you need to, put on some noise cancelling headphones and shut or cover your eyes. 

Try changing up the locations where you meditate so it doesn’t become too redundant.  Try meditating outdoors.  Meditate while in the shower.  Meditate on the bus or subway.  Drive out to the country and meditate in a field of flowers.  Finding new places to meditate can make it more of an exciting challenge than a daily chore.

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Download an app

If you find it difficult to meditate on your own and need a little guidance, then consider downloading a meditation app.  Most apps are designed to help you stay consistent and offer variations based on what you want to work on.  They also track your progress, which is encouraging for many.  There are so many meditation apps that it all really comes down to preference. 

Some of the most popular ones include:
    • Headspace
    • Calm
    • Aura
    • Breethe
    • Buddhify

[Here’s some info on them, plus more!]

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Meditation shouldn’t feel like a chore or something that you must do.  It’s a mental exercise, and like physical exercise, even a little bit is better than nothing. If you can’t fit in a 20 minute meditation session, then start with 5 minutes and gradually work your way up.  Over time, it will become second nature to take a moment of your day to be present and mindful. 

And most importantly, remember that there is no wrong or right way to meditate.  At the end of a session, if you feel relaxed and less stressed, then it’s working!  Trying to keep up with the latest meditation trends can cause even more stress.  Find what works for you and you’ll be more inclined to stick with it. 

20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine

Etsy is a way to support small business owners during the pandemic.

With the coronavirus global pandemic closing the doors of many businesses, which ones will suffer the most?  The larger, corporate companies may make it through this with minimal impact, but the small business owners are at the biggest risk of losing it all.  Etsy is made up of independent sellers and small business owners from around the world, and they also offer the largest collection of unique and handmade items.  Purchasing one of these Etsy finds is the easiest and most fun way to #StandwithSmall.

Consider joining the #StandwithSmall movement and check out some of these useful Etsy finds.
20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
*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.
DIY Craft Kits - Etsy Finds 20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
Work From Home Supplies - Etsy Finds

Etsy Finds For Your Self Care Routine

Stuck at home during quarantine?  What better time to catch up on self care.  These Etsy finds make it easy to focus on you.  Put in the effort during quarantine and come out of the pandemic glowing and refreshed!

Self Care Kit - Stresscase Shop
StresscaseShop on Etsy

A Customized Self Care BoxEach purchase is curated based on your specific needs and includes things like organic teas, natural beauty products, herbs and even healing crystals.

Hair Growth Kit - NaturalSisters
NaturalSisters on Etsy

Hair Growth Products. Spend your self isolation growing out long, luscious locks.  Since you’ve got some time off from constant styling, now is the perfect time to focus on hair health.  

Dry Brushing Kit
BIRCHROSEandCO on Etsy

A Dry Brushing Set.  Dry brushing is a technique that helps exfoliate the skin as well as massage the lymphatic system for better physical and mental health.  This set comes complete with a brush and oil, perfect for your daily self care ritual. 

Hammock Chair
HammocksNica on Etsy

A Relaxing Hammock.  Hang it outside or in and it’s sure to become your favorite place to sit and relax.  Use it while meditating, watching the kids play or while reading a good book. 

Etsy Finds For Your Home Office

As a blogger, I’m used to working at home, but not everyone else is.  It can take some adjustments to find the right home office space.  Whether you need some privacy for conference calls or are struggling to make a homeschooling schedule, these Etsy finds might be able to help. 

Work from home door signs
WoodFinds on Etsy

Work From Home Door Signs. What’s worse than having your kids run into the room while you’re on a video call?  Or having to put someone on hold to answer the doorbell?  These customizable wood door signs might be just what you need. 

Honeycomb Pen Holder
DimensionsonDemand on Etsy

A Honeycomb Shaped Pen Holder. Can’t keep track of all your office supplies?  This 3D printed honeycomb desk organizer has room for all the various supplies you need for homeschooling or working from home.

A Chalkboard Command Center.  
CalendarGirlCompany on Etsy

A Central Command Center.  You might think there’s less to write on your calendar these days.  But you can use this calendar to keep track of your homeschooling assignments, work meetings or conference calls, social phone calls and meal planning so you can limit your shopping trips. 

Etsy Finds For Reading and Writing

Reading and writing are important things we should do everyday while stuck inside the house.  Quarantine is a good time to finally finish your favorite book.  And everyone should be keeping a journal of this historical pandemic so that we never, ever forget. 

A Leather Bookmark.   
OxandPine on Etsy

A Leather Bookmark.  Etsy actually has a huge assortment of bookmarks. Many people have made the switch to online or electronic reading, but nothing beats curling up with a good book and a fancy bookmark. 

A Leather Journal.
ForestNine on Etsy

An Old World Style Journal. I think this leather journal is just perfect for detailing all your pandemic chronicles.  Imagine being able to pass this down to your kids or grandchildren one day? There’s something romantic and adventurous about living through this historical time period. 

A Calligraphy Kit.  
AngeliqueInk on Etsy

A Calligraphy Kit. Learning a new skill is great for our mental health and will keep you distracted while bored at home. Calligraphy is all the rage right now, despite it’s ancient background. 

Etsy Finds For Organizing Your Kitchen

It’s not uncommon for those in quarantine to spend a lot more time in the kitchen.  Whether you’re expanding your cooking skills, cleaning and decluttering or baking bread, these Etsy finds are sure to help out!

A Spice Rack and Jars 
DIYProjectsShop on Etsy

A Spice Rack and Jars. This rustic, reclaimed wood spice rack comes with matching glass jars so you can keep all your spices at hand and on display while you try out those new recipes. 

Pantry Labels 
madeupbymandy on Etsy 

Pantry Labels. While you’re busy organizing your pantry, get a set of matching labels to give it a professional look. And hopefully, your pantry will stay clean after quarantine is over.

Beeswax Food Wraps.  
AlisaYao on Etsy

Beeswax Food Wraps. If you’ve been meaning to start eliminating disposable plastic in your kitchen, quarantine is the right time to start.  It’s healthier for you and for the environment, plus it will save you money and is one less thing you need to stock up on. 

Etsy Finds To Keep You Busy

Etsy is one of the best places to find arts and craft supplies, as well as handmade items.  Whether you want to start crafting, are looking for ways to incorporate art therapy into your life, or just need to restock some of your supplies, consider supporting a small business on Etsy.  

A DIY Organic Soap Kit
Arterno on Etsy

A DIY Organic Soap Kit. Make your own soap at home, and don’t worry about the stores being out of stock.  You can make handwashing more enjoyable with beautiful organic, hand made soaps.  Or craft them as a gift for a healthcare or front line worker in your life. 

A Weaving Loom Kit.
handiworkyourlove on Etsy

A Weaving Loom Kit. Weaving, knitting, crochet, macrame… any of these crafts are great for your fine motor skills and offer a distraction from anxious thoughts.  Try utilizing one of these crafts while meditating! 

An Embroidery Kit
KirikiPress on Etsy

An Embroidery Kit. Make an adorable little critter with these embroidery starter kit.  Another way to keep busy and learn a new skill.  

Etsy Finds For Your Windows

Have you heard of the Hearts in the Window movement?  People everywhere are decorating their windows to brighten their neighborhoods and send messages of hope.  Etsy is a great place to find unique and beautiful decorations for your window so that you can spread joy in your own community.

Stained Glass Heart Suncatcher
enbleuetverre on Etsy

A Heart Suncatcher.  This stained glass art piece resembles a dream catcher mobile and would look stunning displayed in your sunniest window!

Rainbow Heart Suncatcher.
ZorkaVenera on Etsy

A Rainbow Heart. I also love this colorful geometric heart.  I’m sure when the sun comes through this stained glass heart, the entire house is filled with a flurry of color! This seller also makes them in other styles, including gorgeous mandala designs.

Window Clings.  
WindowGemStudio on Etsy

Window Clings. Another great option to decorate your windows is by using decals and clings. These simply stick onto your window and also reflect light through them for a rainbow effect when the sun shines through.  Bonus – they work to deter birds from flying into your windows!  

And finally, if you absolutely must leave the house during the pandemic, make sure you’re equipped with a proper face mask.
Face Mask with filter pocket.
YourCuteWallz on Etsy

Face Mask with filter pocket. Several Etsy shops have started making and selling face masks to keep up with the growing demand.    You can find some that are made of organic cotton, have a filter pocket, or with different designs and ear straps, which tend to make wearing them more comfortable.  (But keep in mind that nothing sold on Etsy is considered medical-grade.) 


These Etsy finds are just a few suggestions of the millions of products you can get to make your quarantine more enjoyable.  And by making a purchase on Etsy, you can rest assured that you’re supporting a struggling independent seller or small business owner through this time of financial uncertainty. For postpartum depression printables, don’t forget to check out our own Etsy shop @RuninTrianglesBlog

Remember to #StandwithSmall and #StaySafe!
Etsy #StandwithSmall
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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.

What to do if you think you have postpartum depression
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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.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
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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. 

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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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. 

7 Days of Self Care
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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. 

11 Postpartum Depression Triggers and How to Avoid Them
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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.

solo beach picnic ideas
Source: https://floridapanhandle.com/blog/beach-picnic/

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.

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

20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
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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.

How to Start Blogging About Postpartum Depression
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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.

amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression
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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. 

20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
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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!  Interested in knitting? Check out Love Crafts for everything you need including free PDF patterns! 

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.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
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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. There are several different ways to meditate, even if you’re not a fan of it.  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.

20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
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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.  Stock up on fruit and vegetables and choose homemade meals over home delivery during quarantine.
    • Use an immune health supplement. Boost your immune system with a combination of Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C.
    • 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:
Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate
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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.

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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.