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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Types of Clutter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

5 Activities That Will Get Rid of the Post Holiday Blues

We spend months preparing for the holidays, and then they’re over in a day or two, leaving us feeling sad and empty.

The post holiday blues is a common experience for many people.  Once the festivities of the holiday season are done, what else is there to look forward to?  If you live in a cold climate like me, the months of January and February are often the coldest and dreariest, making us want to stay in and hibernate.

Falling into the slump of the post holiday blues can be dangerous for our mental health.  It can cause seasonal affective disorder, a depression relapse or symptoms of rage and anxiety.

Instead, try one of these five activities to help get rid of the common post holiday blues.
5 Activities that will get rid of the Post Holiday Blues
*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.
5 Activities that will get rid of the Post Holiday Blues

Take a Vacation

Obviously one of the best ways to get away from the harsh winter is to escape somewhere hot.  January boasts some of the best deals on getaways, specifically targeted at those suffering from a case of the post holiday blues.  Spending a few days at an all inclusive resort can do wonders for your mental health.  

But a post holiday vacation is not practical nor affordable for everyone.  You can still take advantage of the benefits of a vacation, though.  Book a hotel room for a weekend or go on a road trip if the weather’s not too bad.  Visit a local ski hill or try an ice fishing expedition.  Having some weekend activities planned for January and February can help tackle the post holiday blues by giving you something else to look forward to.

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Plan a Hygge Weekend or Party

Or a stay-cation, if you will.  If going out in the winter just isn’t your thing, then consider planning a hygge weekend instead.  If you’re not familiar with hygge, it’s the Danish way of living that includes lots of warmth, coziness and indulgence (click here to read all about it).  

You can cuddle up by the fireplace with the family and drink hot chocolate.  Or if you’re up for it, plan a hygge party!  Invite all your family and friends over for a relaxing night of cake and laughter.  Everyone can wear their comfiest pajamas and cozy socks.  You can all sit around playing board games and binge eating sweets.  What better way for you and all your loved ones to recover from the holidays together?

Hygge Lifestyle
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Try an Outdoor Spa Experience

Winter is the perfect time for an outdoor spa day.  Sitting in a hot tub can get really hot, really quickly… unless you’re sitting outside in the cold.  There are special thermotherapy spas popping up in colder climates now, inspired by the Scandinavian way of life.  These often include a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities and they are complete bliss on colder days.

Or look into visiting a hot spring resort. If you don’t live near one, check if any local gyms, clubs or hotels offer outdoor pools or spas.  Saunas are another great option for an outdoor spa experience and are quite popular in the winter.

If you can’t locate an outdoor spa near to you, then just head to your regular spa.  Any kind of pampering and self care will help you beat those post holiday blues and improve your overall mental health. 

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Deep Clean Your Home

I know this one sounds more like a chore.  But staying distracted and keeping busy is a great way to avoid symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Over the holidays, you’ve likely acquired a whole bunch of new stuff. That makes the months after the holidays the perfect time to purge all of your old stuff.

Start with one room a day (or week) and go through all the junk that’s been shoved into closets and into drawers.  Donate or sell whatever you can and throw out the rest.  By the time spring comes around, you’ll have a nice clean home on the inside, so you can focus just on the outside. 

Minimizing your junk and living in a clean home is great for your mental health.  Plus, it will give you a real sense of purpose and discourage you from feeling lazy and unproductive all winter long. 

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Make a Big Change

New year, new you right?  While I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, making a drastic change or trying something new in your life can definitely get rid of the post holiday blues.  Don’t focus on how sad you are that the holidays are over, look towards the future instead.

January is a great time for planning.  Print off our free 2020 calendar and start penciling in all your important dates.  See where you can make some changes to your routine or schedule.  Or perhaps the change could be something physical, like changing your hair color or style, makeup routine or getting into shape. 

Consider changing something in your environment as well.  You could paint your walls, change up your furniture or even get a new car.  Make some new friends, sign up for a class or start a new hobby.  Something new or different for the New Year will make you feel proud and excited for what’s ahead.


How to Protect Your Sleep During Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings time can be a mother’s worst nightmare.

Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.  This all sounds well and good for most people, after all, it’s just a one hour difference.  But if you have little ones on a strict bedtime schedule, or if your mental health suffers from changes in your routine or sleep pattern, it can be a difficult time of the year to manage. 

Here are a few tips on how to protect your sleep during daylight savings time.
How to Protect Your Sleep During Daylight Savings Time
*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.
Daylight Savings Time Infographic

Be Prepared

Yes, it’s just an hour.  For many people, it doesn’t even make a difference in their lives.  But for young children, it can mean some trouble adjusting to the change for a few days, if not longer.  This can disrupt mom’s sleep patterns as well, which is bad news if she suffers from postpartum depression or anxiety.  Sleep deprivation can be a big trigger for those suffering from a mental health disorder. 

If you’re worried about your sleep being disrupted, then try to prepare yourself ahead of time.  Don’t over-schedule yourself the weekend that daylight savings time changes and try to get in some extra rest.  If you’re concerned about your child’s sleeping habits, then consider consulting with a baby sleep training expert for advice.

Go to Bed Early

Technically the time changes at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but it’s a common practice to change all the clocks back before going to bed on Saturday night.  Whether you’re losing or gaining an hour, consider going to bed early that Saturday night to ensure that you get enough sleep no matter what time you wake up.

Take the Weekend Off

Thankfully, daylight savings time changes on a weekend so you don’t need to worry about school or work schedules.  If you can, try to limit any scheduled or time-constricted activities.  It’s a great time to plan a cozy hygge weekend or a family movie marathon where you’re sure to lose track of time anyway.  And who knows, maybe planning a relaxing weekend when the time changes could become a favorite family tradition!

Hygge Lifestyle
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Make the Change Gradually

There is no rule that says the hour has to be changed all at once.  One way to make the daylight savings time change seem less drastic is to change the clocks in smaller increments throughout the weekend.  Start by changing your clocks in 15 minute intervals on Saturday morning and evening and then again on Sunday.  The smaller the change, the less your body and mind will notice it.

Change the Clocks in the Middle of the Afternoon

Another alternative to help protect your sleep is to change the clocks in the middle of the afternoon instead of at bedtime.  This is a great option, especially for children, because the afternoon hours can usually slip by quickly when we’re busy having fun.  This will also ensure less disruption to your child’s bedtime routine and help you sleep better as well. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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Try to Embrace it

When it comes to daylight savings time, it’s best to just not make a big deal out of it.  Worrying or focusing too much on it can cause a lot of disruption.  It can cause anxiety for moms who need every bit of undisturbed sleep they can get.  Knowing that daylight savings time is coming can also contribute to symptoms of depression, including seasonal affective disorder.  Instead of worrying about it, try to be mindful of the time change.  Pay close attention to the changes in nature and embrace the opportunity to adjust your routine for the winter season.


Prior to having children or dealing with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, you probably never thought much about daylight savings time other than being on time for something important.  With most smartphones automatically updating the time, you may even completely forget about it until you wake up Sunday morning confused about what time it REALLY is.   Often, we don’t experience the repercussions of the time change until after the fact.  So protect your sleep this season and be ready for it! 

Two Mental Health Warriors Share What It Means To Be Fragile

Do you consider yourself to be fragile?

I recently collaborated with Katya and Cait, the founders of The Fragile Club.  One thing we have in common is our shared passion for raising mental health awareness.  We recognize that in order to do that, we need to encourage the conversation around mental illness.  The more people who are brave enough to speak up about what they are battling, the less stigmatized it will be.  

On both our sites, those suffering from mental illness are invited to speak up and share their stories, no matter how scary it might be.  The Fragile Club also offers a line of merchandise, with profits going towards mental health organizations around the world.  These simple pieces, including clothing, hats and even an adorable fanny pack, are branded with a single word “fragile.”  

I took the opportunity to interview these two incredible women and find out more about what it means to be part of The Fragile Club.
The Fragile Club
*This is a collaborative post and contains opinions from a third party. 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.

1. What is the Fragile Club?

Katya: The Fragile Club, first of all, is a community. The place where we share our stories and support each other.

Cait: The Fragile Club is a socially conscious brand created to bring awareness to mental health. For every item sold we donate the profits to one of our partnered Mental Health Organizations. We know that everyone has their own powerful story that can impact individuals and we encourage sharing as a core way to empower and support.

2. In what ways does the Fragile Club help raise awareness for mental health?

Katya: We are building a network of people with social influence (celebrities and social media influencers) who share their experiences dealing with mental health-related problems in order to show that it is okay to be open and talk about it. Also, we donate part of the profit from sold products to Mental Health organizations around the world.

Cait: Through our ambassadors, collaborators, partners and community we aim to bring mental health into normal conversation. And it’s through sharing our individual stories that we can raise impactful awareness.

The Fragile Club
Click here to purchase The Fragile Club Sweatshirt

3. How do you two know each other?

Katya: We both work remotely in the area of digital marketing and advertising.  We met not too long ago through friends in common during our travels in South-East Asia and stayed in touch since then. We have a lot in common – modelling, that we both do, remote work, travel, etc. Cait helped me with the content for a few projects and during one of the brainstorming sessions, the idea of The Fragile Club was born.

Cait: As Katya explains, we both have lots of experience working remotely and we met via mutual friends during our travels in South-East Asia and have stayed in touch since then. The first time we worked together I was creating content for some of Katya’s projects and we really enjoyed working together.

4. Aside from the Fragile Club, what kinds of things are you interested in?

Katya: As a full-time job, I do digital marketing and advertising and I’m absolutely loving it! Besides that, I’m interested in fitness, art and travels.

Cait: Both Katya and myself have been in the modeling industry. I love fitness, health, personal growth and content creation.

The Fragile Club
Katya and Cait – The Founders of The Fragile Club

5. What inspired you to start the Fragile Club?

Katya: As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to create something that would bring some value to society. As I personally have experience with depression and anxiety, I want to support people who deal with mental health-related problems.

Cait: Katya and I both are very passionate about creating positive change and our biggest conversation has been around mental health. We wanted to create something in the mental health space and the Fragile Club fell into place.

6. Tell us more about your personal experiences with mental illness.

Katya: I had depression, hypochondria and anxiety. After my first thought that suicide isn’t a really bad idea, I went to the psychiatrist on the same day. Had to go through the therapy and course of antidepressants to get to the point where I am now. I lived with it over 3 years without understanding what’s wrong with me (most of the time I was thinking that I have some kind of disease and I’m dying). I’m happy it’s over.

Cait: My sister’s story has had a huge impact on me and is a big reason why I care so much about Fragile. She grew up a middle child of 4 girls and always felt like the underdog in our religious family. Along with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this lead to her drinking and getting into drugs by the age of 12, pregnant by the time she was 16, and leaving home at 17. Years later, when she was 22, my family learned that she had become addicted to heroin two years earlier. This was devastating to my whole family. My mom has been amazing in helping her rehabilitate and she’s been safely on methadone for the past few years.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried over my little sister and how much I just want her to know she is loved and she doesn’t have to feel so alone and outcasted. I want anyone who’s felt the way she has to know that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and for the people around them to know how to help the people they love.

Personally, I’ve been through periods of depression, anxiety, self-hatred and multiple mental breakdowns. I’ve had anemia and endometriosis which both has fed periods of depression. And I know what it feels like to feel like no one supports you and you don’t know what to do.

The Fragile Club
Click here to purchase The Fragile Club Fanny Pack

7. What does being “fragile” mean to you?

Being fragile means that you are human. We want to highlight that everyone around us has gone through situations that we can’t understand, much less judge. Being fragile means that you accept your pain and become stronger by owning it. It also means that we need to remember that the person next to you has struggles and pain of their own, no matter who they are.

8. What do you feel is the biggest barrier to proper mental health care?

There are many barriers, but the biggest we believe is the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is why we care so much about our mission to raise awareness and funds for mental health. We need both community and government to support each other as well as the funds to bring about proper treatment and research.

9. What do you hope to achieve in the future with the Fragile Club?

We want to bring this important issue to the forefront of conversation in society and culture. That is our biggest hope and dream.

The Fragile Club
Click here to purchase The Fragile Club Beanie

10. How can others become involved in your mission?

Simply by making a single purchase donates funds to mental health organizations we’ve vetted and believe in their work. By someone wearing Fragile it helps to bring mental health to conversation in their daily life.

11. Anything else you’d like to add?

By removing judgement, we have room support and encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves, and that includes understanding and supporting each other in our darkest moments.


For more information about The Fragile Club, to share your story on their site or to make a purchase and support mental health initiatives around the world, please visit http://fragileclub.com.

The Fragile Club The Fragile Club

How to Put Your Mental Health First When Life Gets Unexpected

Life has a habit of surprising us and even when things are floating along nicely, there’s always a chance of a bolt from the blue upsetting our mental health. The unpredictability of life is what makes our existence precious and exciting, but not knowing what the future holds can also trigger anxiety. When a curve ball does come out of nowhere, how do you react?

Many of us switch to autopilot, but our responses and instincts aren’t always beneficial for our mental health and well being. If you’re going through a tough time, here’s a guide to some of the most common causes of stress and distress and some tips to help you put your mental health first.

Put Your Mental Health First
*This is a collaborative post and may contain 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. 

Relationship breakdowns

The relationships we have with other people can make or break us. Being with a single person or having a group of friends can make us feel ecstatically happy, but there’s also a risk of coming into contact with people who don’t have a positive influence. At some point, the majority of people will decide to break up with a partner or let a friendship slip away because that relationship isn’t making them happy.

Spending time with friends and your partner should lift you up, make you feel safe, secure, content and give you hope for the future. If you question your own worth at any point, feel like you can’t be yourself around another person or wake up every morning wondering if you’re making the right decision, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationships.

If you’ve been with a partner for a long time, you’re married or you have children together, it can be incredibly tough to make the decision to separate. You probably envisioned spending the rest of your lives together and the thought of being alone is scary.

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If you have decided to break up with a long-term partner, and there are legalities involved, make sure you get the advice and support you need from a legal firm that specializes in family law. It’s very common to have questions about the processes that are involved.  An experienced legal team will fight in your corner and give you the information you need to understand what the next few months will entail and what rights you have.

In addition to seeking professional advice, it’s also critical to take advantage of emotional support. At this time, you might be hurting and feeling very low. Reach out to close friends and family members, talk to a therapist or a charity helpline if you’d rather speak to somebody you don’t know.  Remember to take good care of yourself. Spend time with people you trust that make you feel good about yourself. There is no universal guide to healing after a breakup, so don’t put pressure on yourself or compare yourself to others.


Loss

The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult hurdles human beings have to overcome. We spend our lives building families and groups of friends and to lose somebody that you love can cause immeasurable pain. One important thing to remember when you’re dealing with bereavement is that everyone is different. People cope with grief in very different ways and there is no cookie-cutter mold that you have to fit into.

In the early days, it’s common to feel numb and to try and fill your time, often doing tasks that really don’t need to be done. Most of us like to try and keep busy purely so that our minds aren’t occupied by thoughts of that person and feelings of sadness and despair.

When you feel able to open up, talking is hugely beneficial. It can be dangerous to keep your emotions bottled up. Don’t be afraid to cry and don’t feel that you have to be strong for others. You might not want to sob in front of your kids, but make sure you have an outlet for your feelings. If this means going to the bathroom for 5 minutes to take time out or making a call to a friend so that you can let it all out, this is what you should do.

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They say that time is a healer and to some extent, it is. The problem is that time can also make others forget. When you first lose a loved one, you may find that you’re inundated with flowers, cards, and messages. As time passes, the texts and calls to see how you are dry up as people get on with their lives. This can be very difficult to take.

To help you cope and to make the grieving process more tolerable, don’t be afraid to lean on others and to seek advice. Many people find it helpful to go to group support sessions and to talk to a counselor about their feelings. You might also find that creative activities enable you to express your emotions.  Exercise, especially activities that are designed to clear your mind and promote relaxation like yoga, help you sleep if you’re struggling with insomnia.


Unemployment and money worries

If you lose your job or you’re worried about debt, money problems can consume you and contribute to intense anxiety. If you’re trying to raise kids, run a household and keep a roof over your head, it can be very difficult to tackle debt, especially if you’ve lost your job. If money worries are getting you down, and you’re facing an uncertain future, for which you weren’t prepared, there is help out there.

Often, when bad news comes out of the blue, the easiest path to take is to bury your head in the sand and hope that everything blows over. In reality, the longer you ignore debt, the more serious the situation becomes. If you’re unemployed, money issues may be temporary, and finding another job could provide a solution.

If the scenario is more grave, the sooner you seek professional advice, the better. You don’t want to be panicking every time your phone rings or there’s a knock at the door. If you’re chasing your tail and can’t pay your bills, a financial adviser or a debt charity can help you out. There are paths you can take and there may be simple solutions that could save you a huge amount of stress.

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Anxiety can really take its toll on your physical health, as well as your mental well being. If you are anxious all the time, and you’re finding it tough to relax and stay calm, there are self-help techniques you can try. It’s also beneficial to talk about how you feel and to ask for help. Often, we make assumptions that people won’t want to be burdened by our issues but that’s usually not the case. You might find that your family and friends are more than willing to support you.

Life is never plain sailing, and most of us have to deal with challenges and obstacles that seem to come from nowhere. If you’re going through a tough time your health might suffer, and this is why it’s crucial to try and look after yourself as best you can. Focus on getting through each day, maintain a positive mindset and accept that some days will be harder than others.


16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms

Ecotherapy is the act of using the healing benefits of nature to improve our mental health.

Sometimes referred to “nature therapy” or “green therapy,” ecotherapy has several amazing benefits for moms.  In our modern, industrialized world, we spend so much more time indoors than we do outside in nature, and it’s starting to have a tangible effect on our mental health.

Ecotherapy is a broad term used to describe all kinds of outdoor activities that have health benefits.  These can include everything from the simple act of sitting outdoors in the sunshine to hiking and mountain climbing.  With benefits for the entire family, it’s a great way for moms to spend time with the kids as well as take care of themselves.

Here are some ways that moms can benefit from some of the various forms of ecotherapy.
16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
*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.
16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms

1. Fresh Air

The obvious benefit of getting outdoors is simply to enjoy the fresh air. Inhaling fresh air, as opposed to the circulated, stale indoor air, is a great way to clear our minds and bodies.  A little bit of fresh air everyday can help ward off headaches and congestion, and is great for our overall health.  For those who live in crowded, busy cities, it’s worth it to get out to the country side every once in a while for a decent dose of fresh air.  It’s something that far too many of us take for granted.  

2. Sunshine

Warm sunshine is another building block of ecotherapy.  Exposure to sun can top off our vitamin D levels, which is super important for maintaining our serotonin levels and avoiding seasonal affective disorder.  Vitamin D is also important in calcium absorption, can lower your blood pressure and even help you lose weight!  But make sure to protect your skin while outside, the sun’s power is both great and dangerous.

3. Physical Activity

Ecotherapy works because being outdoors has a way of inspiring us to explore, run and play.  When it’s a beautiful day out, we don’t want to waste it by staying inside watching television.  Just walking outdoors for an hour each day is enough to boost our moods and help us to live healthier lives.  Often, the elements of nature can encourage us to take up more extreme forms of physical activity, such as hiking, biking, swimming or mountain climbing.  The opportunities to get our heart pumping and work up a sweat while out in nature are endless. 

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4. Stimulates The Senses

It’s rare to find a form of therapy that can stimulate all of our senses at once.  But ecotherapy does just that.  When we’re out in nature, we feel the sun’s warmth, the delicate tickle of green grass on our toes or a light breeze against our skin.  We smell the fresh air, flowers, earth and the wood of the trees.  We hear birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind and the gentle trickling of water.  We see flowers and landscapes in all different colors and shapes.  We taste sweet berries or fruit freshly picked from the trees.  Simply being outdoors is a feast for the senses.

5. Spending Time With Animals

Ecotherapy also includes spending time with animals and experiencing the benefits of some of nature’s greatest gifts.  Spending time with animals can help to reduce our stress levels and boost our moods.  You don’t need to have your own pet in order to get the benefits of pet therapy.  A visit to a farm, petting zoo, animal shelter or even just some simple bird watching is like an instant mood booster without all the responsibility of raising your own pet.  

6. Talking in Nature 

Talking about feelings can be difficult for a lot of people.  Especially so for moms battling a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder such as postpartum depression.  Many people find it comforting to talk while going for a walk outdoors.  The distraction of the sights and sounds can ease tension or awkward silence.  The physical act of walking while talking can actually encourage the mind to open up even more, because it’s now being asked to multitask and thus feels less inhibited.  So the next time you have something important to discuss with someone – try inviting them on a stroll through the park.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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7. Digging in the Dirt

Contrary to popular belief, dirt is not dirty.  Pure, rich soil from the earth is actually really good for you!  By digging your bare hands (or feet) into the dirt, you can absorb the good bacteria known as Mycobacterium vaccae which is a natural antidepressant and can improve your overall health and immune system.  Ecotherapy is all about ditching the gardening gloves and flip flops and becoming one with the dirt!

8. Gardening

Since you’re already barefoot and ankle deep in dirt, you might as well plant a garden while you’re at it.  There are so many health benefits of gardening that it’s the most popular form of ecotherapy.  In addition the health benefits you get directly from the soil, caring for a garden is a great way to nurture your motherly instincts.  Planting seeds and watching them grow into full grown plants will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.

9. Eat a Healthier Diet

We would all love to eat farm fresh fruit and vegetables everyday, but it’s a sad fact that healthier food often tends to cost more at the local grocery store.  Instead, grow healthy fruit and vegetables in your own garden.  Not only will it be organic, but it will be free!  A healthy diet is especially important for moms battling a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, as well as for children of all ages.  Everyone in the family will be much more inclined to eat food that they’ve grown themselves.  

A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety
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10. Cultivate Healing Herbs

In addition to healthy fruit and vegetables, you can also grow certain herbs that offer medicinal benefits. Lavender, Chamomile and Valerian are  popular ones, especially to help with sleep and reduce stress.  Peppermint, rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil are great for cooking but their oils have several healing benefits as well. St. John’s Wort, known for it’s natural antidepressant properties, can easily be grown in any herb garden.  There are so many different herbs available that you can grow easily and always have on hand when you need them.

11. Boosts Confidence

Growing your own plants from seedlings is a real confidence booster.  In a world where parenting is so complicated and full of different opinions and methods – gardening takes you back to the beginning.  Plants don’t need complicated methods – they need soil, water and sunlight to thrive.  Being able to produce fruit or flowers from a tiny seed can give you a sense of pride and confidence in yourself. 

12. Sleep Better

When you combine all of the fresh air, sunshine and physical activity, it adds up to one thing – a better night’s sleep!  This holds true for both moms and babies.  Ecotherapy is an excellent course of treatment for those with insomnia as it reduces the common culprits: stress, anxiety and depression.  Try taking a nap outdoors, in a hammock or on a blanket in the grass.  Between the warm sun, light breeze and bird songs you’re sure to feel relaxed.  Who needs a white noise machine with “nature sounds” when you can get the live version in your own backyard?

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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13. Community

Spending time alone in nature is incredibly peaceful, but ecotherapy can also be done as a community.  Community gardens, stroller walking groups at the park or even yoga on the beach are all great forms of ecotherapy that can help to encourage social skills.  Once you find an activity that you enjoy doing outdoors, reach out to see if others want to join you or if there is already a group of like-minded people who gather regularly.  Being outdoors increases the probability that you will encounter and socialize with others in your community, which is great for your mental health.

14. An Outlet for Anger

Ecotherapy can also help with anger management issues Try bushwhacking some hedges when you’re feeling frustrated and full of rage.  Kick some rocks or punch a tree – I promise, they can handle it.  Sitting alone in nature is also a great place to find peace.  Meditate, even speak out loud to the plants, insects, animals and trees.  They make great listeners and they won’t judge you or tell your secrets.  It might sound silly, but saying something out loud, regardless of who is listening or not, is a lot different than simply thinking about it.

15. Reduces Anxiety

A major cause of anxiety for many people is the thought of death, illness or harm.  Spending time observing nature can give us a better appreciation of the life cycle and realize that everything happens for a reason.  The old leaves fall off the trees to make way for new growth.  Plants sprout from a single seed, produce their fruit, get old and wither.  Their fruit grows several new plants and the cycle continues again.  We see some plants lost to neighborhood rabbits, others to nature’s elements.  And we realize that all life has a meaning and purpose.

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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16. Find Hope for the Future

Taking care of the earth, whether it’s in the form of gardening, raising animals or simply observing nature around you, is one way to remain hopeful.  A mother suffering from postpartum depression, for example, may have trouble seeing the future beyond all of the darkness.  Ecotherapy reminds us all that life, like nature, continues despite bad weather, cold, darkness and drought.  Even when things seem at their worst, the sun will come out again and all will be well.


Hysterectomy: A Chance at Freedom from Endometriosis

The month of March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

I am one of the millions of women in the world who has endometriosis.  A year and a half ago, I had a hysterectomy.  I wasn’t given much of a choice in the matter due to the fact that I had stage 4 endometriosis as well as adenomyosis of the uterus.  Aside from one ovary, all of my reproductive organs were removed via an open abdominal incision.  The endometrial tissue that was growing on the inside of my pelvis, intestines, bladder and bowel was scraped and burned off with the hopes of it never returning.

Following the hysterectomy, I was finally able to experience freedom from the pain of endometriosis that had plagued me for years.
Hysterectomy: A Chance at Freedom from Endometriosis
*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.

The recovery period following my hysterectomy was one of the toughest struggles I have ever experienced. The surgery was invasive and there were complications.  Worst of all, neither my doctor nor I predicted that the outcome would be nearly as bad as it was.  We were blindsided with a “worst case scenario.”  Being unprepared for a hysterectomy made the recovery difficult, both physically and emotionally.

In The Hospital

48 Hours

I gripped my morphine drip with an iron fist.  I don’t remember much in those first 48 hours, aside from getting the bad news.  Since I did not go into the hospital on that Friday morning expecting to come out of it with a hysterectomy and a 5 day hospital stay, I was not in the least bit prepared.  I hadn’t packed a change of clothes, a toothbrush or a phone charger.  Even though my husband did his best to bring me what I needed, the loss of control made me feel anxious and on edge the entire time.

Day 3

I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery, but I wasn’t given a transfusion until three days later.  Perhaps it was because they wanted to see if I would recover without one, which I didn’t.  I was weak, dizzy and my breathing was even faint due to a lack of oxygen in my blood.  At night, I would wake up gasping for air.  After the blood transfusion I began to feel a lot better.

They finally removed the catheter but peeing was next to impossible.  A tiny trickle came out at best.  Getting out of bed to go the bathroom and back again took every ounce of strength I had.  By that evening, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t make it to the bathroom or pee at all and the nurses had to use a straight catheter to empty my bladder.  Two straight catheters later, they decided to put the Foley catheter back in for the night.

Day 4

I was supposed to go home. I was somewhat mobile, able to pee on my own, made a bowel movement, had been off of morphine for 24 hours and even managed to take a shower.  They replaced the morphine with T3’s for pain management instead.  But later that afternoon, I began to feel dizzy, weak, nauseated and had shortness of breath in addition to a drop in blood pressure.  Turns out I had a reaction to the codeine in the T3’s.  I stayed an extra night to be on the safe side.

Day 5

I finally got discharged from the hospital five days after my sudden hysterectomy. It was a two hour drive home and my husband and sister had padded the seat in our vehicle with pillows and blankets so that I would be as comfortable as possible.  The nurses gave me a dose of painkillers right before wheeling me out and buckling me in.  I vaguely remember the drive but it felt good to be home.

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering From Postpartum Depression
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The First Two Weeks

Movement

At the hospital I was given Heparin shots regularly, but now I was supposed to get up out of bed and walk around as much as possible to avoid getting a blood clot.  Since we live in a split-level house I was mostly contained to the upper level, so I did laps around my bed and in the hallway.

Pillows

The only way I was truly comfortable was with a pillow under my head, one under each of my arms, and one across my stomach which I had to apply pressure to anytime I tried to use my abdominal muscles (which is so much more than you realize).

10 Important Warning Signs of Endometriosis
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Constipation

They give you a few stool softeners in the hospital but you’ll need them for far longer.  Since my bowel, bladder and intestines had all been “scraped” of endometrial tissue and adhesions, they too, were swollen and trying to heal.  Going to bathroom was something I dreaded having to do.

Stairs

Going up and down stairs was a task that I didn’t even tackle until the second week.  You really don’t realize how painful it can be on your incision to take a step up or down.  It pulls on the stitches and stretches everything from the inside.  One step at a time, with slow movements and regular breaks was the only way to manage them.

The Tormented Life of a Mother Suffering with Endometriosis
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Six Weeks Later

My grandmother had come to stay with us during my recovery period and she was an absolute blessing.  She took care of the kids, cooked, cleaned and delivered my favorite foods and tea to my bedside on a regular basis.  She, too, had a hysterectomy in her 30’s and so she knew the pain I was in and refused to let me lift a single finger. 

So when the six week mark hit, I expected all this hysterectomy business to be behind me.  But I was still in pain.  It hurt to bend over, and even just to stand for any length of time.  It still hurt to go to the bathroom and I was exhausted all day long even though I wasn’t doing anything.  I was apparently well enough to drive but moving my foot from the gas pedal to the brake caused pain by my incision. 

By this time, my grandmother returned home and it was just me and the kids, resuming our normal, everyday activities. My husband hated to see me in pain and was anxious for me to recover.  He asked me every single day if I was doing better.  I wasn’t.  I was struggling so hard to get back into things.  But I told him “yes” so that he wouldn’t worry.  It took at least eight weeks before the pain finally ceased.  It still hurt to lift or bend, but for the majority of the day, I didn’t think about it.  

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up About Chronic Pain
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The Next Year

The Absence of Blood

If there is one major benefit to a hysterectomy for a woman in her 30’s, it’s the end of periods for good.  Prior to my hysterectomy, I bled for 6 weeks straight.  I started to get a rash from having to wear pads and tampons continuously for so long.  But in the last year since, I haven’t had to think about a single drop of blood.

Believe it or not, it was something that I needed to get used to.  For 20 years, I’ve had to worry about waking up to blood stained sheets or dealing with bloody messes all over the bathroom.  I still find myself checking the toilet paper after I wipe for traces of blood, but there’s never any there.

Ovulation

Yes, my lonely solo ovary still ovulated.  At least, I believe that it did, but I no longer had a cervix or menstrual cycle to help me determine for sure.  Further research confirmed that symptoms of ovulation post hysterectomy were:

    • pelvic pain (on the side of the remaining ovary)
    • tender breasts
    • PMS symptoms (mood swings, food cravings, headache, bloating)

Since that one ovary was still ovulating and producing estrogen, these symptoms did not stop post hysterectomy.  But a sole ovary will only be able to hold down the fort for so long, so I have had to accept the fact that menopause will come to me sooner rather than later.  

Birth Control

Many women express a decrease in their sex life following a hysterectomy. But not having to worry about getting pregnant actually made it all the more enticing for me.  Even though I was still ovulating, I didn’t need to track my cycle or worry about what form of birth control to use.  Although it took some time to accept the fact that I would never have another baby, part of me was relieved to never have to worry about any of the baby-making parts again.

Freedom

A hysterectomy did provide me with a sense of freedom from endometriosis. For the first time, in a very long time, I enjoyed a summer with my family and was able to do all the things that I never could before.  I could go camping or to the beach and not have to worry about changing a tampon in the middle of the woods.  I had energy and was no longer in an obscene amount of pain so I could keep up with my kids for a change.  I danced and swam and ran around and hiked and rode a bike.  I was able to live my life, without pads or pills or a heat pack.  

Among all my newfound freedom, however, there was a looming sense of emptiness. The lack of periods was a constant reminder of my traumatic experience.  I hadn’t quite come to terms with the loss of my uterus yet.  The more I thought about it, the more I felt empty, infertile and dried up.  I would hear or see other women complain about having cramps and asking for a tampon and while I was glad those days were behind me, I also felt like less of a woman.

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18 Month Update

A little over a month ago, I suddenly experienced a sharp pelvic pain.  I followed up with a doctor who said it was likely caused by a small hernia along my incision and ordered me to rest for a few weeks.  He also warned me that it could be caused by scar tissue and/or adhesions.  If the pain persisted I was to come back for further tests.

Obviously, as a mother of three, trying to get enough rest was near impossible.  I did my best to not bend, lift or strain myself but the pain was persistent.  Within two weeks, it had spread across my entire pelvis and lower back… and it was all too familiar.

So now, 18 months post hysterectomy, I wait for more doctor’s appointments to find out if the endometriosis has returned.

Overall, my quality of life has improved since having the hysterectomy. At the time, it was traumatic and difficult to deal with.  But even with the possibility of the endometriosis returning, I have no regrets.  The hysterectomy gave me a chance at freedom, even if it was short lived.

Hysterectomy: A Chance at Freedom from Endometriosis Hysterectomy: A Chance at Freedom from Endometriosis

How To Know If Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms

With the variety of different online resources available to moms with postpartum depression and/or anxiety, how do you know which one is the right choice for you?

Thanks to the internet, moms suffering from a postpartum mood disorder can find help from the comfort of their own homes.  From their cell phone or computer they can quickly and easily get in touch with someone who understands their situation and can offer advice and counseling.  It might be a game changer for the mental health community but is online therapy the right choice for moms with postpartum depression or anxiety?

One company, eVideo Counselor, is looking to make sure of it.  Their success in helping veterans with PTSD and substance abuse patients find hope again, has led them to reach out to the maternal mental health community.  I had an opportunity to check out their services for myself and discovered just how beneficial their services can be for moms with postpartum depression.

Here are some tips to help you figure out if this is the right choice for you.
How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms
*This is a sponsored post for which I received compensation. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.  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.

Finding The Right Therapist

Moms are nothing if not thorough.  When we got pregnant, we made sure to find the right doctor to deliver our baby and the right pediatrician to take care of them.  And by “right” I mean someone that we trusted, were comfortable with and could talk openly to.  So it’s a no-brainer that we look for the same qualities in a therapist.

One of the biggest hesitations that moms have when it comes to online therapy is who their therapist will be.  How can we trust this person on the other end of the screen who could be who-knows-where?  Will it be awkward? Do they have real credentials?  Is this all a scam?

Thankfully, eVideo Counselor has taken away that uncertainty by guaranteeing that their counselors are all well trained and licensed, undergo thorough background checks and are consistently monitored to ensure high-performance.

Most importantly, their video conferencing sessions make sure that you get  the personalized face to face contact that a mom with postpartum depression so desperately needs.  Your therapist will be able to read your body language and facial expressions in order to understand all the things that you want to say but just don’t know how to.  At first, it might feel a little bit awkward.  But eventually, video conferencing with your therapist will feel no different than meeting with them in person.

All eVideo Counselor sessions are also HIPAA compliant, which means you can speak freely and openly with your therapist and know that everything you say is private and confidential.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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What If It Doesn’t Work?

Therapy does not work for everyone.  And sometimes it does work, without you even realizing it.  At my very first therapy session nearly 7 years ago, all I did was cry for the entire hour.  I felt like I had wasted everyone’s time.  Little did I know, having a safe place to let all my emotions go was exactly what I needed.  It was part of the healing process and put me on the path to recovery.

One of the best things that eVideo Counselor offers is a system for measuring whether or not online therapy is working for you.  

Prior to beginning online therapy with an eVideo Counselor, you’ll be given a short online questionnaire.  This is similar to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) that is normally used by doctors and care providers in the first few weeks postpartum, but more detailed.  You will also be asked the same questionnaire halfway through your therapy sessions and at the end, to see how your answers have changed.

There are additional and more extensive tests offered as well, but this system of metrics offers something that mothers with a postpartum mood disorder desperately need – validation. 

The tests can determine whether you are suffering from clinical postpartum depression or anxiety, or a combination of the two.  For mothers who aren’t 100% certain of their diagnosis, or who might still be in denial about what they’re feeling, this is a huge benefit and step in the right direction.

Your therapist will also go over your test results with you in detail.  This additional step is unlike anything offered by a doctor’s office.  Explaining why and how you answered the questions the way you did will give your therapist a better idea of how to care for you.  They will also explain the significance of the questions and provide you with a plan on how to manage your symptoms.

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Getting Your Doctor Involved

A legitimate company that wants to help you find healing and success will want to involve all aspects of your healthcare. Mental illness can cause a combination of physical and psychological symptoms.  It’s important to have a team of medical professionals working together to provide you with the best care possible.

eVideo Counselor has already thought of that and makes it possible for your therapist to coordinate with your healthcare provider.  This additional service means there won’t be any surprises when you go into your doctor’s office, and you won’t have to repeat everything over and over again.

This care co-ordination service is something that can help put an end to stories like Jessica Porten’s (a.k.a. the mom who had the cops called on her when she went to the hospital seeking help for postpartum depression).  Having a licensed therapist vouch for your symptoms, plus have the test results to show for it, can make a difference in how you will be treated by the medical system.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression .

There is a lot of fear and stigma around maternal mental health, which is one of the main reasons why mothers don’t speak up about postpartum depression.  Online therapy offers services that can help break down those barriers and encourage mothers to feel confident enough to speak up.

In addition to the more common benefits of online therapy, such as convenient scheduling, anonymity and cost, eVideo Counselor offers extra perks that make therapy sessions more well-rounded.  Because of this, they have lower no-show rates and higher success rates.

But the truth is, if you really want to know if online therapy is the right choice for you, you need to try it out yourself.

All it takes is a few short steps to get started with an eVideo Counselor right now. Click here to begin.


How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms

How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms

How to know if Online Therapy is the right choice for moms

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

Moms are hardworking and give all of themselves to their children and families… but at what cost?

A mother who works endlessly to provide for the needs of her children can often forget to take care of herself.  Many mothers don’t even realize some of the things they are doing to harm their mental health.  It’s easy to fall into “survival mode”  and not think about anything other than just making it through to the end of the day.  Some of the things we do each day to survive, whether intentionally or not,  can have a negative impact on our mental health.

Here are a few things many moms do that can actually harm their mental health.
11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
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.

Forget to Eat

This one is at the top of the list because it’s something all moms are guilty of. We get busy preparing meals for the kids and when we try to sit down to eat our own food, someone spills something, or wants seconds or needs ketchup.  Moms may have every intention of eating a full meal while it’s still hot, but it rarely ever happens.  And when it does, it probably consists of sandwich crusts with a side of half eaten fish sticks.  

Good nutrition is important for maintaining our mental health.  Many symptoms of depression and anxiety worsen when our bodies experience vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.  By forgetting to eat throughout the day, it’s easy to fall into the unhealthy habit of binge-eating at night, which can cause feelings of guilt and contribute to depression.

Don’t let bad eating habits harm your mental health.  Eat healthy and use supplements to make sure your body is getting enough energy.

Go to Bed Late

It’s no secret that moms are always tired. Raising kids is exhausting work, both physically and mentally, and it requires a good amount of sleep that we often don’t get.  But even the most sleep deprived mom is sometimes guilty of staying up way past bedtime.

After the kids are in bed is sometimes the only chance a mother gets to herself all day.  Whether it’s catching up on recorded TV shows,  scrolling through social media or just enjoying the peace and quiet, we never want it to end.   But staying up late is a habit that does a lot of harm to our mental health.

Schedule yourself some self-care time throughout the day if possible, so that when bed time comes around you’ll be ready for nothing else but sleep.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Ignore a Phone Call

Actual phone calls are becoming more of a rare occurrence in this modern world. Plus, everyone knows that the kids think “mom’s on the phone” translates to “scream as loud as you can.”  A text message is so much more convenient for a mother and it’s the preferred way of communicating.  So when our phone rings, it’s instinctual that we silence our phone and ignore the call.

Of course, it all depends on who the call is from, but if it’s a friend, don’t ignore it.  Talking to someone on the phone can be therapeutic and mean so much more than a simple text message.  Mental illness works by isolating us from others, so being able to connect with someone on a real, human level is important for keeping us sane.

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Avoid Looking in Mirrors

This is kind of a weird one, and I bet you don’t even realize that you do it (or don’t do it).  If you’re a stay at home mom, chances are you probably haven’t changed out of your sweat pants in three days.  Maybe you forgot to brush your teeth this morning and you can’t even remember the last time you washed your hair.  You may avoid looking at yourself in the mirror for fear of what you might see.  

Avoiding a mirror means that we’ve created an idea of what we look like in our minds and it’s one that we feel unhappy with.  This idea can lead us down a path to poor self-esteem and lowered confidence levels, an environment in which mental illness thrives.

Make it habit to look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day and find something that you love about what you see.

7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring
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Skip Doctor Appointments

The doctor, dentist, therapist, optometrist, chiropractor, etc. – we haul the kids around to regular appointments and yet procrastinate our own. Pregnancy means doctor appointments so frequently that we get to know the staff in our OB’s office on a personal basis.  We cared about those because they were important for the well being of our child, which is one of our biggest priorities.

I’m sure we can all come up with a hundred excuses as to why we do this.  It costs money we may not have and it’s hard to find time to attend these appointments without the kids.  But this act of self-sacrifice is dangerous for both our mental and physical health.

Try booking all your checkups for the year in advance so that you can make whatever arrangements you need to in order to attend them.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Depend Too Much On Coffee/Wine/Advil

Addiction is not something that’s spoken about enough among mothers.  We tend to think of addicts as people living on the streets, wasting their lives away.  But addiction can happen to anyone, and at different levels of intensity.

Caffeine, alcohol and medications are common addictions among mothers.  And while it may not be at a point where they are destroying our lives, we’re unsure how we would function without them.  Relying too heavily on coffee or needing that glass of wine to help us relax at the end of the day are all forms of addiction.  Addictive behaviors can be a symptom of anxiety and are something we should try to avoid for better mental health.

Try to limit how much you depend on stimulants to make it through the day and choose healthier options that are better for your mental health.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
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Pile Things in a Closet

You know which closet I’m talking about, everyone has one (or four) in their home that’s filled with junk. If you’re not sure where to put something, pile it in a closet until you get to it, right?  But you’ll probably only get to it when that closet is so full that you can’t even open it anymore.

Clutter can weigh heavily on our minds, destroying our mental health in the long run.  Knowing that we have a closet filled with junk, being unsure of what exactly is in there, and putting off cleaning it out can make us feel depressed and unproductive.  You don’t need to go full minimalist, but avoiding hidden clutter is a good place to start.

Spring cleaning time is nearly upon us, so make those junk-filled closets a priority.

Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?
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Shop Only For the Kids

Not only are kids fun to shop for, but they also need a LOT of stuff.  They grow so fast that it’s hard to keep up with their sizes.  And if you’re like me, then you live vicariously through them and buy things that you would have loved to have as a kid.  But then what happens is that you have kids who look like children of celebrities and you get mistaken for their nanny.  

Remember what it was like before kids, when a little retail therapy was the perfect cure for a bad day?  It still works, but you need to actually focus on shopping for yourself.  Moms tend to feel guilty or selfish spending money on themselves, especially when they’re on a tight budget.  But splurging on something just for you is good for your mental health. [Start now and get $10 off a spring FabFitFun box using coupon code FAB10!]

So make a shopping trip alone and don’t you dare wander into the kids section!

5 Spring Fashion Must-Haves for Busy Moms
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Avoid the Outdoors

Whether it’s the cold weather or your greasy hair keeping you indoors, it’s doing harm to your mental health. Our bodies need fresh air and sunshine, they literally cannot function properly without it.  If you think the trip from the house to the car and back again is enough, it’s not.

It’s not just about the fresh air, though, otherwise you could just open a window.  You need to talk to people, make eye contact, feel their touch and smile at them.  Find space to move your body – run, walk, swim, whatever makes you feel good.  A change of scenery and some time outdoors is the easiest way to improve your mood.

So make it a habit to get outdoors at least once a day, and twice on weekends.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
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Put up with Negative People

You don’t need negative energy in your life, especially if your mental health is already suffering.  However, cutting people out of your life is easier said than done.  You don’t need to be rude to anyone, make a big deal out of it or even say anything at all.  Just avoid spending time with people who cause you to feel stressed.

It could be the mother of your child’s friend who constantly tries to “one-up” you.  Or maybe it’s that pessimistic family member who makes you worry about everything happening in the world.  Don’t feel obligated to socialize with people who’s negative attitude does harm to your mental health. 

Distance yourself from the negative people in your life, and surround yourself with those you love instead.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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Compare Themselves to Others

You will never experience peace of mind if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others.  This is especially common among the parenting community, despite the fact that all children and parenting styles are different.

It can be difficult on our mental health to see others doing well when we are clearly struggling.  But remember that people are more inclined to share their success stories, than they are their struggles.  This explains the stigma surrounding mental illness and the reason why so many mothers don’t talk about it.  

Speak openly about real motherhood and all the struggles that come with it.  And encourage others to do the same.


11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health 11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
11 Things Moms Do that Harm their Mental Health

11 Things Moms Do that Harm their Mental Health

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.

Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows.  Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year.  In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.

Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
*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.

January 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan.  You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with.  The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year.  You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.

Start by filling in all your important dates.  Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments.  If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters!  Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!

Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar.  Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins.   For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep.  Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.

Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.

February 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Finally, the last of the winter months!  Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy.  The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge(pronounced hoo-gah).

The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.

So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.

March 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks.  One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space.  Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.

Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces.  Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy.  Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.

You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.

April 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb.  Gardening is a form of ecotherapy that can help to improve your mental health.  Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.

Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids.  Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from.  If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.

Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer.  Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.

May 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin.  Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health.  That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.

For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected.  It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home.  Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.

Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.

June 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Finally, the world is bright and green again.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month.  Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.

Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.  Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either.  Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.

You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.

July 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Do you remember summer vacation as a kid?  If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.

Plan some camping trips or beach days.  Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit.  Head to the splash parks and let loose.  Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try.  Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun.  Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.

When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun.  Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.

August 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected.  Our support system A.K.A. our friends.  It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us.  So focus on those friends this month.

Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip.  Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life.  If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.

September 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you?  September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do.  You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.

Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way.   Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring.  And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.

Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.

October 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end.  This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.

Be proactive this month in order to improve your mental health.  Sign up for some online therapy sessions that you can do at your own pace in preparation for the stress that lies ahead.  Stock up on aromatherapy supplies and enroll in a yoga class.  Get as much information as you can about mental illness because knowledge is power.

Being prepared for the most stressful season ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed.

November 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Whether you start your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute, there should be someone who is at the very top of the list.  You.

This is the month to indulge.  Buy that special something you’ve always wanted but felt guilty splurging on.  Or sign up for a monthly self care box.  I mean, sure, Christmas is coming and you could always add it to your wish list – but there is something so meaningful and significant about buying something yourself.

It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person.  You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.

The most expensive part of the year is upon us.  Now is a good time to have a look at your bills and budget and meet with a financial advisor. Fellow mom and Winnipeger, Sandi Huynen, knows what it’s like.  Check out her website for more information.

December 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

This can be a stressful month for many different reasons:  the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down.  There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable.  Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.

But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts.  It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are.  The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.

If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.

Don’t forget to download a free printable PDF calendar in the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library!Click here to subscribe for instant access!

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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health