7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary

Creating a self care sanctuary in your own home is easier than you might think.

While the term “self care sanctuary” might sound fancy, it’s really just a place filled with things that make you feel comfortable and at ease.  Having a dedicated space to practice regular self care can make doing it seem like less of a chore.  For women battling postpartum depression and anxiety, it can be a place to get away from the everyday mess and chaos that’s associated with motherhood.

Your self care sanctuary can be anywhere you choose.  It doesn’t need to be a separate room in your house – it can be your bedroom, bathroom, or even an outdoor space in your backyard.  You should be able to access it easily and on a regular basis.  Most importantly, it should be a place that you enjoy being and where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have.

Here are some tips on how to turn your space into a self care sanctuary.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar *This post contains 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.


Detoxify the Environment

The first thing you need to do to create your self care sanctuary is detoxify the space.  Clean the area thoroughly using non-toxic cleaning products and get rid of any clutter or unnecessary items.  A minimally styled space opens the door to peace and healing and will allow you to focus on yourself without being distracted (and let’s face it, who can relax in a dirty room?).

Once you have a clean, clutter-free space, you can start to incorporate different things to purify the air.
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Your self care sanctuary is a place where you can go to detoxify from the inside out. 

This is why it’s so important for it to be free of toxins and negative energy.  The environment should never feel sterile, but it should feel fresh, clean and pure.  Every mom should have a place where they can avoid dishes, dirty diapers and scattered toys – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.


Select Comfort Items

When it comes to self care, comfort is essential.  It’s almost impossible to relax when you feel too hot or too cold or if your clothes are restricting and uncomfortable.  Escaping to your self care sanctuary means you get some time away from being climbed on like a jungle gym, or constantly being needed and pulled in different directions.

Consider all the different aspects that make you feel comfortable.
  • Choose furniture that you truly love to curl up in.  It can be a bed, sofa, lounger, hammock, swing or something else.  Try to think outside the conventional idea of comfort.
  • Dress comfortably, whatever that means to youYou can put on pajamas, a robe or even relax completely naked!  Slip on some wooly socks, house shoes or try some toe spreaders.
  • Invest in a weighted blanket.  Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to help ease stress and anxiety.
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Your self care sanctuary is the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation.

This means different things to different people.  For example, I prefer to be warmer rather than cool and so I love my cozy blankets and fireplace.  But someone living somewhere hot may need a fan or open window to feel comfortable instead.  Try out different things until you find the right combination of comfort.


Surround Yourself in Beauty

Stimulate your brain visually and create a feast for the eyes.  Even if you plan to keep your eyes closed the entire time, your self care sanctuary should still be filled with beautiful views.  The things we look at each day, whether we focus on them or not, form part of our subconscious.

Use positive imagery to help retrain the subconscious mind.
  • Look out the window.  If you have a naturally beautiful view through your window, then make it your focal point.  If you don’t have a great view, install beautiful window coverings or hang plants or sun catchers instead.
  • Cover the walls. Cover the walls in artwork, favorite photos or motivational posters.  Paint the walls a soothing color or make a chalkboard wall where you can write your own inspirational messages.
  • Decorate with intention.  Lighting fixtures, decor, plants and furniture all contribute to the overall feel of your self care sanctuary.  Try to choose pieces that you love or that have special meaning to you.
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get this from btdesignco on etsy
Your self care sanctuary is a visually stimulating place that inspires you.

If your self care sanctuary is normally a communal space, then you can still keep it in line with the design of the rest of the house.  Print and frame quotes that inspire you and hang them up in the rest of the house too (Etsy is a great place to find some). Even if you don’t read them everyday, your mind will soak up the beauty, inspiration and positive vibes.


Soothe the Skin

Our skin has a lot to put up with on a daily basis, and yet, it’s one of our most neglected organs.  Treating the exterior of our bodies is a great way to feel refreshed and should be an essential part of any self care routine.  As mothers, we tend to keep things low maintenance on a daily basis, sticking to the bare necessities of skin care.

Escaping to a self care sanctuary is the perfect time for a little bit of pampering.
  • Do a home spa treatment.  Apply a face mask, cooling gel eye mask (or cucumbers), coat your hair in coconut oil and wrap it in a warm towel.
  • Soak in the tub.  Add some epsom salts to soothe sore muscles and absorb magnesium to help fight anxiety and depression. If baths aren’t an option, then soaking your feet offers the same benefits.
  • Exfoliate and Moisturize.  Exfoliating the skin is a great way to feel refreshed and soften the skin but don’t forget to moisturize afterwards!
  • Try dry brushing.  This is one way to stimulate and exfoliate the skin while also improving blood circulation and reducing stress.
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Your self care sanctuary is where you go to feel renewed and refreshed.

Keep a basket of your favorite skin care products in your self care sanctuary.  This way, you’ll be able to pamper yourself any chance you get.  You don’t need to go all out on skin care every day, but remember to take care of yourself on the outside as well as on the inside.


Cleanse the Body

As important as it is to take care of the outside of our bodies, we also need to remember to take care of what’s inside as well.  Leave any thoughts of  dieting or weight loss outside the self-care sanctuary.  Eating healthy food is something we should be doing all day long and not just during our self care time.

There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
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Your self care sanctuary is where you can reset your mind and body.

Create a routine for yourself that includes daily trips to your self care sanctuary.  Then incorporate all the things you should be doing on a daily basis, such as taking vitamins and checking in on your overall health and well being.  Eventually, it will become second nature.


Make Room for Physical Movement

While your self-care sanctuary doesn’t need to be fully stocked with gym equipment, it should have enough space for some physical movement.  You should never feel obligated to “work out” during your self care time, because that can cause added pressure and might make you avoid it altogether.  But physical movement releases happiness-inducing endorphins, which are definitely a good thing.

There are several different ways to incorporate physical movement within your self care sanctuary.
  • Stretch.  Simple stretching can loosen up a stiff neck or back, a common side effect of stress. 
  • Run.  Running on a treadmill can help to burn off extra pent up frustration or anxiety. 
  • Yoga.  This popular option has several benefits for treating depression and anxiety. 
  • Dance. Turn on your favorite music and let it move you.  You can literally dance like no one is watching.
  • Punch.  If you find that you suffer from anger management problems or postpartum rage, install a punching bag.
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Your self care sanctuary is an outlet for releasing emotions in a physical way.

The point is not to burn calories or build muscles.  The point is to connect with your body, get your heart beating and find an outlet to express any negativity.  And if you just don’t feel like doing anything physical that day, it’s perfectly fine. Don’t ever feel pressured to have to do anything at all during your self-care time.


Embrace Your Creative Side

A self care sanctuary should be a safe place for you to express yourself.  Often, it’s hard to communicate what we feel using words alone.  Art is a different outlet for expressing the stress and feelings that often get built up inside of us.

Artistic expression comes in a variety of different forms.

Journaling, drawing, coloring or painting.  You don’t need to be a professional artist, and it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.  

Crafting, knitting, sewing or macrame. Don’t try to copy something you saw on Pinterest.  Instead, use it as a way to express yourself and only do it if it makes you happy.

Singing or playing a musical instrument. Don’t feel like you need to be a good musician, sing along to your favorite songs or teach yourself how to play a new instrument without any judgement.

Blogging.  This can be a job, but it can also be a hobby that helps you express yourself through writing and graphic design.

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Your self care sanctuary is a place for self-discovery.

It might take some time to find the right creative outlet and it may change regularly.  If there’s something new you wanted to learn how to do, then the serenity of your self care sanctuary could be the perfect place to start.  You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try.  Having some time and space to work on what’s important to you is a great way to practice self-care.


Once you’ve created the ultimate self care sanctuary, schedule some time to use it!

Download this free PDF workbook designed to help you establish a working self care routine, even as a busy mother.

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download
7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar 7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar 7 Ways to Make your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary

How to Talk to Your Kids about Postpartum Depression

Have you ever thought about having to talk to your kids about postpartum depression?

When I was first diagnosed with postpartum depression 6 years ago, I was glad that my newborn baby would never remember the dark things I said or did during that time. My oldest child was 2 years old at the time, and I did my best to hide my sadness from him.  For years, I put on a fake smile around my children, family, friends and especially around strangers.

I didn’t want anyone to know that I had postpartum depression, most especially my children.

But since then, I’ve realized how harmful hiding my postpartum depression is.  I was lying to myself and everyone around me and there was no way I could get better without first being honest.  Keeping silent about postpartum depression also meant that I was enabling the stigma to continue.  I was upset about how women with postpartum depression were being treated, but I was doing absolutely nothing about it.

As my kids got older, I continued to suffer from postpartum depression relapses.  They were no longer babies who didn’t know what was happening.  They saw me struggle and watched me cry.  They were afraid to talk to me when I was in a bad mood.  They learned how to pour a bowl of cereal and turn on the TV by themselves because there were so many days that mom just couldn’t get out of bed.  The most heart-breaking part is that they thought it was all their fault.

Here are some tips on how to talk to your kids about postpartum depression.

How to Talk to Your Kids about Postpartum Depression *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.


Use Age-Appropriate Language

I first spoke to my older two children a few years ago.  We often joked about how much my daughter cried when she was a baby, and I didn’t want her to grow up with a complex.  I would say that “mommy had a really hard time but it wasn’t your fault.”  At the time, she was 3 and her brother was 5, so I wasn’t sure how much they would actually comprehend.  I used age-appropriate words such as “boo-boos in mommy’s brain” rather than “mental health disorder.”

As they got older, we continued to talk about it and the words changed.  I never shy’d away from the term “postpartum depression” even though it was a big word for them.  It was important for them to understand the word and get used to it.  I even made them repeat it a few times to get the pronunciation right.

One term that has been steadily used over the years is “bad days.”  The kids know that sometimes Mommy has “bad days” but we get to start over again each morning.  We often talk about ways to make more “good days” happen.

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Encourage Questions

The one question my kids wanted to know was “why” (them and thousands of others).  Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer for them, and they were OK with that.

I explained that doctors and scientists were working very hard to figure out why because if they do that, then maybe they can find a way to stop it from happening.  I also explained about how I spit in a tube and mailed it to those doctors and scientists to help them figure out why.  They were very interested in that, but mostly about how gross mailing my spit was.

I encourage them to ask as many questions as they can think of, and I try my best to find answers for them.  Now that I am a maternal mental health blogger, I have access to a lot of resources and information about postpartum depression.  I make it my mission to share those resources, because once, I was a very lost parent with a lot of questions that I didn’t have the answers to.

If you’re planning to talk to your children about postpartum depression, it might be worth it to invest some time in research.  Kids are excellent at asking questions that you never would have thought of.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Don’t Place Blame

It’s normal to blame postpartum depression on pregnancy and childbirth, but that can often lead children to believe that they did this to you.  The last thing you want is for your children to think that any of this is their fault.

Perhaps it was the act of pregnancy and childbirth that triggered the depression, but it also could have been triggered by any traumatic, hormonal or emotional experience.  Postpartum depression is not unlike a general depression or anxiety disorder that many people battle their entire lives.  It can also resemble depression following PTSD.  There are so many different types of mental health disorders, all of which are important to discuss with your children.

Instead of blaming motherhood for postpartum depression, talk about how having your child changed your entire life, and make sure your child knows that they were worth it.

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Keep a Journal

Writing about your struggle is another way to talk to your kids about postpartum depression.  While your child is very young, keep a journal or write letters to them to help you talk to them when they are older.  It can also be a form of therapy to write out your feelings and you can decide which parts of it you would like to share with your children as they grow up.

You could even consider starting your own blog.  I hope that one day, when my kids are older, they will be able to read all the articles on this blog and get some more insight into what being a mother with postpartum depression was truly like.

A firsthand account of your experience with postpartum depression is not only the best way to share your story with your children, but a great keepsake for yourself once you have survived the worst of it.

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression
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Consider the Future

I often wonder if my own daughters might suffer from postpartum depression upon becoming mothers themselves one day.

My own mother never mentioned anything about it to me and therefore I felt greatly unprepared when it hit me.  In fact, one of the questions I was asked upon being diagnosed was whether or not there was a family history of depression, and truth be told – I had no idea!

I also would have loved it if my husband knew how to support me better, though he did the best he could with the information he had.  This is why it is so important for me to raise my son with the knowledge and ability to support the women in his life who end up suffering from postpartum depression.

If we truly believe in breaking down the stigma around postpartum depression then our daughters and sons need to be educated about it for one day, they will be parents of their own.

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Normalize It

It can’t be taboo anymore.  Women are hiding their pain, ashamed of what is happening to them.  They are dying – killing themselves, in fact, because they just can’t cope with it.  And everyone around them ends up shocked because they didn’t see it coming.

Postpartum depression and mental health issues need to be normalized among the next generation.  Children are a blank canvas who only know what we teach them.  And we need to teach them about the symptoms of postpartum depression and how to help someone who is suffering.  We need to raise empathetic children who understand that mothers with postpartum depression are not bad people.

Talking about postpartum depression on a regular basis will eventually make it a normal part of the conversation, and not something dark and scary.

We need to talk openly and comfortably about it, so that our children will also feel comfortable talking about it.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal
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Be Positive

Postpartum depression sucks.  Your children know this already.  What they need you to tell them is that there is hope for the future.  That it WILL get better.

Don’t focus on talking about postpartum depression as a disease.  Talk about it as something that makes you fight to be stronger.

Share your treatment plan with them, and let them know what they can do to help you have more “good days.”  Find ways to do things together to help your postpartum depression, such as yoga or meditation.

Your children need to know that you WANT to get better.  They need to see you trying to heal.  So if it means that you need to take some extra time away from them to take care of yourself, explain that to them.  Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed and frustrated and scream “I just need 5 minutes alone!!!”  Explain it to them before you get to that point and avoid the frustration altogether.  It will make for a more positive experience.

It’s alright to let your children see you struggle.  They need to know that it’s acceptable to feel down or depressed, as long as you have a plan to get out of the dark place eventually.  

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Next Steps

Before you can talk to your child about postpartum depression, it’s important to get educated first, whether or not you suffer from it yourself.  Thankfully there are more women than ever before choosing to speak up about their personal experiences.

There are several articles, information, books and research studies available to help you learn more about postpartum depression in the hopes of talking about it to your children.

Bear in mind that deciding to talk to your kids about postpartum depression is not going to be a one-time discussion.  It’s a conversation you will likely need to have over and over again as they grow.  Start a journal now, in which you can write out what you want to say and keep track of questions that might come up.

Discussing postpartum depression and mental health openly and comfortably will ensure that you raise children who are empathetic and inclusive, which are amazing qualities the entire future generation should possess.


Here’s a peek at the discussion I had with my own kids about postpartum depression.

 


Download a FREE PDF Postpartum Depression Questionnaire for Kids!

This list of 10 questions will help you talk to your kids about postpartum depression, self care and how to handle our feelings.  It’s designed to be used by anyone, whether you are directly affected by postpartum depression or not.

Kids Postpartum Depression Questionnaire
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click here to download this free PDF

How to Talk to Your Kids about Postpartum Depression
How to Talk to Your Kids About Postpartum Depression How to Talk to Your Kids About Postpartum Depression

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression

Writing about scary thoughts and feelings has several great benefits for a mother struggling from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.

And what better outlet than to start blogging about postpartum depression?  Thanks to modern technology it is easier to start a blog now, than ever before.  And with all the choices available, you can choose whether you’d like to remain private or whether you’d like your voice to be heard around the world.

Blogging about postpartum depression not only has benefits for a suffering mother.  It’s also an excellent way to help raise awareness about maternal mental health and break down the stigma that exists around it.  The more women who are speaking up about postpartum depression and other mood disorders following childbirth, the better.

If you’re interested in learning how to start your own mental health blog and speak your truth, here is a quick tutorial on how to start blogging about postpartum depression. 

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression *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.


Shortly after I was officially diagnosed with postpartum depression, my husband, toddler, infant and I packed up all our belongings and moved 900 kms away from our hometown.  We left behind all our friends and family and had no idea how difficult our lives would be over the next few years.

If there is one thing that a woman with postpartum depression desperately needs, it’s a good support system… and I just didn’t have one. 

I moved to a small town where I knew no one, had no job or prospect of one, had no babysitters or daycare arrangements and was a good three hour drive from a major city.  Isolated and alone, my postpartum depression grew worse with each passing day.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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But there was one thing I knew that I could do, even if I had no one to talk to.  I could write about it. 

That’s how I started blogging about postpartum depression.

I started my first blog using a free Blogger account because I had no idea what I was doing.  I wasn’t thinking about making money or getting followers – I just wanted to write about what I was feeling and share my story.

At first, I didn’t write about postpartum depression.  I needed a way to work up to that.  I wrote about other random things that my kids did or things I learned along my parenting journey.  Eventually, I got a new job and made some new friends and I started to feel more confident.

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So one day, I sat down at my computer and I poured out my story.  100 edits later, I published it to my blogger account and shared it on Facebook for all to see.

I was overwhelmed by the response.  I started to get messages, both from close friends offering words of encouragement and support, and from contacts whom I barely knew, confiding in me about their own struggle with postpartum depression.  One of my new friends in my new town saw me the next day and told me that she cried reading my story and felt so much closer to me, knowing that we shared a similar experience.

That feeling of empowerment has stuck with me for years.

After that blog post, I didn’t feel the need to write anymore.  Once I said my piece and shared what was bottled up inside of me, I felt better.  Over the next few years, I focused on my new career, moved a couple more times, and had another baby.  I remembered to take care of myself and kept busy and distracted.  All the while, the postpartum depression started to become a bad memory.

A couple years ago, I began to suffer badly from a condition called endometriosis.  I wrote more about my battle with it here.  The chronic pain caused a major relapse of my postpartum depression symptoms and I needed anti-depressants just to function.  It was at this point that I realized – postpartum depression never really goes away.

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression
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While researching information about endometriosis, I came across a lot of information about maternal mental health.  In all the years since I first suffered from postpartum depression, there didn’t seem to be any forward progress on the way women were treated or how it was talked about.  There was still so much stigma and too many women dying or hiding their feelings.  I just knew that I had to do something about that.

And so I began Running in Triangles.  I knew that I wanted to start blogging about postpartum depression again but I put some more effort and forethought into what kind of site I wanted.  This time, it wasn’t just about needing an outlet for my own feelings – it was about getting information and resources to the women who needed it the most.

If you would like to start blogging about postpartum depression, here’s what I recommend you do:

Step 1: Write Your Blog Posts

Yes, that’s right, start writing your blog posts before you even purchase your domain name.  Having a few blog posts ready to publish as soon as your blog is active means a little less pressure on yourself to come up with new content regularly.  It will also give your readers a few posts to read right away.  Write them out using Microsoft Word or Google Docs so that you can easily cut and paste them once you’ve launched your blog.

Start by writing some sort of introduction about yourself.  Tell your story – whether in depth or just a brief summary for now.  But don’t be afraid to make it known that you are writing about your experience with postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis and/or whatever else ails you.

Think of your blog as a safe space.  Share as many or as few details about yourself as you like.  You can write under a “pen name” instead of using your own, or simply use your first name only.  Blogging about postpartum depression can make a person feel vulnerable and requires a certain level of openness.  Writing out what you want to say BEFORE launching a blog can help you to get comfortable with that.

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Step 2: Purchase Web Hosting

A web hosting service is like your blog’s engine and it keeps everything running smoothly.  Running in Triangles is hosted by Siteground, and I would definitely recommend it!  The odd time I needed technical support, they were so helpful and quick to respond.

Through your web host, you will also be able to choose your own domain (your website’s name), get your own e-mail address (such as yourname@yourblog.com) and install WordPress (Siteground now makes it easier than ever to install WordPress).

Step 3: Set up WordPress

WordPress.org is a self-hosted blogging platform.  It’s the exterior of your blog and the place where you publish content and make it look pretty.

If you’re computer illiterate and would prefer something all-in-one that’s already set up for you, and requires very little maintenance, then a basic platform like WordPress.com* or Blogger will work.  You don’t need to purchase additional web hosting, but you will also be very limited in what you can do with it.  Unless you go self-hosted, you won’t be able to monetize your site or add extra plug-ins to make it unique.

*Wordpress.com is different from WordPress.org, so don’t get the two confused. Check out this info-graphic that explains some of the major differences.

For more detailed step by step instructions on how to start your new blog using Siteground and WordPress.org, I recommend following this tutorial from Elna at TwinsMommy.com

Step 4: Design your Site

WordPress.org is actually very user friendly but it can feel intimidating at first.  The first thing you will want to do is choose your theme.  Your theme sets the tone for the way your site looks.  WordPress.org offers a variety of free themes, but you can also purchase a custom made one on Etsy.

Thankfully, WordPress.org offers a lot of support for beginners.  If you’re ever unsure of how to do something, check out their Getting Started Menu to find tutorials and answers to frequently asked questions.

Another design element that you will need for your blog is photos.  Photos are a great way to get your message across and help break up long paragraphs of words.  If you’re not much of a photographer, or would prefer to keep personal photos off the internet, then consider using free stock photo sites such as Unsplash, Splitshire, Pixabay or KaboomPics.

To edit your photos and create graphics for use on your website, use free image editing sites such as Canva or PicMonkey.

Postpartum Depression Blog Posts
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Step 5: Network

The community of mental health bloggers is one of the most supportive ones you can find.  You can expect to connect with others who have been through similar experiences, and they are generally pretty supportive no matter what your story is.  Mental health bloggers don’t look at each other as competition and are always looking to share posts that speak the truth about mental health disorders.  Whether you are blogging about postpartum depression, anxiety or another mood disorder – connect with the mental health community to help your voice be heard!

Make yourself known on social media by using hashtags so that other mental health bloggers can find you.  If you plan to use social media for your blog, make sure to start new “business” accounts and use your blog name (or a shortened version of it) as your username whenever possible.

If you plan to recommend products and services that have helped you along your journey, then consider joining some affiliate programs.  Check out Shareasale, CJ affiliates or AwinIf you’re serious about affiliate marketing and want to use it to monetize your blog, then I recommend taking the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.  It contains everything you could possibly want to know about how to make affiliate marketing work for you.

Join the mental health blogging community!  There are Facebook groups,  group boards on Pinterest and Tailwind Tribes you can join.  Twitter and Instagram are also great places to connect with other mental health bloggers, simply by searching for them or clicking on #mentalhealthbloggers.

Step 6: Find me!

Once you’ve started blogging about postpartum depression – come find me!  I would be more than happy to share some of your links, add you to groups, and help you get in contact with mental health bloggers and networks.  You don’t need to be alone in this and if you truly feel a desire to start speaking up about postpartum depression, I am here to help!

Leave a comment below with your blog URL and I’ll make sure to check it out!

 

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a SAHM

Fitting in a self-care routine for stay-at-home moms may sound easy to do with all the time spent at home…

But trying to find the time and space to do it in is where the challenge lies.  Stay at home moms very rarely have any time throughout the day where their kids are not following them around or in need of something.  Even nap time presents moms with the decision of either getting caught up on work or taking time for themselves.

Developing a self-care routine is so important for stay at home moms.  It’s a way to stay positive and energized throughout the day.  Taking care of ourselves should be as much of a priority as taking care of the children, the household, or the finances.  It may take some time to figure out how to create a self-care routine that works for you.

Here are some tips on building the essential self-care routine for stay at home moms.

(Plus – download a free workbook to help you put these tips into action!)

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom *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.


Eliminate the Guilt

Feeling guilty about taking care of yourself is normal for stay at home moms.  We are inclined to put others first and take care of their needs, pushing our own to the bottom of the list.  We keep thinking that we’ll start our self-care routine once everyone and everything else is taken care of.  But no matter how much we do in a day, there is always something else that needs to be done.  We need to make ourselves a priority.  It can be hard to feel worthy enough, especially for moms battling postpartum depression.

The best way to avoid feeling guilty about time for yourself is to think of it as something that we are also doing for our loved ones. 

Following a daily self-care routine means that we will be happier and healthier. 

We will be more pleasant to be around, more present in the moment and less inclined to be frustrated and moody at the end of the day. 

We are setting excellent examples for our children by taking care of and respecting ourselves.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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In order to eliminate the guilt associated with self-care, you need to answer Why, Who and What:

WHY do you need a regular self-care routine?  Are your mood swings out of control? Do you feel exhausted and overwhelmed all the time?  Is there a health concern you want to focus on?

WHO you are doing this for?  In addition to yourself, what else is important in your life?  Do you want to set a good example for your children?  Do you want to be a better partner in your relationship?  Is your work or family life suffering?

WHAT is your ultimate goal?  Do you want to be happier?  Healthier?  Have more energy?  Are you struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety?  Are you trying to wean off of medications that you’re taking?


Timing is Everything

Finding the time to fit in a self-care routine is probably the biggest obstacle for a stay at home mom.  Usually we are surrounded by children from the time we get up in the morning until they go to bed, at which time we are too exhausted to do anything else.  There are a few moments throughout the day when a stay at home mom could choose to fit in her self-care.

The first step is identifying the changes in your mood throughout the day.  Try keeping track of your moods on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to see how and when they fluctuate.  To make it easier, you can download a printable mood tracker from Shine Sheets.

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Early in the morning

If you’re a morning person, this could work for you.  Getting up early before everyone else is up and taking a nice, hot shower in peace sounds amazing.  Drinking an entire cup of coffee and eating a warm breakfast while watching the sun comes up is a great way to start the day.

Not so early in the morning

But if you’re not a morning person, then the idea of sacrificing those last few moments of sleep are a crime against humanity.  There’s nothing wrong with fitting in that shower and coffee when you get up in the morning, it just means that your children will probably also be awake and ready to start their day at the same time.  Try holding them off by offering them a small snack, a sippy cup of milk and a half-hour show to buy you some time.

Everyone will have a much better day if mom can get in coffee and a shower before all the action begins.

Lunchtime

Make it a point to eat lunch together.  Don’t feed the kids and expect to grab something later because later may never come.  Eat when the kids eat and make yourself something healthy, don’t just pick at their leftovers.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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Nap time

If this is still a thing at your house, then congratulations!  It hasn’t existed at my house in 2 years and I miss it so much.  Nap time is the perfect time for fitting in a self-care routine.  Don’t do the dishes or laundry or mop the floors.

REST

Binge watch Netflix or read a few chapters in that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand. Don’t think of it as “being lazy.” Escaping into an imaginary world, whether it’s through the pages of a book or the television, is a way to relax your brain for a little while.  You need to shut that thing off sometimes otherwise it overheats and doesn’t work as well.

Another easy way to relax is by changing your scenery.  Rather than plopping down on the couch or crawling into bed – try lounging in an inflatable couch (whether outdoors or in) or relaxing in the backyard in a hammock.  Resting somewhere other than your bed can feel like a mini vacation!

Whatever you decide to do while your children nap – make it something just for you and don’t feel guilty about it.  Nap time only lasts so long, so enjoy it while you can.

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When your shift is over

If your day has been an overly exhausting one, there’s no harm in asking for help.  Calling in reinforcements just so you can have some time to yourself is not being selfish.  It’s something that is essential to your well being and mental health.  If there is a time when your spouse is home to watch the kids, of if you have family or a friend who can watch the kids for an hour – then take it!

Mothers are not expected to be able to handle everything all at once.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or inability.

After bedtime

Once the kids are in bed, if you’re like me, you have no energy left for self-care.  (Is sleep training stressing you out?  Check out this post. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to fit it in.  A hot shower before bed will help you sleep better.  Turning on an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom as you go to sleep will help to calm your mind and relax you after a long day.  A few simple yoga stretches or some guided meditation are perfect to incorporate in your self-care routine at bedtime.

As much as you might want to just collapse on the couch at the end of a long day, try to fit in at least ONE thing to help you relax before getting some much needed sleep.


Figure Out What Works

Your self-care routine should consist of things that specifically work for you.  Sure, yoga is great but if it’s not your thing, then forcing yourself to do it isn’t going to help you relax.  Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all self-care routine, so this is something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself.

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Start by categorizing the things you enjoy doing, so that you can get a better idea of when to fit them into your day.

Things that make you feel energized should be scheduled for the beginning of your day.  Maybe it’s going for a walk or a run, listening to your favorite music or podcast, or taking a refreshing shower.

Save the things that make you feel relaxed for your evening self-care routine.  Maybe you prefer a hot shower or bath before bed. Or having a warm cup of tea and watching the sunset.  Guided meditation is another great way to calm the mind before bed.

List off all the things that make you feel happy and try to include them throughout your day.  These could be things such as cooking or baking, gardening, crafting, chatting with a friend or anything else that you love to do.

Consider things you do for yourself all year round.  Do you need a monthly trip to the salon?  Or a spa day each year on your birthday?  If summer is around the corner, schedule yourself a pedicure.  Don’t put off these important tasks, schedule them today!

Make a Bucket List

Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be tedious and boring.  While it’s good to have a regular routine in place, there are sure to be things that you could only dream of doing.

Make a list of things that you would love to be able to do for yourself SOMEDAY.  And dream big…  It could be something like taking a vacation somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, meeting a celebrity you idolize or attending the concert of your favorite artist.  Or perhaps you always wanted to learn how to snowboard or ride in a helicopter.

It’s alright if some things on your self-care bucket list are unrealistic, but having them written down will keep you motivated and inspired to live your best life.

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Schedule It

Thinking about a self-care routine is a great first step.  But writing it down and scheduling it makes it real and harder to avoid.  Schedule in your self-care on the calendar or set a reminder in your phone.  Your self-care appointments should be handled with just as much importance as medical appointments, meetings or sports practices.  Adding it to the family calendar lets everyone else know that you plan to make yourself a priority too.

If for some reason, you didn’t get a chance to fit in your self-care, don’t ignore it.  Re-schedule it for another time.  If you are strict about keeping up with your self-care routine, then the rest of your family will follow suit.

Try signing up for a monthly self-care subscription box.

Having a box delivered to your door is like a regular reminder to take care of yourself.  Plus, the anticipation of getting a box full of goodies is something to look forward to each month and can get you excited about self-care.

Blume

meetblume.com

Blume is the self-care box designed specifically for “that time of the month.”  You get a choice of organic pads and tampons plus add in some extras such as acne treatments, chocolaty treats or essential oils to help soothe cramps and PMS. Bonus: Get a FREE tote bag when you spend $30 or more!  Just enter code FREETOTE.

Pampered Mommy Box

pamperedmommybox.com

The Pampered Mommy Box is exactly what it sounds like.  It was created FOR moms, BY moms so you can expect a monthly box full of self-care items with an excellent value.  Unlike regular subscription boxes, this one can be purchased on a one time only basis, so it’s a great gift idea for your wish list. (You also get a discount when you sign up for their e-mail list!)


Once you’ve incorporated a regular self-care routine into your life, you should be able to see the difference it makes.  Over time, taking a few minutes each day to do something just for you won’t seem so foreign, both to yourself and to your children.  They will learn that mom’s going to take that shower and then she will feel happier.

Mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety should especially focus on maintaining a proper self-care routine.  It’s a great way to keep symptoms under control, regardless of what other form of treatment we are seeking.  While it might seem impossible to make lists of things that bring joy, mothers with postpartum depression can focus on small things and work their way up.

To help you create a working self-care routine, download this FREE Self-Care Workbook!

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
download the workbook

Download a Free Self Care Workbook

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom

Katelyn’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Katelyn’s Postpartum Depression Story”

What To Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

Postpartum depression, like many mental illnesses, has a way of making a woman feel suicidal. 

For a person who has never suffered from mental illness, it’s almost impossible to understand why a mother would want to abandon her children in such a way.  But a woman who has suffered from postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis or other mental illness will tell you that it’s not about that at all.

The misconception about mothers who are suicidal is that they are “giving up.” In reality, many mothers see it as a way to free their children, spouse, loved ones, etc., from the pain that they are causing.  It is the ultimate sacrifice for someone else’s happiness.

Despite what the reason is behind it – it is completely extreme and unnecessary.  Any person in their right mind would realize that.  Right mind being the key word here.

So what is a mother to do when postpartum depression makes her feel suicidal?

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

*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.


Start Treatment

Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.  Do not let postpartum depression get out of hand.  I realize it’s hard to ask for help, in fact, I’ve written several times about all the reasons why mothers don’t speak up about postpartum depression, so if anyone understands, it’s me.  But there’s a big difference between feeling ashamed and feeling suicidal.  If there was ever a time to speak up about postpartum depression, it’s now.

The only way to avoid suicidal thoughts and tendencies caused by postpartum depression is to begin a treatment plan.

If you think you have postpartum depression, speak to your doctor.  If your doctor is not available in the near future, or you simply don’t feel comfortable speaking to your doctor about it for whatever reason – then try contacting your local public health nurse, find a therapist or mental health center.  And if all else fails, head to an urgent care center or the ER.  But don’t give up seeking help just because your doctor isn’t available, there are so many other options available.

If you don’t get the help you need, keep looking.  It’s sad that I even need to include this as an option but it’s so common for women with postpartum depression to get brushed off by the health care system.  If you’re told that “it’s nothing” or “it’s just sleep deprivation” or “this is normal motherhood” and you truly don’t agree – then get a second opinion.

If you’ve exhausted all your options locally, then consider finding treatment online or over the telephone.  Online therapy can be extremely beneficial and convenient.  There are several other resources available online, in-home and over the phone, so there is no excuse for avoiding treatment.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Value Your Life

“They would be better off without me” should be the slogan for postpartum depression considering how many women have said it, myself included.

Postpartum depression is notorious for reducing a woman’s self-esteem and sense of self worth.  This opens the door for suicidal thoughts.  To make matters worse, others often tell us things like “don’t worry, you’re a great mom” or “you should give yourself more credit” thinking that they are helping, when really, it just invalidates our feelings.

In order to see your life as worth living, you need to focus on how you feel about yourself.  

Consider all the things that you once loved about yourself, and that you will love again.  Like your ability to win arguments or make people feel comfortable around you.  Maybe it was how others came to you for fashion or love advice.  These are things you can look forward to again when you get the postpartum depression under control.

Make a list of some of your best qualities. Do you have the best smile? Great hair? Eyes that sparkle?  Or is it your excellent sense of humor or party planning skills?  What makes you stand out among the rest?

Think of a time that you made others laugh, or helped someone who was hurt. You have the power to affect another person’s life in a way they may never forget.  Try surrounding yourself in positive images or create a self-care sanctuary that you can escape to when you’re feeling low.

Look at pictures of some of your happiest memories, vacations or family holidays. What would those pictures look like without you in them?  There would be a big empty hole where you belong.

Scroll through old Facebook or Instagram posts and remember who you were before postpartum depression. You have changed, and it’s unlikely you will ever be the same person again.  But it helps to remember who you once were and know that your life is just as important now as it was then.

Maybe we’re not the ideal mothers we thought we would be, but no one ever is – even the ones without postpartum depression.  The truth is, our children would much rather have a sad mother around than no mother at all.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Make a plan

No, not a suicide plan. A plan for the future. 

It’s hard to imagine a future when you’re in the depths of postpartum depression, but I promise you – it’s there.  Each climb that you take upwards out of the deep, dark pit of despair brings you closer to the light.  And if you can see the light – even if it’s just a tiny speck like a distant star in the night sky, then you can climb towards it.  That tiny speck of light is your future and the higher you climb, the closer you get to a brighter future.

Having a plan can remind you that the future does exist.

Set realistic goals with dates to achieve them by.  These can include things like finishing a book or learning a new skill.  Try to avoid putting things like weight loss on there as those are almost impossible to achieve and can be discouraging.

Make a bucket list.  What are some things that you’ve always wanted to do before you die?  It doesn’t have to be the usual big ones like skydiving or cliff-jumping.  Think of anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do in your lifetime and put it on the list.

Create a self-care schedule.    Self-care is the latest buzz word these days, and there’s a good reason for that.  Mothers need to make time for themselves otherwise bad things like suicidal thoughts can happen.  Schedule yourself some time to take care of yourself and don’t put it off.  Postponing things just for you signal your brain that you are not as important as the other things happening around you.

Bonus: Check out the post: How to Create a Self Care Routine as a SAHM and download a free self-care workbook!

Meet with a financial adviser.  No, not to “get your affairs in order” but rather, to make a financial plan for the future.  Find out how to save and manage your money to make sure it will last.  Financial problems can cause a lot stress and suicidal behavior.  Having a financial plan for the future can help you feel more prepared for the road ahead.  You can start getting your finances organized by downloading a Finance Tracker kit from Shine Sheets.

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Avoid Triggers

Suicidal tendencies are only one of the many nasty symptoms of postpartum depression.  Women also have to deal with postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a whole slew of physical pain as well.  Even with a treatment plan in place, it is likely something that mothers will have to battle their entire lives.

The key to keeping postpartum depression symptoms under control is avoiding the things that trigger it, such as stress, illness or sleep deprivation. 

Since it’s impossible to avoid triggers 100% of the time, it’s important to follow your treatment plan and make sure you are open about what you’re feeling with your loved ones.  Recruiting help to manage your symptoms and triggers will make sure that you continue down the right path.

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Talk to Someone

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to talk to someone about them.  When someone commits suicide, those closest to them often swear that they had no idea what they were going through.  Don’t let that be you.

You have several options for who to talk to if your postpartum depression is making you feel suicidal.  

Your closest person. This could be your spouse or partner, a sibling, friend or parent… whoever you feel the closest to and most comfortable with.  They are often the best person to tell first, because if they have been paying attention to your behavior – maybe they already suspect that someone isn’t quite right.

A therapist.  Therapists are trained to handle situations where people feel suicidal.  They know what to say and what not to say.  They also understand where the feelings stem from and won’t judge you for expressing your feelings.  Online therapy is an option worth considering if you’re worried about the trouble of finding a therapist and making appointments.

A support group.  Sometimes all we need is a sounding board and someone who can relate.  Joining a postpartum depression support group, whether in-person or online, is a safe place where we can open up about feeling suicidal and not be condemned for it.  Many mothers have been there too and will gladly give you advice or encouragement.

A crisis center.  Crisis centers are designed specifically for handling emergent situations where you feel like you have no where else to turn.  Many of them have the ability to dispatch help locally if they feel it is required (similar to calling 9-1-1).  But they will also listen to you and provide you with advice and resources.

Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Or – you can talk to me!  I’m here to help, after all.  I’m a stranger who doesn’t know anything at all about you except that I have once been there too, so I will never judge you, ignore you or invalidate your feelings.  In fact, I would treat you exactly the way I wished someone would have treated me when I needed them to.  I DON’T have any formal medical training but I DO have access to a lot of resources that I would be more to happy to share with you.

If you are feeling suicidal and need someone to talk to, use the confidential contact form below *

Your information will never be published or shared

*Alternatively, you can email me at vanessa@runningintriangles.com


Suicide is not a choice that a woman with postpartum depression makes, but rather something that happens to her.  It’s the result of an illness in the brain that tells us lies and forces us to attack our own bodies.  Women with postpartum depression are exhausted, chemically imbalanced, overwhelmed and in physical pain, so when the brain sneaks in and whispers “just end it” – it sounds like a good idea at the time.

I hope, with every fiber in my being, that you find your true worth and value, remember that you are loved and cherished and know that suicide is not the best option.

If you feel suicidal, please contact someone listed above for help.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

Julia’s Postpartum Depression Story

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Courtney’s Postpartum Depression Story

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4 Ways to Improve Sleep for New Moms

Sleep deprivation can have a dreadful impact on a new mom’s mental health.

This is why sleep for new moms is just as important as it is for new babies.  Between round the clock feedings and pain from postpartum recovery, sleep for new moms may seem impossible and often, it is.  But when you consider the detrimental effects it could have on a woman’s mental health, then sacrificing other things in an effort to improve sleep for new moms is worth it.

This guest post from writer, Sarah Cummings, details some adjustments that can be made to make sure that new moms are getting the sleep they desperately need.  

4 Ways to Improve Sleep for New Moms

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This is a guest post and all advice and opinions are those of the author.


Sleep is a necessity and we have to get enough to function properly. This is something parents will be praying they can achieve when the newborn arrives on the scene!

New parents are more than likely going to lose sleep with the change in sleep patterns and disturbances in the night, etc. However, with the right structure and routines in place, you can ensure that as a new mom you’re enjoying the best sleep you can in both the short-term and in the long-run.

How much sleep is enough?

sleepfoundation.org

The National Sleep Foundation states that newborn babies should sleep between 12 and 18 hours each day, whereas the average adult needs to accumulate between seven and nine hours each evening.

This might seem like an unattainable number as a new parent, but this is the recommended daily amount to function normally, so it’s best to get the good measures in place as soon as you can so that you can all enjoy sound slumber!

Download a sleep tracker to keep track of how much sleep you’re getting!

You can simply start by following these top tips on the best bedtime habits that will help you and baby:

Re-associate yourself with sleep and know its worth

Remember the days when you used to wake up feeling fresh as a daisy? Yeah, well, those days might have changed a little now that you have a little one in the house, but that’s not to say that you can’t get close to it with the right ideas in place.

You know when you’ve had a good sleep because everything you do seem like much less effort and you have the energy to deal with what life throws at you.

It’s important to bear in mind that there’s not a healthy way of replacing sleep; there’s only so many chamomile teas you can have before bed! The benefits of sleep are there for all to see, and one of your first jobs should be to remove the thought process that cutting out anything other than what you need to be healthy is acceptable.

So, while you’re teaching your baby the good habits of restful sleep, you should be endorsing and reiterating this with yourself too. Ensure that you practice what you preach and you will see the upside to being well-rested. It might be easier said than done, but practice makes perfect.

6 Ways to Make Sleep Training a Positive Experience
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Create a bedtime routine to look forward to

Okay, so, bedtime is a really good way for both you and your baby to start to take things down a few notches. After the hectic day you’ve been having, now start thinking about the things you need to do to send the right signals to the brain that sleep is on the horizon.

Humans have a built-in love for routine and the earlier that you can instill this routine with your child, the better, as they will sense that the routine is not there once they have it and the chances are they will make you aware of it!

A good thing to do to help you relax and have baby unwind too is to set aside some time in which you relax together in a tranquil environment. Young children certainly need this type of thing in their lives and you’ll be able to indulge too.

You know when your little one is tired and ready for bed, and this might not have been your bedtime a few years ago, but it might as well be now, so, go with it because you’re going to be waking up earlier than before anyway. Sleep is vital, so get what you can; you never know, your precious one might even give you those hallowed seven hours!

How to Sleep Train a Newborn
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Sleep when your baby sleeps

As we mentioned, if you take the gift your child gives you to sleep, grab it with both hands. Any experienced parent will confirm with you that the key to fending off postpartum sleep deprivation is to get some shut-eye when your baby dozes off.

If your baby takes a nap, put everything else on hold and take a well-earned nap too. there’s nothing that can’t wait, apart from a waking baby that needs attention, of course.

Laundry, phone calls, checking social media, washing up, catch up on episodes of your favorite Netflix series; it can all wait, because sleep has a vital role in keeping you healthy and defends against the risk of sleep deprivation.  

Don’t disregard the baby blues

Lack of sleep can bring on changes in your mood, and new moms are often at risk of what’s known as baby blues or the more serious postpartum depression.  If you are feeling some of these symptoms, we advise you to seek the advice of your doctor so that you can deal with the problem before it gets any worse.

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Author Bio:

Hello! My name’s Sarah Cummings. I’ve been involved in writing informative and helpful guides for the last five years now. Originally, my passion to help others was the overriding factor to become a writer, but now I feel like I’m learning more everyday too!

My love of exercise has always been a big part of how I lead my life, and I find it helps with lots of things, including sleep. I’m an advocator of promoting sleep and how it can be the difference between living a good, fulfilled life and an unhappy one.

I have had the good fortune to have a long and spiritual background in yoga too, and I feel as though this pairs perfectly with my passion for healthy eating and leading an active lifestyle.

I enjoy learning and coming up with new ways to develop my writing so that I can help others to grow and learn too. When I have a spare morning, you can catch me gazing at sunrises from different places on the planet!

Brianna’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Brianna’s Postpartum Depression Story”