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.

A Look at Mobile Ultrasounds for the Anxious Mom-To-Be

Mobile ultrasounds are a great way to beat a case of anxiety for expectant mothers.

Many women choose to get non-diagnostic ultrasounds during their pregnancy, where they can view their baby in the womb in 2D, 3D and 4D (video). But thanks to modern technology, a mobile ultrasound is the newest option for expectant moms to view their babies in-utero from the comfort of their own homes.  This helps moms feel more relaxed and at ease during the process. 

With Jess expecting her third baby in February, we thought it would be a great opportunity to test out the mobile ultrasound process for ourselves.  So we collaborated with Prenatal Peek, Winnipeg’s ONLY mobile ultrasound company, and the first mobile ultrasound company in Canada.

Check out some of these awesome features of mobile ultrasounds that can help put anxious moms at ease.
*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 and/or paid 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.

Jess elected to have a mobile ultrasound from Prenatal Peek at her home, surrounded by her husband and two girls.  At the time, she was 24 weeks pregnant and they had been told the gender of the baby over the phone by their doctor but wanted to confirm it.  Jess had non-diagnostic ultrasounds with her two prior pregnancies, each at different locations in Winnipeg.  This was her first mobile ultrasound experience. 

Friendly Service

One of the best things about Prenatal Peek‘s mobile ultrasound process is the service.  Owner, Tracy, has been doing mobile ultrasounds for nearly 7 years and as a mother herself, she knows exactly how to make moms feel comfortable and at ease.  She has seen hundreds of babies via ultrasound, but when it was finally time to see Jess’s baby on the screen, she was just as excited as if it was the first time.

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Appointment Scheduling

An amazing benefit of the mobile ultrasound process is the flexible scheduling.  Unlike most elective ultrasound locations, there wasn’t a long wait to get an appointment.  Tracy fit us in on a Saturday afternoon and often works evenings and weekends because she understands what it’s like to be a busy, working parent.  We even had to make a few last minute changes to our appointment time, which she easily accommodated. 

Atmosphere + Environment

One of the biggest factors for an anxious mom-to-be when it comes to an ultrasound is the atmosphere and environment.  For moms who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss or who have anxiety about hospitals, ultrasounds can make for an unpleasant experience.  This includes siblings and fathers-to-be who might also have a fear of hospitals due to a past trauma.  The option of having the ultrasound done in your own home is a great alternative.

It took almost no time for Tracy to get her equipment set up in Jess’s living room.  In fact, I was surprised at how little equipment was actually needed for the process.  With just a few cables, Tracy was able to link her screen onto the television, making it possible for everyone to view baby.  

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A Family Affair

With the ability to project the screen, a mobile ultrasound would make a fantastic option for a gender reveal party, a baby shower or to include grandparents and other extended family members.  Or, as Jess and her family chose to do it, a private and intimate family affair.  However you decide to host your mobile ultrasound, Prenatal Peek can usually accommodate.  But keep in mind that moms should be relaxed and comfortable in order to get baby to cooperate.  

Great for Siblings

Many children can have a fear of doctor’s offices, hospitals or new places and strangers.  This can make taking siblings along to an ultrasound quite difficult.  But Tracy did a great job of including Jess’s two daughters during the mobile ultrasound process.  The girls felt at ease in their own home and were excited to see the new baby on the television screen.  They each got their own stuffed animal that had a recording of the baby’s heartbeat and it was clearly their favorite part!

One of the most special moments during the mobile ultrasound was when Tracy handed over the controls.  Jess, her husband and her children each took a turn performing the ultrasound themselves.  This was a great way for them to connect with the baby.  And I’m certain it made dad and big sisters feel more involved in the pregnancy.  This unique experience really made mobile ultrasounds stand out among standard ones. 


In the end, we think that the personalized one-on-one service, convenience and comfort make mobile ultrasounds the way to go for moms to be and their families.  It’s a great option for moms suffering from prenatal anxiety or depression as they get all the benefits of seeing baby without the hassle normally associated with elective ultrasounds.  With the variety of different packages available, Prenatal Peek mobile ultrasound is totally affordable and you get to keep the images and video of your ultrasound for no additional cost, regardless of which package you choose! 

For more details and to book your appointment, visit the Prenatal Peek Website (prenatalpeek.ca) or Facebook page

Bonus: Mention that you read our review when you book your mobile ultrasound and get 10% off!

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 curveball 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.

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 wellbeing. 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.


8 Natural Methods for Coping with Anxiety

Anxiety is a common condition among moms and not just in the postpartum period.

It can be difficult to recognize the symptoms of anxiety, especially for new moms.  Once you become responsible for another life, it’s natural to worry about everything.  So how do you truly know when your worries are a normal part of motherhood, or when they’re a condition that requires further treatment?  You can read about the specific types of anxiety disorders and their symptoms, but what it comes down to is whether or not your constant state of worry is disrupting your life. 

If they are, then check out some of these natural methods for coping with anxiety from mental health advocate Brandon Christensen of Modern Therapy.
Natural Methods for Coping With Anxiety
This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. 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. The information provided here is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice or treatment.
Natural Methods for Coping With Anxiety

Everyone faces anxiety daily, but some of us live with more persistent symptoms. Anxiety is actually the most common mental health issue, reportedly affecting more than 18% of US adults. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes are a great way to remedy some of these symptoms, but they are never meant to replace or stop any treatments you are currently receiving. If you are already getting treatment, check with your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist prior to implementing any changes.

1. Exercise

Exercise helps anxiety by burning off anxious energy. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there is evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than those who are sedentary. The reason that exercise may improve mental health is because it helps the brain cope better with stress. The study actually showed that those who exercised regularly had a 25% less chance of developing depression or anxiety over the preceding five years.

2. Meditation

Meditation eases anxiety by slowing racing thoughts, which is a very common symptom. Once you are able to slow your thoughts down, you can manage your stress and other anxiety symptoms more effectively. Brain imaging has been used to show that meditation is associated with the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula. These areas of the brain are involved with executive function and the control of worrying. When meditation activates these three regions, it shows a relief linked to anxiety.

Hygge Lifestyle
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3. Journaling

Journaling is simply writing down your thoughts and feelings with the intent of understanding them more clearly. Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on the way certain situations make you feel, which can help you regain control of your emotions. Sometimes even just expressing your anxious feelings makes them more manageable. As you sit and reflect on how you are feeling, you are going to gain a lot of insight to yourself.

4. Time Management Strategies

Having too many commitments at once is a big cause of anxiety symptoms. Time commitments usually involve family, work, and health related activities. When you are able to manage your time effectively, you can focus on just one task at a time, while being sure to leave room for self-care. With online calendars, it is becoming even easier to plan your days and weeks out. This can help you avoid multitasking, which leads to anxiety symptoms.

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5. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils that are found in plants, which are used for their healing properties. Essential oils are great to smell, but can also be absorbed through the skin through massage or inhalation. It is widely used to reduce stress because certain scents, such as lavender, are known for their calming effects by reducing the heart rate in the short term. Behavioral psychologists will also tell you that if you associate a certain scent with being calm, you will naturally begin to feel those effects over time.

6. Herbal Teas

Chamomile tea is widely used as a natural remedy to decrease anxiety and treat insomnia. It is actually regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. The calming effects can be attributed to an antioxidant call apigenin, which is found in chamomile tea. There is direct effect on the brain, including reduced anxiety. Some people also find the process of making and drinking tea soothing.

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7. Time With Animals

Research confirms that pets can be beneficial to people with anxiety because they offer companionship, love, and support. Pets and therapy animals can help to alleviate stress and anxiety because they provide a sense of security and routine that provides emotional and social support. Pets are generally facilitators of getting to know people, friendship formation, and social support networks.

@running_in_triangles on Instagram

8. Talk Therapy

Research shows that talk therapy is usually the most effective way to treat anxiety disorders. Therapy will do more than just treat your symptoms, it will help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears, help you learn to relax, look at situations differently, and develop coping skills. When you engage in talk therapy, you get the tools to overcome anxiety. If you are ready to work with a talk therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment, click here!


Author: Brandon Christensen

Brandon Christensen is a passionate business leader and mental health advocate who is on a mission to leave the world a better place than he found it. Brandon is the co-founder of Modern Therapy, a mental healthcare company that provides talk therapy services in person or online through messaging, phone, and video sessions. Brandon has been featured as a keynote speaker on mental health topics at colleges like NYU, Skidmore College, and Columbia University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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

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

5 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Over Touched

A mother’s touch is known to have magical healing powers for a child.

The connection between a mother and their child is as physical as it is emotional.  They are a part of our bodies, we feed them from our bodies, and we comfort them with our bodies.  Our bodies are the go-to place for our children when they need to feel safe and secure. So at the end of a long day, mothers often end up feeling over touched or overstimulated.

The sensation of being over touched can have a big impact on our mental health.  With our skin being our largest organ, it’s no surprise that a large amount of extra stimulation can cause us to feel frazzled and overworked. We end up feeling irritable, annoyed, anxious or even angry.  It can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances.   And feeling over touched can have an effect on our relationships as well because it’s unlikely we’ll want to be intimate at the end of the day, either.

If you are feeling over touched after a constantly caring for and hugging babies, try these five techniques to help reset your nervous system.
*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 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched

1. Take a Time Out

It makes sense that if you’re feeling over touched, a quick fix would be to spend some time not being touched at all.  It’s easier said than done for a busy mom, however.  The sensation of feeling over touched on a regular basis can build up.  Eventually causing worse symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.  So it’s important to break that cycle of feeling over touched as regularly as possible.

Start by scheduling yourself some self-care time.  Pick a day when your spouse (or someone else) is available to watch the kids in the evening and take an hour or two to yourself.  Retreat to your bedroom or another comfortable space and focus just on yourself.  You don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to.

If you can make this a regular habit, whether daily, weekly or longer, then you can reset your sense of touch and feel refreshed and re-energized.  Having the kids crawl all over you may be unavoidable, but at least you’ll be better equipped to handle another round of it.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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2. Try Dry Brushing

Now, this one might sound like it makes a little less sense.  If you’re already feeling over touched, then wouldn’t brushing your skin just make it worse?

If you’re not familiar with dry brushing, it consists of brushing your skin with a dry, natural bristle bath brush to help stimulate blood flow and massage the lymphatic system.  It also has great skin exfoliation benefits, obviously.  You can read more about dry brushing in this detailed guide.

One of the benefits of dry brushing is that it stimulates the lymph system, which is the system that is designed to cleanse our body of toxins and waste.  Keeping this system moving throughout our bodies can actually boost our immune systems and keep us healthy.  Dry brushing can produce an almost instant energy boost just by helping to circulate our lymph.

Dry brushing the entire body can help to reset the sensation of feeling over touched.  It is a controlled and intentional way of stimulating the nervous system and sense of touch.  Unlike being tugged at and climbed all over by our kids, we are in control of how our skin is being touched and stimulated.

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3. Have a Hot Shower or Bath

Water can do wonders to wash away the feeling of being over touched.  A hot shower, especially one with a massaging shower head, is another great way to provide full body stimulation to eliminate that feeling of being pulled and tugged at.

Try using thermotherapy, or alternating between hot and cool water, to encourage blood circulation and give you an energy boost.  You can enhance the experience by using essential oil shower steamers or luxury soaps and body washes.  A shower is especially wonderful after you’d tried dry brushing, as it helps to wash away all the exfoliated skin.

If you’d rather soak in the tub, then add a scoop of Epsom salts to the bath water or try some relaxing bath bombs.  The magnesium in the Epsom salts will relax tired muscles and soften the skin.  You can even brush your skin during or after the bath, just add a bit of coconut oil, or other essential oil to your brush.

And most importantly, don’t forget to moisturize afterwards.  In fact, you should use a good quality moisturizer as often as possible throughout the day.  Dry skin is much more sensitive to being touched.  Winter can be especially harsh on skin, and if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, feeling over touched can contribute to other symptoms as well.

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4. Lie Under a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket, like dry brushing, is another form of intentional touch. It might sound counterproductive to use deep touch pressure therapy (DTP) when we already feel so over touched.  But again, this is a different kind of touch that works like a giant reset button on our nervous system.

Think of a fussy baby being swaddled, or an anxious child being hugged tightly.  Steady pressure that consumes our entire body at once can make us feel calm and boost our serotonin levels.  But as an adult, it’s harder to find a way to create that sense of steady full body pressure.

Weighted blankets are an excellent solution. You can lie under a weighted blanket for anywhere from a few minutes to an entire night, depending on your preference.  You are in complete control of removing it, so you don’t need to worry about feeling trapped or suffocated.

Using a weighted blanket can be especially helpful if feeling over touched is causing insomnia or night time anxiety.  Over stimulation is a major cause of sleep disturbances.  Using a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.

The hardest part about using a weighted blanket is trying to choose which one is right for you.  There are so many options in weight, filling, covers and sizes so how do you even know where to begin?  Here are some tips about how to choose the right weighted blanket.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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5. Sensory Deprivation Tank

This is, perhaps, one of the more extreme forms of therapy for feeling over touched, but it’s also a luxurious way to relax and reset.  Sensory deprivation tanks, or “float tanks” are popping up everywhere now.  While it’s actually an ancient form of healing, they’ve become popular in modern society for their known benefits of relaxation.

If you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically a tank filled with water that is as close to your body temperature as possible.  It also contains a high amount of Epsom salts so that your body easily floats and remains suspended in the water.  It is designed to mimic the feeling of floating in space.  Here is a detailed article that contains more information about sensory deprivation tanks and how they work.

In addition to the water, the tank is in complete isolation, which means that it’s dark and you’re cut off from outside sounds and smells.  You are basically floating in complete nothingness.  By depriving the body of all of it’s senses, you can be in a state of mindfulness and complete relaxation.


As a mother, you’re always ready and prepared to give the hugs and cuddles and be the rock for your children to climb on.  Even when you’re feeling over touched, you’d never want to deprive them of that.  But you can give better and stronger hugs when you’re feeling relaxed and rested.  This is why self-care is such an important task for moms.

If the thought of being touched makes you cringe, it doesn’t make you a bad mother.  While you may have to take a few additional steps to reset your senses each day, the feeling won’t last forever.  So take care of yourself, mama, and then hug those babies.  Because before you know it, you’ll have to chase them down just to get one.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched 5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

The postpartum period is often synonymous with sleep deprivation…

But it’s usually caused by a hungry newborn. 

If that baby isn’t causing all kinds of sleep disturbances and mom still isn’t sleeping, then it could be a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Many mothers find themselves unable to sleep due to racing thoughts, unreasonable worries, and the inability to calm their body and mind at night.

Postpartum anxiety is a common condition that can affect a mother’s life in several different ways.  She may experience social anxiety and avoid leaving the house or interacting with others.  Anxiety can also manifest as anger and cause postpartum rage.  Often, mothers experience a combination of postpartum depression and anxiety.  But sleep deprivation can exacerbate all of these symptoms and cause even worse ones.  There are several ways to treat postpartum anxiety insomnia naturally and stop things from getting out of control.

Here are 15 ways to get a better night’s sleep for moms who are suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia.
Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Create a Routine

Just like sleep training children, a bedtime routine is important for encouraging proper sleep.  Going to bed at the same time each night and performing a few routine tasks will help train your brain and body to know when it’s time to go to sleep.  Rewiring the brain altogether is one of the best ways to help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Keep in mind that it may take a while for your body to adjust to the routine.  Depending on how bad your postpartum anxiety is, it could take months before you can regularly get a good night’s sleep.  And since postpartum anxiety can be a life-long battle, you should be prepared to make your bedtime routine permanent.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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2. Unplug

Social media is a huge contributor to postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix before bed will only fuel your racing brain with more needless worries and thoughts.  Make a plan to unplug from technology at least 1 hour before bed.  Turn off the TV and switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode so that notifications aren’t disturbing you in the middle of the night.


3. Do Some Light Exercise

Don’t freak out – you don’t really have to exercise… I know it sounds exhausting.  The last thing I want to do after taking care of kids all day is exercise.  However, exercise has been known to have a ton of sleep-inducing properties.  So, if you feel like going for a run on the treadmill or doing some yoga, go for it, because it will definitely help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

But if the thought of “working out” is causing you even more anxiety, then save it for the morning instead.  You can still get a serotonin boost by doing a few simple stretches.  Stretch your neck and shoulders, bend over and touch your toes or sit against a wall for a few seconds.  Postpartum anxiety causes a lot of tension in the muscles and stretching those out before bed will help you feel more relaxed.

amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression
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4. Take a Hot Shower

A hot shower is a great way to calm down before bed.  The steam and heat combined with the gentle massage of the water beating down will relax the muscles and help open up the lungs.  A massaging shower head is a bonus but not necessary.  This can be especially welcome if you’re feeling over touched at the end of the day.

Don’t feel obligated to do anything else except just stand under the water and enjoy it.  A hot bath can work in the same way, if you have the time.  Throw in some Epsom salts for an added boost of magnesium to help relax sore muscles, fight off depression and induce sleep.

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5. Sip Some Tea

There are several herbal teas that can help fight postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Chamomile and Valerian Root are the most popular bedtime teas and for good reason.  Green tea, ginger tea and other blends are all great too!  Experiment with different flavors and combinations to find out what works.  Even some plain hot water with a slice of lemon will help you detox before bed.  As long as it’s hot and caffeine-free, it will help to calm and soothe your body from the inside.


6. Meditate

Meditation is not for everyone.  But if you’re dealing with a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, it might help to try to cleanse your brain of the millions of thoughts floating around in there.

There are actually a few different ways to meditate. You can try using a guided meditation app to help you get started.  It’s also easy to practice self-guided meditation by setting a timer for a few minutes and sitting quietly as you work on eliminating all the thoughts from your brain.  Meditating before bed is a way to manage your anxiety before your head hits the pillow, so that once it does – you will actually be able to sleep.

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7. Invest in a Good Mattress

Sometimes it’s not the postpartum anxiety alone that is causing insomnia.  A good night’s sleep begins with comfort and your mattress has a lot to do with it.  But mattress shopping can be really tricky (I know this because I used to sell them for a living!)  Lying down on a mattress in a showroom for a few minutes is very different than sleeping on it all night long.  You can try several different ones but eventually they all start to feel the same.  And then, once you get that mattress home with you – what happens if you don’t like it after a few nights – or worse, after a few months?

The key to making an important purchase such as a mattress is to look for one that will guarantee you a good night’s sleep.  Unlike big box stores, mattress companies that sell their products directly will offer a better satisfaction guarantee and stand behind their product.   The Nectar mattress, for example, offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping and is the only one I have seen that offers a free trial for an entire year!

If you’re not sure of whether or not your mattress is contributing to your postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s worth trying out a new mattress to see if anything changes.  Try a Nectar mattress for an entire year plus get $125 off using my affiliate link.


8. Use a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are all the rage right now.  They have proven benefits to reduce symptoms of anxiety and help improve sleep.  The best part is, they’re a simple tool that doesn’t require anything other than just cuddling up and getting comfortable.

The simple science behind a weighted blanket is that it creates a sensation of safety, similar to being hugged or held.  The heavier the blanket, the more it stimulates your skin and sends messages to your brain that you are safe and protected.  This allows the brain to stop worrying and rest for a while.

Consider purchasing one through Weighted Comforts.  Not only do they offer a wide variety at competitive prices, but they’re also sewn by refugees living in the U.S.

12 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for the Sleep Deprived Mom
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9. Grow a potted plant

There are several plants that encourage a proper sleep environment.  Having a potted plant on your nightstand or anywhere in your bedroom can purify the air and rid it of any toxins or negative energy.  Some plants with scented flowers, such as lavender and jasmine, can actually induce sleep.  This is a beautiful and easy way to encourage your mind to feel at ease enough to sleep.

Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have much of a green thumb.  Start with one plant and research it to find out how to take care of it.  Many houseplants are low maintenance, so as long as you don’t completely neglect them, they will thrive.  Be warned though, growing houseplants can become a very addicting hobby…

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
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10. Start sniffing

Using scents is an easy way to transition the brain into a relaxed state.  The National Sleep Foundation even suggests using scents to help you get a better night’s sleep.  In order to battle a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, you should consider everything that you are inhaling in your bedroom – from dust and allergens that could be trapped in your carpet or mattress, to the fabric softener you use on your sheets.

There are several different ways to incorporate scents to help your mind and body relax so that you can not only fall asleep… but stay asleep!  Scents that are good for relaxation and inducing sleep include Lavender, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Valerian and Frankincense, but the list goes on.  You can try these in an essential oil (either a roll-on or in a diffuser), a linen spray, candles or scented satchets.  You can even purchase Lavender-scented fabric softener to use on your sheets!


11. Try some background noise

One of the biggest problems with postpartum anxiety insomnia is the brain being unable to stop spiraling at nighttime.  Something worth trying is distracting the brain through the use of background noise, such as gentle instrumental music or white noise like rain sounds.  You could purchase a sound machine, but there are also several white noise playlists on Spotify.  There are even apps that you can download that have a large selection of different sounds as well as other sleep aid features.


12. Don’t be afraid of the dark

Our brains are hardwired to associate sleep with darkness.  With postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s easy to look around the room and find a hundred other things to worry or think about.  Reduce the amount of outside stimulation by making your bedroom completely dark.  You can install blackout blinds or wear a sleep mask.  Eliminate anything that your eyes can focus on, so cover up the blinking light on the TV and turn your digital clock around.  If you start to feel anxious in the darkness, remind yourself that you can turn on a light whenever you want to, and that you are in complete control.

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13. Keep a bedside journal

It’s true that we often think of the most important (or completely unimportant) things while we’re lying in bed.  The thought of possibly forgetting about it in the morning can cause a certain level of anxiety and disrupt our sleep.

Writing in a journal or worry workbook before bed can help to eliminate some of the extra thoughts in our heads, but often we have a brainstorm as we’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep.  So keep a journal or notepad and pen beside your bed so that when these seemingly important thoughts come to mind in the middle of the night, we can write them down, go back to sleep and know they will be there in the morning.

Intrusive Thoughts
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14. Increase melatonin levels

Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies.  For a woman with postpartum anxiety, those hormone levels could be out of balance causing the insomnia.  While melatonin supplements are readily available, they run the risk of causing side effects, just as with any other drug.  They could also cause problems if a mother is on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds or breastfeeding.  If you plan to start a melatonin supplement for postpartum anxiety insomnia, always check with your doctor first.  However, there are ways of increasing your melatonin production naturally.

A lot of it has to do with diet.  Foods that are rich in magnesium can help your body produce more melatonin.  Pineapples, oranges, bananas and tart cherries are also rich in natural melatonin and make great bedtime snacks.

Months of waking up several times in a night to feed the baby or go to the bathroom during pregnancy, etc., can cause your natural melatonin production to slow down.  A change in seasons and increased hours of darkness can also have an effect. You can help correct this by exposing yourself to bright, direct sunlight during the day, and sleeping in complete darkness at night.


15. Track sleep patterns

The best way to know if you are truly suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia is to keep track of your sleeping patterns.  Tracking your sleep habits for a week, or a month or longer is a great way to help you identify what is keeping you from getting the best night’s sleep possible.  You can write them down in a sleep tracker log or  download an app that will track your sleeping patterns for you.

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Sleep deprivation is very dangerous to a mother’s mental health.

If you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep then you’re at risk for suffering from postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a variety of physical symptoms as well.   Consider trying cognitive behavior therapy if something specific is keeping you awake at night.  But if you’ve tried everything you can and still find yourself suffering from insomnia, make sure to speak to your doctor.

For more information about the effects of sleep deprivation, check out this guide from Yoo Health.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts

Scary and intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of postpartum depression.

Intrusive thoughts lead many women to believe that they are terrible people, unfit mothers or a danger to their children.  While many women experience them in some form, they don’t always recognize that they are intrusive or involuntary.  Instead, they believe that the thoughts are how they truly feel, or what they are thinking subconsciously.  They don’t talk about them for fear of what others will think of them.

It’s important to speak up about intrusive thoughts, but before a woman can do that – she needs to understand what they are, where they come from and what they mean.  This is the only way she will be able to accept that the thoughts she is having are not who she has become, but rather, a side effect of her mental illness.

Here is some more information about intrusive thoughts.
The Truth about Scary and Intrusive Thoughts
*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 truth about scary and intrusive thoughts

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are an idea or image that come to your mind involuntarily.  The thoughts may be extremely out-of-character and can be shocking when they happen.  They are almost exactly the same as the thoughts and images that you normally have, except that they are not created nor welcomed by you.  Intrusive thoughts are a sign of mental illness and prove that your mind is playing tricks on you.


What are NOT Intrusive Thoughts?

    • They are not hallucinations
    • They are not third party voices in your head
    • They are not an indication of postpartum psychosis
    • They are not subconscious thoughts or images
    • They are not part of your normal train of thought
    • They are not how you truly feel deep down inside
9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Types of Intrusive Thoughts

The most common type of postpartum intrusive thoughts are of doing something bad to the baby.  They can be “what if…” type of thoughts such as “what if I drop my baby down the stairs” or “what if I stab my baby with a knife.”  They can also come in the form of intrusive images such as watching the baby drown in the bathtub or crashing the car with the baby in the backseat.

Intrusive thoughts can also be about harming yourself.  Many women experience suicidal thoughts but have no actual desire to commit suicide.  Postpartum depression can cause women to experience thoughts of running away, jumping out of a moving car or falling asleep and never waking up again.  Intrusive thoughts often make a woman believe she is unfit to be a mother and that her children would be better off without her.

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

Another type of intrusive thought includes harming a spouse or another loved one.  It’s normal to complain about the annoying things a spouse does and imagine doing something bad to them, but when it affects your relationship or comes out of nowhere it could be an intrusive thought.  Postpartum depression, and especially postpartum rage, are often misdirected towards spouses and partners – making a woman believe that she really does hate her husband.  Add in intrusive thoughts like running them over with the car and it’s a relationship nightmare…

Some intrusive thoughts are inappropriate and violent.  Many can be sexual in nature or include things like harming animals, behaving violently or setting the house on fire.

Basically, any thought or image that enters your head that feels scary and unnatural is considered an intrusive thought.
A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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The Danger of Intrusive Thoughts

Thoughts and images alone are not dangerous.  But intrusive thoughts can cause several unwanted side effects that can become dangerous both physically and mentally.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Intrusive thoughts can cause a woman to develop postpartum OCD and become obsessed with certain thoughts and images.  If she imagines the baby dying in their sleep, she may stop sleeping in order to check on baby several times through the night.

Stress and Anxiety. Knowing that intrusive thoughts are a possibility is a big source of stress and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms of postpartum depression.  Intrusive thoughts can also cause panic attacks and other physical symptoms.

Acting on Intrusive Thoughts.  It’s rare that a woman would go so far as to act on her intrusive thoughts but the danger that she might still exists.  Being unable to recognize the difference between intrusive thoughts and reality can signal something worse (like postpartum psychosis).  If you feel a strong urge to act on your intrusive thoughts, make sure to speak to your doctor immediately. 

Stigmatizing.  Intrusive thoughts play a major role in the stigma of postpartum depression.  Many mothers who try to open up about them are treated like crazy people or seen as dangerous and suicidal.  If intrusive thoughts are confessed to someone without enough knowledge about them (even a medical professional), the consequences could be devastating.  Its important to find a safe place to discuss intrusive thoughts.

What to do when Postpartum Depression Makes you feel Suicidal
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The Truth About Intrusive Thoughts

The truth is, they are not real.  They may stem from the feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm caused by postpartum depression but they are not part of the subconscious mind.  They are a figment of your imagination and a by-product of mental illness.  In order to eliminate them, and avoid having them control your life, you need to accept that they are coming from somewhere else, and not from what’s within your heart.

How to Get Rid of Them

As long as a woman is suffering from a mental illness, the intrusive thoughts will always be a possibility.  So the only way to eliminate them altogether is to treat the underlying condition.  There are still several things a person can do to keep intrusive thoughts from affecting their lives.

Document Them.  Writing down scary thoughts as they happen can help make them less frightening.  You can write them on paper, in a journal or workbook, on your phone or use an app.  If you really want to take a stand and connect with other women who are having them, you could even consider blogging about them.

Release Them.  Intrusive thoughts are perhaps one of the hardest things to speak out loud when battling postpartum depression.  Many people are not nearly as informed about intrusive thoughts as they should be, and this makes talking openly about them risky.  The best place to express the scary thoughts you’re having is to find a safe and positive space, such as a support group. The Postpartum Stress Center offers a safe place online for women to anonymously #SpeaktheSecret.  It helps to read some of the thoughts other women have had, and even submit your own to release them from your mind.

Online Therapy.  Speaking to a mental health professional is always a good course of action for women battling intrusive thoughts.  With online therapy, you have the option to chat with your therapist anytime throughout the day, as opposed to waiting for a scheduled appointment.  This is a great option to be able to discuss scary thoughts as they occur.  (If this is an option you’d like to explore, try online therapy using my affiliate link: http://runningintriangles.com/OnlineTherapy).

How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms
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Meditation.  Clearing the mind on a daily basis can help reduce the instances of intrusive thoughts.  Meditation can also help to create mindfulness in general, making you feel a little bit more in control of the thoughts and images in your own head.  Meditation, either alone or while doing yoga, should become an important part of your self-care routine for battling postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts.

Positive Imagery.  Surround yourself with sights that make you feel happy.  You can put together a photo album of some of your happiest photos and look at it regularly.  Or keep flowers and plants in your home.  Hang motivational posters or family photos on the walls.  Subconsciously, your mind will soak up all the beauty around you and be a happier place.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Get Enough Sleep.  Sleep deprivation is known for causing all kinds of problems in new mothers.  A lack of sleep is like leaving the door wide open for scary thoughts.  Try changing around your bedtime routine, invest in a better mattress or look into other ways to fight off insomnia.

Distraction.  Keeping the mind distracted will allow less time for scary thoughts to creep in.  Music is an excellent way to keep the mind distracted.  Try playing music in the background while you’re home, call or visit with a friend, read a book or put on the television.  Maintaining a proper self-care routine can also help keep intrusive thoughts away.

Intrusive Thoughts Infographic
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The most important factor in dealing with intrusive thoughts is to know the difference between your actual thoughts and the unwanted ones.

Having frightening thoughts may make you feel like a bad mother with the potential to do something harmful but it’s not the truth.  Focus on the positive thoughts and try your best to ignore the ones that make you feel anything but joy.  Accept that they are a side effect of postpartum depression and not who you have become.  It may take a while for the thoughts and images to go away, but as long as you remember that you are still you inside, you can defeat them.


Crisis Support Numbers for Postpartum Moms
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts