What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat it?

It’s natural to feel like hibernating when cold weather comes along, but it can also be a symptom of something more complex.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD, Seasonal Depression or the Winter Blues, can affect anyone during the winter months (and rarely, even in the summer).  It’s a type of depression that is triggered by the change of the seasons and everything that comes with it.  The lack of daylight, colder weather, and the increased amount of time spent indoors can all make a person feel depressed.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and seek treatment for them.  Whether you suffer from another type of depression already or this is the only time you experience depressive symptoms, don’t ignore it or brush it off as something minor.  Putting up with it for a few months may be a good enough treatment for a while, but depression can be unpredictable.  Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and while it might sound extreme, seasonal affective disorder can fall into that category.

Here are seven different ways that you can treat seasonal affective disorder this winter.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat It

*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. Exposure to Light

The Luxor | Well.ca

The most common treatment for seasonal affective disorder is light therapy.  Since winter is associated with a reduced amount of daylight, it’s believed that this alone can cause seasonal affective disorder in otherwise healthy people.  It also explains why it’s more common in those who live farthest away from the equator.

Regular exposure to bright light is a great way to help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.  You can purchase one specifically designed for light therapy such as this pyramid shaped one, or this compact travel sized one.  But you don’t need to purchase a special light to reap the benefits of light therapy.  You can simply keep more lights on in the house and switch to LED daylight bulbs instead.

And don’t underestimate the power of pure sunlight.  Since the hours of sunlight during the winter months are limited, make it a point to soak up as much of it as you can.  Get outside in the sunlight as often as possible, even if it’s a cloudy day.  Exposure to natural sunlight can help boost the production of serotonin, which will make you feel a little less depressed.

Check out some of these mood boosting gift ideas!
16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood
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2. Eat The Right Foods

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

One symptom of seasonal affective disorder is a craving for carbohydrates and sugary, sweet foods which often results in weight gain.  But choosing the right foods can actually help treat seasonal depression.  Complex carbs such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and beans will still satisfy the craving without the added sugar.

You should also try to eat several foods that contain tryptophan, which can increase serotonin levels. These include foods such as turkey, eggs, salmon, nuts and pineapple.  You can also opt for a synthetic tryptophan supplement such as 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan.

Coffee is something that many people, myself included, depend on to get us through each day.  But too much caffeine can actually stop our bodies from producing enough serotonin.  So while a cup a day is acceptable, try to avoid relying on it too much.

If you’re struggling to eat right, then consider adding an all-natural supplement into your daily routine.  Making a simple change to your overall nutrition can work wonders for your mood and energy levels.


3. Aromatherapy

Photo by Drew L on Unsplash

The use of essential oils and aromatherapy is a popular one for treating depression including seasonal affective disorder.  Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our brains.  By using the right combinations of scents, we can feel happier and healthier with very little effort.

You can find blends that make you feel energized, relaxed, and reduce tension and stress for a clearer mind.  You can even splurge on an entire set of different scents so that you can choose a different one each day.

Aromatherapy can also help to treat symptoms of insomnia, which can reduce the production of serotonin. By incorporating essential oils into your everyday self-care routine, you can help keep symptoms of seasonal affective disorder under control.


4. Take A Vacation

Photo by Marc Babin on Unsplash

For many regular sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, a winter vacation is an annual tradition.  Having something to look forward to in the winter can help to ease depressive symptoms.  Make sure to choose a location closer to the equator, so that you’re guaranteed plenty of sunshine.

But you don’t have to go somewhere hot and sunny to help treat seasonal affective disorder.  A spa vacation is another way to beat the winter blues.  You can find a spa close to home and still experience a get-away.  Relaxing at a spa and getting massaged and pampered can give you the boost you need to make it through the winter.   Check out Spa Finder for some awesome spa packages!

The only downside to a vacation is that it doesn’t last forever.  The idea of coming back to the dreary winter after a vacation can cause seasonal affective disorder to hit an all time high.  So make the most of your time away, take plenty of pictures and soak in enough sunshine to get you through to the spring.


5. Get Physical Indoors

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

In the summer time, we’re almost always outdoors doing something.  But in winter, it becomes much more of a chore and can even be dangerous to spend an extended period of time outside.  This sudden drop in our activity levels and the lack of fresh air can contribute to seasonal affective disorder.

Put some extra effort into getting physical indoors.  You can join a gym or sign up for fitness classes.  Swim laps at a local indoor pool or simply walk around the mall.  Try out a dance class or start taking yoga.  There are several things that you can do indoors when the weather isn’t great outside, it just takes a little bit more effort.

Being more (or just as) physical during the winter months as you are in the summer can help eliminate that sudden mood drop when the seasons change.  Plus, exercise is a great way to boost endorphin levels, which is an important mood booster!


6. Practice Hygge

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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Hygge, pronounced ‘HOO-gah’ is a Danish way of life that’s recently become popular in Western culture.  It basically refers to anything that makes you feel cozy and comfortable.  It’s a simple concept that you’ve probably done before without even realizing.  The Danish people have incorporated it into all aspects of their lifestyle and make it a priority, especially in the cooler months.

The nice thing about Hygge is that there is no exact science to it.  The main goal is to find things that make you feel comfortable, warm and happy and make them a priority in your life.  Imagine sitting by a warm fire, cuddled up in a soft blanket with a hot cup of tea.  That’s Hygge.  Or what about binge-watching Netflix and eating popcorn in your pajamas with your best friend?  Also Hygge.

Making time to practice Hygge during the cold, winter months could drastically boost your mood and actually give you something to look forward to.  For more information about how to start living a Hygge lifestyle – check out this post from Dominee at Blessing Manifesting.

7. Speak to a Professional

Online Therapy
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Just like any other mental illness, seasonal affective disorder can have a big impact on your life.  Just because it goes away for part of the year doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem.  If you’re struggling hard, then consider speaking to a therapist or another health care professional.

Cognitive behavior therapy and anti-depressant medications are available specifically to treat seasonal affective disorder.  You can find a therapist online to help you get through this winter and all the future ones.

It’s never too late to start seeking help for seasonal affective disorder.  If you realize that this happens to you every year, then be proactive at the end of the summer and take steps to prepare for the grey months ahead.


Treating seasonal affective disorder can feel like we’re fighting our very nature.  Like bears who sense the call to hibernate, we stock up on snacks, crawl into bed and dream of sleeping until the snow melts.  But if we did that, we’d miss out on a lot of life.  Don’t let seasonal affective disorder keep you from enjoying life, especially around the holidays.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Heather’s Postpartum Depression Story

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16 Gifts That Will Boost Anyone’s Mood

The holidays can be exciting.  But what about when they’re not?

For many people, the holidays can be stressful and offer more to dread than look forward to.  Mothers suffering from a mood disorder can feel an added amount of pressure to make things special when they really don’t feel up to it and anxiety can worsen with all of the extra socializing.  And anyone who has lost a loved one may miss them more than usual around the holidays.

Between the cold weather, long stretches of darkness and the financial strain of the holidays, it’s no wonder that up to 20% of people report suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

If someone you love is feeling down around the holidays, then consider one of these gifts from Etsy that are sure to boost anyone’s mood.

16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood

*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.


Light Therapy

Warm, soft lighting is a great mood booster.  One thing that often makes us feel down during the winter is the lack of sunshine.  Anything that simulates natural light will help to boost our mood naturally.

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NewMoonBeginnings on Etsy

This lamp from NewMoonBeginnings is made from raw, natural Selenite, which is a crystal used for cleansing negative energy.

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SaltBay on Etsy

A lamp made from Himalayan Rock Salt is another great option.  It diffuses the light and also has cleansing abilities.  This one from SaltBay is a beautiful pyramid shape, however you can also get them in more natural designs.

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mixcrafts on Etsy

A lettered light box is a fun gift that’s right on trend.  Not only does it provide an additional light source for those dark winter days, but it comes with the ability to customize a message each day.  This one from mixcrafts comes with 85 characters and can be plugged in or battery operated.


Inspirational Messages

Quotes and sayings that inspire us have a way of boosting our mood, both directly and subconsciously.  Being surrounded by inspirational messages, whether it’s a framed print in our designated self care sanctuary, or worn on clothing and accessories, is a great way to remind someone of how strong they really are.

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RaincityPrints on Etsy

RaincityPrints does some beautiful work on famous inspirational quotes including everything from Buddha to the Gilmore Girls.  You can have it professionally printed in different sizes, or get it in a digital file and print it yourself (a great last-minute gift idea)!

JessieGirlJewelry on Etsy

These gorgeous minimal cuff bracelets from JessieGirlJewelry have a secret hidden message engraved on the inside of them.  Not only will you look stylish, but you’ll have a little mood boost with you wherever you go.

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TattooMoments on Etsy

Believe it or not, these are temporary tattoos!  This collection from TattooMoments includes 14 tattoos that can last up to 7 days.  This is a great way to show off a motivational message without the commitment of a permanent tattoo.  


Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.


The Gift of Comfort

Perhaps it’s our natural instinct to want to hibernate come cold weather, but nothing makes us feel happier than being warm and cozy.  Comfort gifts are a great mood booster, not only because they make us feel good, but also because receiving one is like getting permission to be lazy all day.

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LittleMimis on Etsy

If you’re gonna give a blanket as a gift this year, then you have to go with a weighted blanket.  There are so many benefits of a weighted blanket for someone suffering from depression, anxiety or insomnia.  Even those without a mental health condition will still benefit from the comfort of a weighted blanket.  It’s like being wrapped in a giant hug.  This one from LittleMimis comes in different weights, colors and patterns and can even be custom embroidered.  

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WineALittleGifts on Etsy

These socks are a great way of telling your loved one to put their feet up and relax.  Don’t worry if they’re not a wine drinker because WineALittleGifts sells over 100 different designs, so you’re sure to find the right pair!

LaAquarelle on Etsy

Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on a person’s mood.  Help your loved one get better night’s sleep with this sleep mask set from LaAquarelle.  It comes in a choice of organic fabrics and includes a lavender satchet you can put under your pillow to help you sleep.


Meditation Tools

Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to improve your mood.  Even for a beginner, the practice of meditation can be easily incorporated into anyone’s self-care routine.  While actual “tools” aren’t a necessity for meditation, there are several gift ideas that can help to enhance the experience.

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SenseSationCanada on Etsy

Aromatherapy is an excellent mood booster and supplement to meditation.  There are so many options available but this necklace diffuser set from SenseSationCanada makes a perfect gift.  The necklace features the popular “Tree of Life” design and comes with interchangeable colored pads, as well as six different essential oil blends.

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mixcrafts on Etsy

Tibetan singing bowls have been used in meditation for thousands of years.  The tone they produce is designed to help relax the mind and body and drown out background noise to aid in focus and concentration.  This copper bowl from mixcrafts is not only a stunning art piece, but useful for meditation and relaxation as well.

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GlimpseGlass on Etsy

Indoor plants have so many incredible mood boosting benefits.  Being surrounded by lush greenery indoors while everything lays dead and dormant outdoors is one way to keep spirits up during the winter.  Choose a low maintenance option, such as this set of 12 air plants from AURAMORE.   Air plants are a great way to incorporate greenery without needing to worry about pots and soil.  Instead, you can put them inside one of these glass terrariums from GlimpseGlass for a beautiful combination.


Encourage Creativity

Being bored and cooped up inside the house during winter will put anyone in a bad mood.  For the holidays this year, consider giving the gift of creativity.  If your loved one already has a hobby, then you’re off to a good start.  But here are a few suggestions if they’re looking for something new to keep their mind distracted and to help lift their mood.

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KirstenBurkeDesign on Etsy

The art of calligraphy is so modern and popular right now.  It’s also an art form that isn’t time-consuming, tedious or strenuous and offers a lot of different applications.  With this beginner’s set from KirstenBurkeDesign, anyone can learn this fantastic skill, all while keeping busy to beat the winter blues.

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Legacy4LifePlanners on Etsy

Coloring offers a simple way to turn off the brain and soothe the mind.  The array of colors can also work as a mood booster on the dark, grey days of December.  This coloring planner from Legacy4LifePlanners not only offers the benefits of coloring, but also provides a place to jot down notes, goals, passwords and make resolutions for the new year.

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HawthornHandmade on Etsy

There are so many different ways to encourage creativity.  Crafting of any kind can make a person feel proud and accomplished, but it’s also a way to ban boredom during the winter months.  On Etsy, you’ll be able to find so many different DIY crafting kits, such as this weaving wall hanging kit from HawthornHandmade.  Some other popular favorites include a macrame kit, a beaded embroidery kit and paint by number sets.  


Celebrations
Give the Gift of Etsy

If you didn’t see something specific on this list that appealed to you, or if you just couldn’t decide, then consider giving an Etsy gift card instead.  It can be printed or emailed to the recipient so it makes a great last-minute gift.  And with thousands upon thousands of different things to choose from, it’s a gift that will definitely put a smile on someone’s face.


I know, firsthand, how difficult winter can be – no matter how much you love the holidays.  The extreme high of celebrating with family and friends ends so abruptly, that it’s common for people to feel depressed shortly after the holidays are over.  By giving a gift specifically to help boost their mood, you’re encouraging long-term happiness.

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16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood 16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood

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: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep *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.

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as 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.

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


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.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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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.


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.

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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.


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…

15 Soothing Bedroom Plants to Help You Sleep


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.

Online Therapy
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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.

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.

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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

Jennifer’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Jennifer’s Postpartum Depression Story”

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.

Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.  Click here to subscribe.


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.  We can end up feeling really over touched at the end of a long day of caring for children.  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.
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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.  Check out some of these DIY craft kits on Etsy.

Woodworking.  This one is a little more extreme but many people use woodworking as a form of therapy.  The art of working with your hands to create something out of nothing can be so rewarding.

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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This questionnaire is available for download in the:

running in triangles free resource library

available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.

Click here to subscribe and download this free questionnaire, along with other free resources.
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.  Often, the winter months can be worse for our moods, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  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.

Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.  Click here to subscribe.

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.

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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.  Cold weather coming? Prepare for a round of the winter blues.  Don’t put off these important tasks, schedule them today!

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat It
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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.

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

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