How To NOT Feel Isolated While in Self Isolation

Self isolation is the recommended course of action for many during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Those who have recently traveled, have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who are sick are putting themselves into self isolation.  This basically means to quarantine yourself within your home for two weeks.  And further more, social distancing has us all keeping away from friends and public places.  With all of this isolation and anxiety, how does a person avoid actually feeling isolated?  For moms with mental health issues, isolation can actually make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse, so it’s important to have some ways to manage the loneliness. 

During self isolation, try some of these tips to avoid feeling lonely.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation

Most people, especially moms, will not actually be alone during their self isolation or social distancing.  Spouses and children will likely be in isolation with them.  It’s hard to say whether this makes it better or worse for a woman with postpartum depression or anxiety.  Having the family around 24/7 might become overwhelming very quickly.  

While it’s great to embrace this gift of family time, make sure that each person is also getting enough alone time to themselves each day.  This could be quiet reading or doing a quiet activity all in one room, or have everyone separate into different rooms for an hour or two each day.  This will surely benefit everyone’s mental health during the isolation period.

If the entire family is beginning to feel isolated from the outside world, then consider some of these options.

Make a Connection

Even though we can’t go out and socialize with our friends right now, we can still make connections with others.  We need to stick together, especially during these uncertain times. This is something we should be doing daily or at least a few times a week in order to maintain our mental health.

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Phone a friend or family member. Simply talking to another human being helps you avoid isolation.

Video chat with a friend or family member.  It helps to see another familiar face from time to time, and not just hear their voice.  This is also a great option for younger kids.

Write a letter to someone.  It doesn’t even have to be someone you know.  Consider writing letters with your kids to senior’s homes, hospitals, government offices, army bases, etc.  It would make someone’s day.

Write an email to someone.  Same as above, but send it online instead.  You can find e-mail addresses for most places on their websites.  Let your favorite local shop know how much you miss their store/business while it’s closed, and can’t wait to be back there again. 

Read a book or watch a movie.  Going on adventures with the characters in a book or a movie is another way to help you feel less lonely and isolated.  Now is a great time to start binge watching that TV series you’ve been wanting to start.

Adopt or foster a pet. If you’re going to be locked up inside the house for weeks anyway, why not foster a pet to keep you company?  You could all benefit from the company during this anxious time.

Find a Distraction

Don’t count the days of self isolation on a calendar, find a way to pass the time.  Keeping the mind distracted is a great way to avoid things like intrusive or anxious thoughts while you are quarantined at home. 

Art Therapy
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Cook or Bake.  Don’t do it with the intention of “getting dinner on the table” as that will likely stress you out even more. Spend a day cooking some homemade soup or baking fresh bread or muffins with the kids.  Take your time and don’t worry about the mess. 

Clean.  Self isolation is the perfect time to clean out that closet you’ve been avoiding for months.  Start your spring cleaning early and tackle on the big messes that you never have time for. Decluttering is also a great way to maintain your mental health. 

Craft.  You can find hundreds of crafts you can do with the kids on Pinterest.  Or maybe you’d rather do something just for you?

Learn something new.  Nothing keeps the brain busier than learning. If you’re planning on homeschooling the kids, that will keep all of your brains busy.  Trying to pick up a new skill?  Now is the perfect chance to focus on it undisturbed for weeks!

Leave the House

If you’re in self isolation or practicing social distancing, you should be avoiding other people and public places.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be locked up within the walls of your house.  There are still several ways that you can safely leave the house in order to avoid complete isolation.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
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Spend time in your own backyard.  Good weather or not, spending some time each day in your own backyard is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Walk around the neighborhood.  You can also go for a walk in your own neighborhood, especially on a sunny day.  The natural Vitamin D not only helps to boost your mood, but the coronavirus doesn’t survive long in the sun. 

Go for a drive.  Why not pack the kids into the minivan and go for a drive in the country?  See if you can spot any wildlife or signs of spring.  Take photos along the way and compile an album.  Stop for a picnic lunch on the side of the road and play some fun family car games. 

Work on Yourself

Having weeks of undisturbed time at home means you finally have the chance to focus on yourself.  This global pandemic is going to change our entire world in ways we never imagined.  Let’s begin to prepare for the aftermath of it by using our self-isolation time to reflect on our lives. 

100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
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Exercise. There’s no better way to avoid stress, anxiety, depression and isolation than to exercise daily.  Exercise is so important for both our physical and mental health.  You don’t need a home gym, either.  Watch yoga videos on YouTube or turn on some music and dance!

Read self help books. Maybe you’ll actually finish some of those books that you’ve been saving for when you have time.  Or try listening to some inspirational podcasts.

Try cognitive behavior therapy. If you’ve been putting off therapy because of a lack of time, self isolation is the perfect time to try online therapy. By completing an online therapy course, you can emerge from self-isolation with better tools to help you be successful in life. 

Meditate. Download a guided meditation app or simply spend time being mindful and grateful. Practice deep breathing and stretching for optimal health.  Turn on an essential oil diffuser and listen to some soothing meditation music. 

Focus on the positive. Self isolation is not the ideal situation for everyone. You may be worried about your job and bills and having enough food.  Instead, try to find something positive to focus on each day and write it down.  At the end of this quarantine, you can look back at this time and feel the happy moments instead of the negative ones. 

Make plans for the future.  Thinking about the future is a great way to avoid isolation and anxiety about the coronavirus. Sit down as a family and decide what things you’d like to do when this is all over.  Maybe you’ve learned to live with less or have realized where your true priorities are.  This is the time to set goals and make plans for the rest of this year.


Renee’s Postpartum Depression Story

Breastfeeding problems can contribute to postpartum depression in a variety of different ways. 

Often, we think of moms who are unable to breastfeed.  But even those who successfully breastfeed can also find themselves suffering.  Sometimes, breastfeeding dependency can make us blind to other problematic symptoms.  Renee from This Anxious Mum shares her story about how her breastfeeding dependency led to sleep deprivation and other side effects.  It became so important to her that she didn’t notice the bad shape her mental health was in. 

This is Renee’s story.
Renee's Postpartum Depression Story
*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.

I Drank the Crunchy Mum Koolaid – And It Made Me Self-Loathing

Of the many things I thought I’d cherish as a new mum, I NEVER counted on breastfeeding being one. I’d been firmly in the camp of “no thanks” for breastfeeding (especially extended breastfeeding, which I deemed “gross” and “only for hippie weirdos”) whilst pregnant, and I didn’t anticipate that changing.

Well, well well.

Nobody was more surprised than me when I became somewhat of a massive breastfeeding advocate. Of the many pivots my brain did in that short time between pregnancy and the fourth trimester ,this was perhaps the most significant in mine and my daughter’s life.

Despite being born at 32 weeks gestation and not mastering the sucking reflex until 34, I was able to maintain an exclusively breastfeeding relationship with my daughter for 10 months. The idea that I was the sole source of her nutrition was something that provided a great comfort to me, especially when I felt so utterly lacking in every other department.

I surrounded myself with other “breastfeeding buddies” and joined a multitude of breastfeeding support groups, eager to help new mums. I got in wars with other women over bottle vs breast and I openly judged anyone who, in my eyes was “depriving their child” through either their choice or inability not to breastfeed. I had a back pocket full of facts and sources about breastmilk and mother-child attachment.

How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
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“This is all that’s important,” I told myself of my breastfeeding dependency.

It didn’t matter that my little girl, Elliott, woke over 10+ times an evening to feed.

It didn’t matter that her own father couldn’t help her sleep and that she would only settle for me and my boobs.

It didn’t matter that I felt constantly “on call” and that the hyper vigilance was affecting any little sleep I was getting.

It didn’t matter to these women I surrounded myself with either because we were good mothers.  And being a good mother meant being completely there for your child, day and night, even to the detriment of your own health.

I made snide comments to my husband about “those bottle-feeding families” how backward! Why would you willingly bottle feed when it’s so much extra washing up?!  What about the maternal bond? Don’t they care?

As is common in these groups, I created a little toxic echo chamber for myself where I felt both safe and held as well as completely petrified of being shunned for any juxtaposing beliefs. I had (at least in my eyes) isolated myself from the majority of society, whose beliefs I openly and vocally deemed harmful.

Every day I was scrupulous about combing through my words, both written and verbal, to make sure I wouldn’t offend anyone and ultimately be thrown out of my friend group. I began to feel trapped in my parenting choices and completely alone.

Self-care is often touted as the remedy for any and all ailments of the new mum. The problem is it was so freakin’ hard to fit a fart into my day, let alone a quiet yoga session or bubble bath.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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As my daughter got older and more interested in things that challenged her fine motor skills, I found myself covered in tiny bruises in the stupidest of places after she had fed. She’d pinch, bite and slap me. I was no stranger to depression and anxiety, even before I had a child. I was convinced that I’d successfully shielded myself from postpartum depression, as though I was engaged in a game of hide and seek with mental illness, where I had a killer hiding spot.

Cracks began to form. Completely sleep deprived and emotionally depleted, I began self harming again, not even having the awareness to notice if my daughter was present. One evening I self harmed while holding my daughter. It was an unsafe environment and I needed help.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?
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After my complete breakdown, I found myself in the local Mother and Baby Unit where I spent 5 long and emotional weeks. As well as engaging in therapy and using skills for myself alone, I also worked with an Occupational Therapist to help my relationship with my daughter, and things began to change.

My breast-obsessed, bottle refusing baby began to take a bottle of expressed milk. I told myself it was just a necessity now and that once I was better, I’d go back to being her everything, on call, always.

A large part of our breastfeeding relationship was feeding to sleep. I would feed my daughter for every nap and night sleep. Some nights she slept with my nipple in her mouth. And as much as I delighted in her little soft body and baby breath, I resented the loss of my bodily autonomy.

I had never intended to stop bed sharing, but a condition of staying a patient at the MBU is no “unsafe sleep.” My husband and I squeezed hands under the table when the admissions nurse mentioned this condition of admittance.

Surprisingly most of all to me, she took to a crib as though she’d been waiting for it, sick of sleeping next to someone. Changes seemed to take place slowly and then all at once. Four weeks into our stay, our baby seemed to turn into a little girl.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
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She ate finger foods like any other child her age and slept alone. I felt guilt, unlike anything I’d ever known. Our bed-sharing, breastfed baby, who refused solids, sleep and bottles were no longer, and it was my fault. I felt rejected and as though by partaking in these parenting practices, I was failing my daughter and her future development. The real struggles with this guilt and misplaced identity came after our hospital stay, on the day she turned 11 months old.

I began having migraines that couldn’t be helped by any painkillers I tried. Visiting the GP she prescribed a wafer type med that’d knock them out fast. One caveat being – I had to stop breastfeeding. I cried in my doctors’ office, I cried even more at home. Not because I felt I was depriving my daughter but because I felt I was depriving myself of something that I  found comforting.

The truth is, my daughter hadn’t wanted to breastfeed for weeks and I was barely producing milk. She’d latch on if I initiated a feed but she’d lose interest within a minute or two, contented just to pinch the skin around my neck and make me self conscious. This loss, I realized, was all mine.

I held my little girl that night and breastfed her for the final time.  I set up a self-timer and took photos of the “event” as though I was commemorating a loss. I woke the next morning fully anticipating a battle involving tears and tugging at the collar of my t-shirt.

There was nothing of the sort from my daughter, who was perfectly contented with her bottle and after all that worrying, the tears were all my own.


Author Bio:
Renee Shaw - This Anxious Mum
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Renee is a maternal mental health blogger who believes in the healing power of words. When she isn’t writing she’s playing dinosaurs with her toddler. 

You can read more from Renee on her blog This Anxious Mum – http://thisanxiousmum.com

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression – Are You at Risk?

Does postpartum depression put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is officially a global pandemic and causing all kinds of anxiety and uncertainty.  It can be especially hard on new moms who are already dealing with mental health issues.   Moms with postpartum depression might see an increase in their symptoms during this time.  Yes, it’s a stressful time for everyone, but could moms with mental health issues actually be at a higher risk?

If you have postpartum depression, find out if you are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 
Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression: Are you at Risk?
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression


Those most at risk for contracting coronavirus include the sick, elderly and people with a weakened immune system Many mothers with postpartum depression may suffer from a weak immune system, which is what puts them in the high-risk category.  Depending on how recently a mother has given birth, her immune system may not have had a chance to recover properly.  And certain behaviors caused by postpartum depression can affect our immune systems as well. 

Symptoms of a weakened immune system:

    • Frequent and long lasting illnesses and infections
    • Fatigue
    • Digestion issues (diarrhea, nausea, constipation)
    • New or increased allergies
    • Joint pain or inflammation

Think about whether or not you seem to catch every cold or still get the flu despite getting the flu shot.  Do your symptoms drag on for a long time? Do your wounds take long to heal?   These are all warning signs that you could have a weak immune system.  And if you’re likely to catch a cold from someone sneezing nearing you, then you’re also likely to catch coronavirus.

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How does postpartum depression cause a weakened immune system?

Stress

Stress is the number one culprit when it comes to a weakened immune system.  High levels of stress can increase our cortisol levels and decrease our lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight off infection).  This imbalance within our bodies makes us more susceptible to viruses, like COVID-19.  Moms with postpartum depression and anxiety often find themselves under a lot of stress.  It’s never easy to manage the kids and a household, while trying to maintain our own mental health. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

Sleep Deprivation

New moms, especially those with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, are not getting nearly enough sleep as they need to.  Chronic sleep deprivation can affect our immune system in a negative way.  Normally while we sleep, our body works to produce certain antibodies that help us fight infection.  Sleep is also our body’s time to recharge and refill.  But when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system goes into overdrive.  Then it doesn’t work when we need it to the most, like for fighting off the coronavirus. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Isolation

Both postpartum depression and anxiety can cause a new mother to distance herself from others, long before the CDC recommended it for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus.  Moms normally take extra measures to keep baby away from crowds and strangers, in order to protect their fragile immune systems.  But all this time spent in isolation results in the opposite for moms.  Without being exposed to normal, everyday bacteria in the outside world, moms haven’t been able to build up any immunity to it.  Our immune system needs a lot of practice in order to keep it in good, working condition.

How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
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Fluctuating Hormone Levels

While the underlying cause of postpartum depression is still unknown, some theories suggest it could be due to changes in hormone levels after giving birth.  We know this to be the cause when it comes to the baby blues, which is why it’s so common and doesn’t last long.  Postpartum depression is a much more complicated illness, however.  Either way, lower levels of estrogen may contribute to weakening the immune system.  All women who experience a hormonal imbalance of estrogen might be susceptible.  This includes women who are postpartum, peri-menopausal or who have had a hysterectomy.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Our body needs a steady source of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.  But moms with postpartum depression or anxiety don’t always have the greatest eating habits.  Whether it’s binge-eating junk food or skipping meals all together, these bad habits can weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to the coronavirus.  If food was an issue during your pregnancy (due to hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes, anemia, etc.) you may already have some type of vitamin deficiency.

Warning Signs Your Body is Screaming for a Detox
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How will coronavirus affect a mom’s mental health?

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    • Those with postpartum OCD might be overwhelmed about keeping germs away, hand-washing and disinfecting everything they touch (more than usual, that is).
    • Stress.  Lots of stress.  Stress about running out of food and supplies.  Stress about entertaining the kids while they’re off school.  Financial stress, marital stress, etc. 

What to do about it

The coronavirus is so new that not much is known about it yet.  Studies are being conducted on the effects of coronavirus on pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding moms, but they are still in the early stages.  Experts are working hard for answers but until then, it’s up to us to try to keep it contained. 

Here are some things that moms with postpartum depression can do during the coronavirus outbreak to help maintain their mental health.
    • Stop reading all the global news stories. Instead,  stick to the local news coverage, which will keep you updated on the issues that affect you the most.
    • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for prevention of the spread of coronavirus, and bear in mind that these are updated as more information becomes available. 
    • Eat healthy.  Or take vitamin supplements to help boost your immune system.
    • Drink lots of water.  Regularly drinking water not only boosts your immune system, but helps to flush out any unwanted bacteria in your body. 
    • Get plenty of fresh air in wide, open spaces.  Avoid crowded parks and playgrounds and take a stroll through nature instead. 
    • Practice deep breathing and meditation. Not only does meditation help to calm stress, but taking long, deep breaths will actually improve your lung function.  Strong lungs will help in the event that you need to fight off coronavirus. 
    • Focus on the positive. This worldwide pandemic is one for the history books!   As scary as the times are right now, we are living in a moment of history.  Try journaling your experiences, or take photos.  Look for ways that you can help out someone else, even if it’s just by making a phone call to check in. 
    • Continue practicing self care.  Increase the amount of self care you do daily, if that’s an option.  In order to keep yourself from getting cabin fever, you’ll need to find time to yourself each day. 
    • Try online therapy. If your mental health is truly suffering during the coronavirus outbreak, this is something you can always do from home. 
100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
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The thought of a global pandemic killing thousands of people across the world is truly terrifying.  With the intense amount of media coverage on the coronavirus, it can get very overwhelming for a mother with postpartum depression.  It’s terrifying because so much of it is out of our control. 

We need to focus on the small things that we can control.  Don’t waste your time hoarding toilet paper.  Instead, work on getting your immune system ready by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce your stress levels. In time, this too shall pass. 

How to Reclaim Your Sleep After Having a Baby

All moms could use a little extra sleep.

Whether you’re a brand new mom or a seasoned one, sleep is something we all crave.  The months shortly after having a baby are the worst for sleep deprivation and there’s usually no avoiding it.  But once you’ve got baby into a good routine and you’ve settled into motherhood a bit better, you can start to focus on how to reclaim all your lost hours of sleep.

Mom of two and freelance writer, Lisa Smalls, shares some tips on how to reclaim your sleep after having a baby.
How to Reclaim Your Sleep After Having a Baby
*This post may contain affiliate links. This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author.

Having a new baby will be one of the greatest feelings in your life, however, that thrill can be quickly replaced with the fatigue, lack of focus, anxiety and an increased temper all due to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is acquiring fewer than the seven-plus recommended hours of sleep each night. While newborn babies can sleep 16 to 20 hours each day, those hours are stretched into bursts which are often inconveniently disturbed when the parent is trying to sleep.

On average, a mother in the first three months after having a baby can lose between one and two hours of sleep each night and for both parents they can experience sleep deprivation for up to six years after the birth. While some people can get an adequate amount of sleep at six hours, most need between seven and nine, so those critical couple hours of loss after childbirth can make a big impact on your quality of sleep, especially considering the hours you do get are broken up into two-hour segments dictated by the baby’s fits.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Your body requires not only that you receive seven hours, but also that those hours are subsequent to each other and they are quality sleep. Sleep is the way your body processes thoughts, emotions, memories and helps your body relax and repair. Without consistent sleep your body does not have the ability to process and file all of your information or process it correctly. This leads to a haze during the day resulting in fatigue, lack of focus, lack of motivation, mood swings and anxiety. In turn, these symptoms lead to additional insomnia. So, when your baby is sleeping at night, you may not be able to. It is a vicious cycle.

As your baby ages, additional challenges such as potty training, nightmares, and the concerns of your growing toddler and an active imagination result in sleep deprivation. Though the sleep deprivation you will likely experience as your child ages may not be as complicated as those first few months, it also provides the same symptoms.

8 Creative Ways to Deal With Bedtime Excuses
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So, what can a parent (especially a mother) do to reclaim sleep after giving birth? Here are five tips.

Create a routine for you and the baby

Okay, to be fair your baby is probably not going to pay attention to a routine in the beginning. But, with practice and commitment a routine can help your baby sleep in longer bouts and learn to sleep so that after four months your baby may actually sleep through the entire night. Routine is good and setting a sleep routine such as bath, reading, cuddling, and sleep will be a great payback for the future.

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Accept help

This is such an important factor in helping you sleep that you should keep a sign on your refrigerator as a reminder. After having a baby friends and family will practically tackle each other to offer help and cuddle with that little cutie. But, parents are often unwilling to accept the help. This may be from guilt or simply because it is difficult allowing someone else (including mom) to watch your baby without you there. But, whether someone offers to watch your baby a couple hours, help with the chores, or just hang out to give you a little break, it all pays off.

Keep the baby near you (but not in your bed)

A nursery is great, but it might be better after the six-month mark. In those first months your baby will wake up every couple hours and one way to miss out on sleep is that long walk to the nursery to feed. SIDS is a serious concern and one of the biggest no-no’s is letting your newborn sleep in bed with you. So, whether you have a crib or bassinet in the room keeping your baby close will help you feed without too much hassle.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
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Don’t worry about the dishes

Having a baby does not mean you have lost your old life, but it does mean you need to adjust going forward. That might mean that if you were emphatic about getting all the chores done and having a spotless house, those chores just might have to wait until you are having a nice relaxing day as the kids play with the grandparents. This does not mean you should live like a hoarder but prioritizing your sleep over missing a night of sweeping the floor, means you should really get your zzz’s.


Author Bio: Lisa is a mom of two and freelance writer from North Carolina. She regularly writes for the sleep health website Mattress Advisor, which has taught her so much about the importance of sleep (especially as a working mom). When she isn’t working on commissions, she loves connecting, encouraging and learning with other parents through her writing.


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.

A New Mom's Guide to Postpartum Anxiety
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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 Long Has it Been Since Your Postpartum Depression First Started?

Continue reading “How Long Has it Been Since Your Postpartum Depression First Started?”

7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring

Putting effort into our outward appearance is not a sign of vanity.  It has a significant impact on how we feel inside.

Being happy means aiming to both look and feel good, but it’s not always easy to do.  For mothers, how we look is not always representative of how we feel (and other times it is all too accurate).  

We may feel young and sexy and full of life but we look tired, worn out and as though we’ve given up on ourselves.  Or alternatively, we may feel like we’re dying on the inside, so we overcompensate by layering on makeup to give the appearance that “everything is fine.”

This spring, as the weather begins to warm up, we should challenge ourselves to match how we look with how we feel.
7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring
*This is a sponsored post and 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. 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.
7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring 7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring

Start From The Inside

How we look on the outside all begins with how we feel on the inside. Self esteem comes from within and if we are happy with who we are, it shows in a physical way.  If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or substance overuse, then the first place to start is therapy. 

Working with a therapist, either in person or online, can help you manage everything that is creating self-doubt or a poor self image.  Online therapy in particular, is extremely convenient, especially for moms. 

Schedule your online or video therapy sessions over the winter, ensuring that you get the most out of spring and summer.

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Shine The Light On – The Leah

Focus on Health

Weight issues are some of the most common hurdles to looking and feeling good.  As mothers, we’ve stretched and shrunk, been cut open, torn apart and pieced back together.  Our bodies have changed in so many ways and it can be difficult to accept it as it is now.

One way to look and feel good is to forget about the extra skin on our stomachs or how much we weigh and just focus on being healthy.  Exercising to stay healthy is different than exercising to lose weight or tone muscle.  Don’t worry about counting calories or inches, just try to eat healthier food and incorporate vitamins and nutritional supplements to avoid deficiencies.

If our main focus is on being “healthy” rather than being “fit” there is less pressure on us to meet certain goals and we can learn to love our bodies again.

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Find Strength

In addition to being healthy, we also need to feel strong.  Strength comes in many different forms.  We can train ourselves to be physically strong by joining a gym, lifting weights, swimming, or playing a sport.  It’s important to find emotional and mental strength, as well.  Try meditation, journaling, art or aromatherapy

Being strong, both physically and mentally will inspire confidence and a sense of pride in ourselves.


Make a Statement

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Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver

Your outward appearance tells the world about you, so what is it you want to say? Make a statement with your appearance by choosing clothing and accessories that speak to you.  This “Be Kind” Necklace is a simple and elegant way to remind yourself and others of the power of kindness (get 15% off with code FRIENDS15).

Clothing lines like Shine The Light On create pieces that help raise awareness about mental health.  Modern, minimalist messages imprinted on soft, luxurious fabrics make it simple to spread messages of hope and acceptance wherever you go.

In addition to looking good while making a statement, a portion of the proceeds from the Shine The Light On collection goes towards mental health initiatives – so you can also feel good knowing that you are helping to end the stigma of mental illness.

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Shine The Light On
Make A Mental Health Fashion Statement with Shine the Light On

Take Care of Your Skin

You don’t need to do your hair and makeup to look and feel good this spring, but you should always take care of your skin.  Glowing, healthy skin looks good from the outside and can make a person feel good on the inside. 

As mothers, when we feel over-cuddled and overstimulated after a long day, it’s our skin and sense of touch that suffers.  This is why caring for our skin plays such an important role in how we look and feel.  Plus, the act of massaging lotion onto our skin can stimulate our lymphatic system and help keep our bodies healthy from the inside.

So splurge on a good, all natural skin care line to make sure that you’re not coating your skin in chemicals.  Soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts to help soften and relax your muscles.  Use sunscreen all year round, especially when you plan to spend longer amounts of time outdoors.

And make sure that you schedule yourself enough time each day to perform your daily skin care routine.

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Change is Good

Try a new look this spring. Cut or color your hair, try out a new clothing style or color that you would never normally wear.  Get a piercing or tattoo, eyelash extensions, permanent makeup or micro-bladed eyebrows.  You don’t need to go so far as getting plastic surgery, but if there are specific problem areas that have always bothered you, then consider booking an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist to discuss your options.

Don’t be afraid of change, though it might take some time to get used to.  Only make changes that are truly something you want to do, and never in an effort to please anyone else or be someone other than yourself.   Changing something about your outward appearance can make you feel mysterious, spontaneous and empowered. 

Deciding to change something about your appearance should remind you that you are in control of your body and what happens to it.


Comfortable Is Beautiful

“The mom look” is normally one associated with comfort and function.  But comfortable can also be beautiful so don’t feel like you need to trade one for the other.  It is entirely possible to look good and feel comfortable at the same time, as long as you choose the right pieces.

If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, whether it’s shoes that pinch or a waistband that’s too tight, you will act uncomfortably.  So just bite the bullet and get rid of anything that you hate wearing, no matter how expensive or “designer” it might be.

Being comfortable in your own skin is the best way to show the world your confidence and beauty.

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11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

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

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

Here are a few things many moms do that can actually harm their mental health.
11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Forget to Eat

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

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

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

Go to Bed Late

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

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

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

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Ignore a Phone Call

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

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

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Avoid Looking in Mirrors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Depend Too Much On Coffee/Wine/Advil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shop Only For the Kids

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

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

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

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Avoid the Outdoors

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

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

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

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Put up with Negative People

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

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

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

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Compare Themselves to Others

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

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

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


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

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

11 Things Moms Do that Harm their Mental Health

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