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.
*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.
7 Ways to Create a Self Care Sanctuary
How to Create a Space Designed for Self Care

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.
  • Burn some dried sage. The ritual of sage burning can remove the negative energy from within the room (also called smudging).
  • Light candles or incense to promote a healing environment. Try a Himalayan salt candle holder for extra purifying benefits!
  • Use essential oils in a diffuser. Here’s an all in one kit.
  • Adopt a houseplant.  Choose one of several plants that clean and purify the air in a room.  Outdoor spaces filled with flowers and greenery are also perfect locations for a self care sanctuary.
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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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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.

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

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


Cleanse the Body

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

There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
  • Drink lemon water.  This simple combination has many health benefits, especially for those suffering from depression and anxiety. 
  • Indulge in healthy drinks.  Sip on smoothies, green tea or naturally flavored water.
  • Take your vitamins.  Make sure you’re eating foods packed with vitamins or invest in supplements.
  • Practice deep breathing.  Take long, slow breaths to help clear the lungs and feel energized. 
  • Meditate.  Try different forms of meditation to find the right fit. 
  • Perform a detox.  A detox can be beneficial to the healing process if done correctly.  Listen to your body’s warning signs and do your research before beginning a detox. 
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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.
amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression
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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. Try one of these deluxe paint by numbers kits from Winnie’s Picks.

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.

Art Therapy
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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.


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

The Amazing Benefits of Yoga for Postpartum Depression

Yoga is known for it’s amazing mood boosting and stress reducing benefits.

Using yoga for postpartum depression can help to improve your overall mood and well-being.  Adding yoga into a regular self-care routine is a simple change that can make a big difference.  Since it is a low-impact way to exercise, it can be safe for mothers who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth.  It’s also a great exercise to do with children or babies around because they love to watch and sometimes even follow along.

In this guest post from Meera Watts of SiddhiYoga.com, you can learn about all the amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression.

amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression
*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.

There are a variety of benefits yoga has displayed. It has been used for centuries for good reason. Instead of using prescription medications, there was the development of yoga to manage physical and mental problems. So it is that yoga can help us in the modern world with depression, stress, and mindfulness, because maintaining good mental health should always be a priority.

You are more prone to nurturing yourself when you create body awareness and of course mind awareness. You won’t beat yourself up anymore and let your ego dictate how you’ll feel. Yoga is a deeply grounding practice that brings out your truths. As your heart opens more and you learn about who you really are, you’ll have a profound sense of self. This can only create a place of self-love.

Here are the benefits of yoga for postpartum depression that you might not know about.

• Reduction of the impact of stress in your daily life.
• Assists with anxiety and depression.
• Teaches you to self-soothe yourself with techniques like meditation, relaxation, and through the exercise aspect of the practice.
• Energy is improved.

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Yoga and Depression

The physical things in yoga will have your body moving in all sorts of directions. You get a gentle workout, a core workout, and learn to breathe properly. Then, you’ll do meditation. Yoga teaches you a lot and taps into your mind, body and soul. It can be helpful with depression and the symptoms. For example, yoga helps you to concentrate and helps you with your energy levels. These are common problems of depression that are solved through yoga.

Yoga helps you to manage any mental and emotional problems you’re dealing with. Conditions and disorders that can lead to depression such as chronic pain can be relieved.

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Improve Your Mood

The reason we experience things like depression and anxiety is due to unbalanced levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Serotonin is something that makes us happy and gives us energy. When we don’t have enough, we can feel down. Yoga naturally helps to increase serotonin levels. Yoga is gentle so even if a person does feel low, they can go to a class and get the nurturing benefits. The fluid nature of the moves you do can evoke a nice feeling. As your body moves, you become more conscious of that, instead of how you feel emotionally.

Warrior poses can make you feel powerful. That is not a feeling that someone with depression usually feels. You will also concentrate on your breathing which can bring you more energy.

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Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Yoga works to increase your heart rate. Through breathing and encouraging blood to flow better with poses, it can change time between heartbeats. The relaxation response will dominate over the stress response in the body. The body gets better at monitoring itself and fighting against stress. It also reduces levels of cortisol that are released in the body. When you do get anxious, you cause the body to overproduce this chemical. When you have too much in the body, it can cause damage to the mind and body.

Yoga lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier to breathe. When you learn how to do deep breathing in yoga, you can immediately relax yourself. You also increase your pain tolerance by reducing stress. Stress has been shown to lower your pain tolerance.

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Yoga and Mindfulness

A big part of yoga is learning to be mindful. This is the key to solve any negative feelings you have. As you learn to just observe the ego mind instead of going down to its level, you can manage any storm. It is the ego that says you’re not good enough, that you can’t do something, or that there’s something to worry about.

Almost nothing it tells you has any true purpose and it can lead you to feel extremely angry, sad, anxious, or afraid. The funny thing is, the ego is basing it’s reality on your past situations. Say you’re triggered by a smell, this is the ego searching for an experience that occurred with a relate-able scent. If the memory is a good one, you feel happy. If it’s a bad memory, it can make you feel instantly terrible.

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Mindfulness is being aware of the emotional pain or the physical pain that manifests in you when these things happen. You may not be able to remember what happened when you were five that created sadness from a smell. You can scan your body and be aware of what the brain is saying.

Even just witnessing your thoughts can calm the rest of your body down. Your ego doesn’t have a chance to berate you. When you’re kinder to yourself, you are less likely to do things like emotionally eat or get angry at people who don’t deserve it.

Medical studies and scientific research say that meditation and mindfulness has neurological benefits.

Yoga works on the body and through the breath to create a centered mind within you. Stress is decreased and so is depression. You will experience a higher quality of life with that open heart you’ve created. Then you’re not prone to fear and self-doubt.


Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh and Dharamshala) and Indonesia (Bali).

For more information, view her website at www.siddhiyoga.com and follow her on social media.

Youtube | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

 

The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts

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

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

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

Here is some more information about intrusive thoughts.
The Truth about Scary and Intrusive Thoughts
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
The truth about scary and intrusive thoughts

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

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


What are NOT Intrusive Thoughts?

    • They are not hallucinations
    • They are not third party voices in your head
    • They are not an indication of postpartum psychosis
    • They are not subconscious thoughts or images
    • They are not part of your normal train of thought
    • They are not how you truly feel deep down inside
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Types of Intrusive Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Basically, any thought or image that enters your head that feels scary and unnatural is considered an intrusive thought.
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The Danger of Intrusive Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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The Truth About Intrusive Thoughts

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

How to Get Rid of Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

A Mother’s Guide to Postpartum Rage

Are you even a mother if you’re not constantly yelling at your kids for something?  Getting mad at your kids or spouse is one thing, but postpartum rage is something entirely different.

Mothers who find themselves suffering from episodes of postpartum rage may feel like they are just unable to handle the everyday challenges of motherhood.  Or perhaps they believe it’s a sign of trouble in their marriage and relationships.  Maternal mental health disorders can have a tricky way of making mothers feel like they are failing.  And postpartum rage is one of the scariest tricks yet.

Here’s what moms need to know about postpartum rage.
A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
*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.
A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
Postpartum Rage Info Graphic Postpartum Rage

What is Postpartum Rage?

As the term suggests, it is classified as feelings of uncontrollable anger in a mother who has recently given birth.  Usually set off by something insignificant (but also triggered by valid reasons), episodes of postpartum rage come on very suddenly and escalate quickly.  They are generally out-of-character for most women and can be especially frightening to those around her.

In most cases, women do not get violent, but because postpartum rage is uncontrollable, it can manifest in violent ways such as throwing or breaking things, swearing, screaming or threatening to do something worse.

Postpartum rage is usually a by-product of a maternal mental health disorder such as postpartum depression, anxiety or OCD.  Similar to anger management problems, postpartum rage is caused by an underlying issue that makes it difficult to control feelings of anger.

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Rage vs. Anger

It’s called postpartum RAGE for a reason.  It’s more than just anger or getting upset over something valid.  It’s not deep-sighs of frustration or disappointment.  It’s not “mom’s upset because we didn’t put our toys away.”  It’s full-blown, blood-boiling, fist-clenching rage.  How do you know if you’re suffering from postpartum rage and not just a hot temper?

Symptoms of Postpartum Rage

  • Reacting quickly and passionately over small things (like a spilled drink)
  • Heart races and blood pressure rises when you start to get upset
  • You cannot stop thinking bad thoughts about someone who wronged you
  • Feeling violent urges or imagining doing something violent to yourself or someone else
  • Screaming or swearing
  • Punching or throwing things
  • Unable to “snap out of it” and needing someone else to intervene
  • Inability to remember everything that happened during the outburst of rage
  • Immediately feeling regret or a flood of emotions afterwards

Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Depression (PPD)

If you’ve ever heard the expression “depression is anger turned inwards” then a link between postpartum depression and postpartum rage makes perfect sense.  Sufferers of postpartum depression are usually seen as having very little energy, lethargic, sad and quiet.  In many ways, the opposite of what we imagine when we hear the word “rage.”

Anger is actually a very common symptom of depression.  Postpartum depression brings with it a lot of guilt and feelings of self-loathing or worthlessness.  Mothers with postpartum depression tend to bottle up a lot of these unpleasant feelings.  All of those bottled up emotions can, and will, eventually come out, often in the form of anger and rage.

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Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Anxiety (PPA)

This is perhaps the most common combination of postpartum rage.  Postpartum anxiety causes a mother to be worried, overwhelmed, and feel out of control, which easily opens the door to postpartum rage.

Postpartum anxiety can create situations of distrust and paranoia, which feeds the postpartum rage.  The more situations a mother is placed in where she feels out of control or overwhelmed, the more opportunities postpartum rage has to prey on her soul.  What’s worse is that simply knowing she is prone to episodes of rage can make her mental state much worse.

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Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD)

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is similar to postpartum anxiety in that it leads a new mother to worry quite regularly.  The difference is that with postpartum OCD, mothers become obsessed about doing something to the point where they can barely function if it isn’t done.  For some women, it’s obsessively cleaning the house, washing their hands or bathing baby, but it can be any kind of obsessive behavior.

If a mother is unable to perform these tasks, it can lead her into a state of postpartum rage due to a loss of control.  She may also be easily irritated and annoyed if she is interrupted while performing obsessive routines and will lash out in fits of rage.

Postpartum Intrusive Thoughts
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Postpartum Rage + Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Stress is known to have all kinds of detrimental effects on the mind and body.  Many mothers who suffered from PTSD after a traumatic pregnancy or delivery can develop postpartum rage. 

This can stem from any resentment they may hold toward their experience.  They may feel sorry for themselves and be unable to move past the traumatic events.  Or, mothers with PTSD may feel hostile towards the doctors, nurses or anyone else who she believes may have contributed to her bad experience.

Precipitous Labor
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How to Manage It

Step 1: Remove yourself from the situation

As soon as you realize that you’ve lost control – walk away.  It’s important to tell your spouse or partner what you’re going through so that they can intervene if necessary.  Find or create a safe space in your home that you can escape to.

Step 2: Calm down

Take deep breaths, do some yoga stretches, have a drink of water, get some fresh air.  Do whatever you need to do in order to calm yourself down and regain control again.  Sniffing some calming essential oils are a great way to calm yourself down quickly.

Step 3: Find another outlet for your anger

Anger is an important emotion and while you want to keep the postpartum rage under control, it’s imperative that you find another way to express it.  Exercise is a great way to burn off all the pent up energy, as well as getting outdoors or you could focus it towards something creative.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
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How to Prevent It

Ask for help

Postpartum rage can get out of control very quickly.  Don’t wait for someone to ask you if you’re alright. Make sure that your spouse or partner knows to get involved if you lose control, even if it makes the rage worse.  There are also counselors, online therapists and support groups available for you to talk to.

National Crisis Support Lines for Postpartum Moms
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Treat the underlying cause

Since postpartum rage is a symptom of a bigger issue, it’s important to establish a treatment plan to get your maternal mental health back in good shape.  Supplement your existing treatment plan with a proper self care routine that includes stress-relieving practices like yoga, acupressure or aromatherapy.

Track your moods

Keeping track of your moods can help you to avoid an episode of postpartum rage.  By tracking the fluctuations in your mood on a regular basis, you can start to notice any specific patterns or triggers that cause you additional stress.  Download a printable monthly mood tracker and keep it somewhere easily accessible so that you remember to track your mood each day.

Let it go

Stop holding grudges against people who have hurt or offended you.  Let things that have happened in the past remain there.  Dwelling on a bad situation will only encourage that rage, so learn to just let it all go.  Practicing yoga or meditation, or writing things out can be a great way to release those feelings and let them go.

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy
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Replace rage with laughter

Anytime you feel like bursting out in a fit of rage, just start laughing instead.  Yes, you will look like a crazy person – white walls, straight-jacket, insane asylum crazy person.  Laughter can release that built up energy in the same way that rage can, but it’s less frightening and makes you feel something positive instead.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

Avoid stressful situations

Stress is a big trigger for episodes of postpartum rage.  Try to avoid being put into stressful situations. If it’s the bedtime routine that stresses you out, then maybe it’s time to start sleep training – or have someone else put the kids to bed.  Stay away from online mom groups that discuss controversial topics and choose a support group instead.  You may need to re-evaluate your job, financial situation and/or relationships to see what is causing your stress and find ways to make it better.

Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
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Postpartum rage can be a terrifying thing to deal with.  It’s often misdirected towards spouses or children and can have an effect on those relationships.  It’s important to understand that postpartum rage is a symptom of something bigger and make sure that your loved ones know that as well.  The more everyone understands about maternal mental health issues, the easier it will be to recover from them and the less damage it will do to our lives.

If you find yourself suffering from regular outbursts of postpartum rage, make sure to speak to your doctor about them, even if you are already taking anti-depressants or some other form of treatment.  Certain medications can make postpartum rage worse, so you may need to experiment with what works for you.

Additional Resources

Books:

Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood by Molly Caro May.  [Purchase it at Chapters or Amazon]

Articles:

The Scariest Symptom of Postpartum Depression – The Seleni Institute

Postpartum Rage: When You Start to Lose Control – Mothering.com

We Need to Talk About Postpartum Rage – And Why it Happens – Mother.ly

Anger Management: 10 Tips to Tame Your Temper – Mayo Clinic

Mental Health and Anger Management – WebMD