8. What does your existing postpartum depression self care routine consist of?
I need ample amounts of alone time, especially at the end of the day. As a stay at home mom of three kids, it gets very draining and I feel like if I don’t get in a little me time before bed it’s an endless cycle. My husband knows to give me space after the kids go to bed. I just need to not be “needed” for an hour or two. I also do yoga in the mornings and have incorporated aromatherapy into my home. – Vanessa
As of the past month my postpartum depression has been getting better because I make self care a priority. I wake up at 6 am so I can make MYSELF ready for the day (hair, makeup, clothes etc), and do my daily devotions and bible reading. I try to not get lost on social media for hours and get jealous of everyone’s “perfect” life. I shower. Every day! I listen to self development books on audible. I just my MYSELF a PRIORITY!! – Anonymous
Trying to grab sleep whenever I can, even if it’s just 30 mins whilst my husband plays with our child in the other room. I might not actually sleep but I can rest. I go to the gym as often as I can as it has an instant effect on my anxiety- it just disappears for a little while. I try to eat properly and not miss meals I give myself permission to cancel anything I feel is too much, e.g. social engagements. I try to avoid reading/watching anything even remotely to do with child deaths and abuse. It triggers me so quickly it’s not worth it. – Alexandra
Routine!!! Wake up healthy breakfast medication, staying organize and busy with work and kids, I take time for myself to paint my nails or to make a certain snack I enjoy or just a movie. – Amber
Letting someone else take care of my son for a little bit and either playing a video game, taking a long shower, napping or going to Target by myself. – Anonymous
I do keep up with my psychiatrist but I guess I don’t really have a routine right now. – Nicole
Essential oils, breathing, medication, reading and exercise. – Anonymous
Slow wean off of the drugs. CBT. – Brittany
A lot of uplifting and telling myself I’m a good mom and surrounding myself by people that love me. – Jodi
Sleep, an hour a day for a TV show. – Anonymous
Talking about my feelings and tons of support from friends. – Ashley G.
Make sure I’m sleeping well and continuing to take Citalipram to combat anxiety. – Anonymous
Taking my meds, seeing my counselor, exercising, eating well, and taking time for myself when needed. – Amanda
Private alone time to recharge, controlled breathing, naps. – Anonymous
I just had my second baby two months ago and I was put back on medication to take precaution. I made sure to get plenty of sleep this time around and I did not breastfeed. – Katy
Staying active in therapy and with medication. Journaling feelings. Good hygiene. – Samantha
I believe in self motivation, it helps a lot. When I feel down I start to point out all the good that I have done that day and I see how happy my babies are and how happy my husband is and for me that is all I need. – Anonymous
Working out and oils. Taking time to better my self. My son will not know I am talking more time to my self when he is 3 months old. I want to be the best mom once he starts remembering. – Melissa
Taking herbal supplements and some anxiety meds, watching my self talk, getting out, getting time to myself. – Marcella
Therapy, yoga, sleep when I can. – Anonymous
Showers and naps anytime I need. – Emily
Make sure I get enough sleep. Taking time for myself. Self-reflecting. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered
Taking 50 MG of Zoloft a day. – Chelsea
I am focusing on me more. I realize I can just focus on my husband and baby. I have a few medical conditions, so I am now getting monthly massages, chiropractor visits, not to mention what I do daily to take care of myself. – Kathryn
Still on meds. – Anonymous
Hair and teeth don’t always get brushed, I tend to forget deodorant never get dressed up just wear comfy baggy clothes. – Krista
I’m out of it now. Right now self care is light therapy, exercise and outdoor time, crafts. – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County
I continue to take my meds daily, but am feeling considerably more stable now, with only a few bad days here and there throughout the month. My “self-care” is really more like a set of rules I’ve given myself. I never go more than 48 hours without showering. I force myself to eat when my toddler eats. I signed up for volunteer activities so I am out and about around other adults on a regular basis. I’ve started telling my friends what are triggers for me, so we can work around those without it being an issue (ex. talking on the phone. On my bad days I cannot for the life of me answer the telephone. I have no idea why). And Saturday’s are my day. My husband takes the baby, and I spend the entire day at a coffee shop with my noise-canceling headphones. – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me
Taking my meds and vitamins and I get a 2 hour bathroom time for just a hot soaking bubble bath. – Jessica
Clean eating, for starters. I determined that eating sugar or dairy made me have almost immediate anxiety. Tracking my cycle is also a huge part of my self care. Staying abreast of my hormonal changes is key. Daily showers and restful sleep are also important to me—that means a nice hot cup of lavender tea and luxurious pajamas at 10:00 pm. And, of course, I move my body. Every day. I can’t say that I “work out” but I do something to get my heart rate up and follow with a healthy dose of ice water. – Amanda from Mom Like Me
Well I ordered the pills and I’m waiting for them to come in. I try to sleep in when my hubby is home and try to go out by myself without the kids once a week. I work out as many times as I can find a babysitter a week. We don’t live close to family so it’s hard to get support. – Anonymous
Planning, journaling also stamping. – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep
Taking my medicine and if that doesn’t help enough I will go to therapy.– Haylie
Nothing really. I never even got to sit down never mind “care” for myself during that time. – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula
Making time to keep up with my treatment, being consistent with my medication, finding time for myself everyday .– Anonymous
Medication, sufficient sleep. – Anonymous
Meditating, reminding myself my kids are little and I want to give them the best childhood and not always be irritated when they do natural child behavior like make mess or cry. Having time for myself. Reaching out when I need help. – Anonymous
Routine exercise, time to myself every week, regular appointments with my therapist, healthy eating, plenty of sleep (my husband will watch the baby some nights to give me a full night of sleep). – Anonymous
I have instituted a family schedule giving my husband a defined list of tasks and chores he MUST complete as well as giving me time to shower and get dressed every morning and take the kids off my hands for at least an hour a day every afternoon. I also have a babysitting schedule for my parents and in-laws and force myself to sit down and watch TV instead of doing work or chores during my non-kid time. – Eda
Resting when my body tells me, getting outside a little everyday, essential oils for mood and pain. – Anonymous
I am currently pregnant with my fourth child after remarrying. My youngest is 3 1/2. I have a good support system of moms who have struggled and I can be honest with. I am honest with my doctors and have a doula. I talk to a therapist and I rest when I need it. – Kathleen
I have no self care routine still, when I can I get away to the grocery store etc. – Stephanie
Now I make sure to have time alone. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed I look at my son and express gratitude for getting to be in my son’s life and watch him grow. He is so amazing and I have the capacity for more love than I knew possible. -Yonat from Embodied Therapy Santa Rosa
Trying to maintain my hygiene. Making the bed every morning. Getting dressed. Opening the blinds. – Beth
We often underestimate the power of self-care.
For women with postpartum depression, it’s too easy to fall into a “funk” and start ignoring basic tasks like brushing our teeth or making the bed. We may not see it as a big deal at the time but it truly has an impact on our mental health. When we neglect ourselves, our brain gets the message that we are not as important. Over time, our brains reprogram themselves to prioritize our needs less and less and it becomes harder to change that way of thought.
What can we do to change this?
Stop thinking of self care as being selfish. Yes, you are a mother now and there are children who depend on you but that doesn’t mean that you have to neglect yourself in order to take care of them. Seek a way to balance how much time you spend taking care of yourself vs. your other responsibilities. When it comes to self care, there are so many different options and levels of intensity. Start by getting more sleep or taking a shower regularly. Eventually you can create a whole list of things you’d like to do for yourself. Treating ourselves as important will program our minds to believe it.