Self-Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression

Taking time for themselves is something that all moms need to do but practicing a self-care routine is essential to treating postpartum depression.

Self-care doesn’t always need to consist of spa days or alone time.  While different things appeal to different women and personalities – there are some simple, basic, everyday tasks that can make a huge difference to one’s mood and patience level.

In the aftermath of postpartum depression, the key to keeping symptoms under control is to stay one step ahead of them, otherwise it’s very easy to drown in the shuffle of everyday motherhood.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

**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.


What is self-care?

It’s all the things you need to do to take care of YOU.  Self-care is a huge topic among parents, especially SAHMs.  Because how the heck are you supposed to take care of yourself AND the tiny humans who demand so much of your attention?

The Ultimate Collection of Self Care Tips for Moms
fortheloveofmom.org

The nature of a parent is always to put their children first and therefore, self-care often gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list.  I’m quite guilty of it myself and sometimes life gets SO busy that I don’t even realize how long it’s been since I showered or blow-dried my hair.


When to do self-care

Start your own self care journey when you buy The Self Care Journey ebook & Journal and find some time for you in the chaos of motherhood!
Take the Self Care Journey from Mommy Takes 5

Trying to fit a self-care routine into an already packed day is impossible, I know.  There are never, nor will there ever be, enough minutes in the day to get everything accomplished.

This means you’re going to have to sacrifice something.  It could be sleep (sleep? what’s that?), it could be that extra time with your kids before bed, it could be the gourmet dinner you cook every night.

Or perhaps there is a way to work your self-care routine into your existing routine with the kids.  There’s no rule that says self-care must equal alone time so feel free to involve your kids or partner.

The Self Care Journey e-book from Mommy Takes 5 can help you figure out what routine works best for you! 

Whatever you need to do, do it and make time for you.

Why to do self-care

During my own battle with postpartum depression – I could never look at myself in the mirror.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of the pile of muck I had become.

I had a ghastly image of myself in my head and I feared that if I looked at myself in the mirror I would realize it had come true.  The few times I did make eye contact with myself, I immediately broke into tears because I absolutely hated myself and standing in front of the mirror meant coming face to face with my worst enemy.

This is what it felt like for me

But I wasn’t afraid to look at myself when I had a little makeup on.  When I was showered and my hair was done and I was in decent clothes – for a moment, I forgot about that pile of muck.  This was someone else I was looking at, talking to, admiring in the mirror.  That pile of muck was still there but I didn’t have to look at her.  I didn’t have to face her and all the sadness she brought with her.

So while some might consider self-care a type of vanity, I felt that it was the only way for me to escape the rut I was in.


Start with the basics

Brush your teeth

So simple right?  Not when you’re awoken by the loud screams of children at 7 am.  You rush out of bed to see what’s happening and deal with whatever new fiasco they’ve created.  And then coffee is the first thought on your mind.  You’ll brush after coffee – that makes sense, right?  Then you won’t have coffee breath!  Smart woman!

Except you never, ever, finish that cup of coffee… 

It sits there getting cold.  Maybe you walk by once or twice and stick it in the microwave to heat it up and then forget about it there.  Before you know it the hubby is home from work and for some reason he’s not going in for that smooch…

Take the shower!

There are so many days when this feels like an impossible feat.  It takes more than a few minutes and we all know what kind of trouble kids can get into in that time.

But putting it off means you’re putting yourself off, and self-care is all about putting yourself FIRST!  So take the shower!

If it means putting on a tv show for them, or letting them use the tablet while they sit on the bathroom floor – then do it.  If all else fails – take them in with you!  I’ve brought my babies into the shower with me and sat them in the Bumbo chair… they loved it!

If the thought of taking a shower feels like the last thing you want to do after an extremely long day, then it’s what you need most.  Trust me and just TAKE THE SHOWER!!!

Change your clothes

Changing from flannel pajama pants into black leggings counts.  Don’t stay in your pajamas all day even if they’re the comfiest thing on earth and you’re not going anywhere anyway.  I’ve gone so far as to use the excuse that I don’t want to make more laundry for myself.

But even if you wear the same “daytime” clothes for a week – change out of your pajamas.  The act of changing your clothes – even if they are from one pair of sweatpants to another, is enough to trick your brain into thinking you’ve done something productive.

Do your hair & makeup

This one is more important to some than others.  I’ve never been a “full face makeup” type of person.  (I use three things makeup-wise everyday – concealer, bronzer & eyebrows). 

If you have a particular “problem area” that makes you self-conscious then take care of that so you can feel confident enough to face the world.

I also recently chopped my waist-length hair into a bob, something I had been considering dreading doing for years.  It’s much less maintenance now, which means I actually do it everyday, and the change in style has given me a renewed confidence.


Add in some extras

Give yourself a pep talk

parenting mantras
Kate @ picklebums.com offers inspirational free printable posters

Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, a little “you can do this” under my breath reminds me that I need to stay positive.  It is SO easy to lose that motivation when you are battling postpartum depression because you are in a constant state of darkness.  Find some way to remind yourself to stay in the light. 

Write a positive message on your bathroom mirror in dry erase marker and change it up every few days/weeks.

Read a book on thinking positive.

Print off some motivational posters and hang them up all over your house.

 Download these free printable positive affirmation cards from Lauren at TheMilitaryWifeandMom.com 

Follow some of these Instagram accounts that share motivational messages so that when you’re scrolling away on social media you get a little pick me up!

@tinybuddhaofficial
@motivationalmama_
@thegoodquote

Take your vitamins

Sufferers of postpartum depression are infamous for their terrible eating habits – either not enough or too much.  And because of that, we often end up with all kinds of vitamin deficiencies which can have a huge effect on our mental health.  So if you’re not able to eat as healthy as you should, you should be taking supplements in order to get your levels back up to where they should be.

Magnesium is what worked wonders for me.  I recommend this drink, or this supplement and I recently came across this DIY recipe for magnesium body butter that would fit perfectly into a self-care routine.

Vitamin D – get outside in the sun!  Not only does 20 minutes in the sunshine top up your Vitamin D levels but the fresh air does wonders for your soul.

Vitamin B Complex – to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrition despite your messed up appetite.

Here’s an article on www.livestrong.com that has more details on the best herbal and vitamin supplements to treat postpartum depression.

Essential Oils

essential oils for depression
essentialoilexperts.com

I am a very new user of essential oils but I am quickly becoming addicted.  I can’t say for certain that they “cure” anything but if you find a blend that you enjoy, it can have an extremely calming effect.

There are so many different ways to use essential oils and I plan to do much more research on them in the treatment of postpartum depression (which I will share, of course).  

What I can tell you right now is that quality makes all the difference so even though it might seem like splurge, you get what you pay for.

Get more info from the North American Essential Oil & Aromatherapy Experts.

An easy way to experience the benefits of essential oils all day long AND feel beautiful doing it is to use them on some diffuser jewelry.  
I absolutely LOVE this stylish diffuser jewelry line from Gaia Gypsy Strands

 [USE CODE RIT20 TO RECEIVE 20% YOUR ORDER!] 

Pin It!

Find ONE thing

And it doesn’t have to be a BIG thing.  A spa day is great but so is binge watching Netflix.  Everyone is different and so are the things that make us happy.

Focus on ONE extra activity that makes you feel happy and relaxed and ONE thing only.  As moms we spend most of our days multi-tasking, and there is so much pressure to become a mom who can bake and sew and do crafts and plan parties (thanks a lot, Pinterest) and it becomes overwhelming and exhausting.

Your self-care routine should consist of something that makes you feel happy and relaxed afterwards.  It doesn’t have to be productive and you don’t need to justify it.  You just need to do it.

Write it down

Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be hugely therapeutic for postpartum depression survivors in many different ways.  Not only is the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings a way to release them, but it also helps you keep track of whether they are getting better or worse.

Click HERE to get this free printable workbook that can help you document your journey through postpartum depression.
Click to download!


Whatever self-care routine you end up carving out for yourself, make sure that you stick to it in order to prevent relapses.

Communicate with your partner about how important these things are for your mental health so that they can support you. 

And don’t ever feel guilty about putting yourself first because if mom is happy, then the entire household is happy. 


5 Things to Expect in the Aftermath of Postpartum Depression

It’s been 5 years since my battle with postpartum depression first began.  I consider myself a survivor now but living in the aftermath of postpartum depression is nothing like life was before it.

Postpartum depression treatment options are different for everyone but there are a few things to expect on your journey to recovery.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Expect it to never go away 100%

I had hyperemesis gravidarum with all three of my pregnancies and it was horrific.  But as soon as I pushed the baby out, the nausea went away instantly.  Postpartum depression is not like that.

With treatment, you will get better.  The days will be brighter and the fits of sadness and rage will become fewer and far between.  But it will always be there, deep down inside.  It will be hard to forget the dark days and there will be reminders of them everywhere.

You may go months, years even, living happily as a postpartum depression survivor and then suffer a relapse during a strenuous week of sleep regression or the flu.  My personal postpartum depression treatment requires a consistent self-care routine and I’ve noticed that symptoms tend to rear their ugly head if I don’t keep up with it.

Here are my best tips
I think of my postpartum depression like a wound.  It happened and it healed but the scar remains.  Most days I forget all about it but it is always there.

2. Expect to feel guilty

Amazon.ca – This won’t get rid of your guilt but it will help take away some of the stress.

We know that postpartum depression is NOT OUR FAULT.  But accepting that fact is much harder to swallow.  As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we often feel guilty for something – our fault or not; we’re not spending enough time with our kids, we’re not giving them the best clothes, food, toys, education, etc. – you name it and a mom’s felt guilty for it.

But the guilt that a postpartum depression survivor feels is much worse than your average mom guilt.  The things we said or did while we were in the raw days of postpartum depression were not us.  We couldn’t control them, we couldn’t anticipate them and we didn’t mean a word of it.

But we remember all of it. And if there were witnesses around, (i.e. an older child or spouse) it’s likely they remember everything too.

So no matter how many times we tell ourselves that it’s not our fault – we can’t help but feel guilty for all the things we said or did during the battle.
It’s not easy to talk about

3. Expect to have different relationships

Postpartum depression changes you.  You can never go back to being the person you were before this.

Your relationship with your spouse or significant other will either be stronger or broken entirely.  They will also be a changed person because you can’t watch someone else go through something like postpartum depression and not feel anything about it afterwards.

You could try this 30 Day Relationship Challenge from To The Altar & After!

But if someone has loved you and stuck with you through the darkest of days then they are a keeper.  If they ran for the hills then you didn’t want them anyway…

The same could be said of your friendships except it’s unlikely they even knew you had postpartum depression.

If you alienated yourself from everyone while you were suffering but did not give an explanation why then you will probably need to do some damage control in the aftermath.

4. Expect to be a stronger woman than you were before

It goes without saying that postpartum depression survivors are some of the strongest women who exist.  (Ok, all “survivors” are strong – perhaps this one sounds cliché… but being forced to suffer from depression during a time in your life when you should be MOST happy is just plain cruel.) 

Once you’ve doubted every single decision you’ve made, questioned your reason for living and hurt people you love – there is not much left that will scare you.  You will reach a point where you think you just can’t handle it anymore – but then you do.

You learn that the limit to how much you can handle is much further than where you thought it was…

5. Expect to WANT to tell your story

While you may have felt ashamed or embarrassed about your condition at the time – afterwards you will be proud to say “I beat postpartum depression.”

You will recognize the all too familiar pain in other women and want to help them.  Since you are stronger now, you don’t care who judges you for what.

And while writing or talking about your experience will be hard and will likely stir up all the guilt you’ve been working so hard to abolish, the freedom you will gain from it is unlike any other.

Sometime in the aftermath of postpartum depression, you will WANT to tell your story, whether it’s to your closest friends and family or complete strangers.

And when you do, others will sympathize with you and relate to you and perhaps you’ll even save a life…

Want to tell your postpartum depression story but not sure where to start?  Download this FREE printable PDF workbook

Click to download!