Taking care of yourself and your mental health when you’ve just brought a baby into the world can be tough. Babies need a lot of attention, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give any attention to yourself. You can do these at-home activities to improve mental health in quick bursts or long stretches, and they’ll help you relax while having fun.
Read a Book
Reading can help decrease depression symptoms, blood pressure, and heart rate, resulting in a relaxing escape that benefits both the mind and body. You can read whatever interests you, but fictional books have additional benefits compared to nonfiction. Through fiction, readers of all ages develop social skills, empathy, and interpersonal understanding. No matter what you choose, reading can help improve focus, and finishing a book provides a great sense of accomplishment.
With sleep deprivation and an active feeding schedule, most new moms dread hearing advice to “get active.” Despite this, physical exercise remains one of the best ways to improve mental health as it elevates your heart rate, which increases blood circulation and boosts endorphins. Aerobic exercises such as walking and dancing can reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, relieve stress, increase energy and stamina, uplift mood, enhance mental alertness, and encourage heart health.
If aerobic exercise doesn’t sound right for you, try yoga. This activity is ideal for people at any fitness level and can improve emotional balance and stress levels with concentrated breathing. It’s also good for your body, releasing endorphins and developing muscle tone and flexibility.
Do a Puzzle
You may not think that you have the right type of personality for puzzles, but anyone who is imaginative, goal-oriented, meditative, or cooperative will enjoy a puzzle. Puzzles come in a variety of sizes and cuts, so you can pick something that will be both challenging and fun. No matter their size or cut, puzzles can improve cognition, visual-spatial reasoning, concentration, short-term memory, and problem-solving. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do a puzzle all at once either. You can piece together sections as you have time, enjoying both the process and the end result.
Take a Bath
While most new moms take quick showers to stay clean and move on to the rest of their routine, taking time for a bath has mental health benefits. A 30-minute hot bath can lessen depression and allow for meditation and deep breathing, which help improve mental health. Including calming scents, such as lavender and sandalwood, can also improve mood and reduce stress.
Reading, exercising, doing puzzles, and taking baths are all at-home activities to improve mental health that you’ll find both relaxing and fun. Taking time for these activities will allow you to better care for yourself, which is essential as a new mom.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
What does your self care routine consist of? Have you ever thought about using a pool for self care? Self care can take many forms, including sleeping, journaling and meditating. Another way you can escape the stresses of life is by swimming in a pool. Not only is swimming a great way to keep your body in shape, but it also has psychological benefits. Keep reading to learn why self care is crucial and how a pool can help with your self care routine.
Why Is Self Care Important?
When people think of self care, pampering may come to mind. Some might even think it’s a selfish practice. However, this is not the case. Self care is essential for your emotional, physical and mental well-being. Moreover, following a personal care routine has been clinically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety while boosting happiness, energy and concentration. By giving yourself a daily dose of compassion, you’re able to approach work and relationships with a clear, happy mind.
How Can a Pool Aid in Your Self Care Routine?
No matter your age or fitness level, taking a dip in a pool can enhance your wellness. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Whether you access a pool through a local gym, spa, YMCA building or your backyard, here are some ways you can utilize a pool for self care.
This aquatic sport allows for gentle, low-impact, full-body movement. This means that it’s a great form of exercise for anyone. Consider adding the breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and sidestroke to your swimming workout to boost your mood and mental health. The repetitive motion of swimming helps release endorphins in the brain, bringing about a sense of happiness. Overtime, you might also notice that you have better flexibility, more strength and a slimmer waistline.
Water aerobics is a type of resistance training typically done in waist-deep water. This low-impact workout incorporates yoga-inspired movements and breathing techniques to help you release stress and burn calories. It can also help improve heart health, cardiovascular strength and flexibility as well as lessen joint pain.
This is a type of physical therapy that takes place in a pool, usually under the supervision of a trained health care professional. Exercises are performed in water for fitness, relaxation, physical rehabilitation and other therapeutic benefits. Aquatic therapy can help relieve tension that’s caused by stress.
Benefits of Swimming
Sleep better: Swimming slow, calm laps before bedtime can help you get a good night’s rest. This is because it engages your entire physique, as well as relaxes your mind and body.
Build endurance: Taking some laps in a pool is a great workout for your cardiovascular system. Over time, swimming can lead to increased lung capacity and better overall aerobic performance.
Get a healthy glow: This aquatic sport boosts circulation and helps release toxins from the body.
Using a pool and adding swimming to your self care routine has numerous benefits for your mind, body and soul. Remember to start slow and build up your swimming levels at a pace that works for you.
Hillary Rymer is VP of Marketing at Pool Troopers. Raised in Florida, Rymer grew up around swimming pools and even swam for the University of Alabama. She is passionate about pool safety providing backyard freedom to all pool owners.
Staying healthy after childbirth isn’t an easy task because carrying a child changes your body, your mind, and your emotions. The postpartum period can be especially challenging since you are adapting to physical and emotional changes while learning how to care for your little one and dealing with a new reality of motherhood.
Also, you and your partner need to adjust to your new roles as parents and a different family system. From healing after childbirth to sleep deprivation, the first six to eight weeks after giving birth can be overwhelming. During this intense time, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and prioritize proper self-care.
The four tips listed below will help you keep you focus on staying healthy after childbirth.
Your body endures a lot of changes during pregnancy and birth. This is the time to nourish your body with the right food choices. A well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet will give your body the essential ingredients it needs to function properly.
It is not unusual for new mothers to be too tired or busy to skip meals even when they feel hunger. It’s tempting to reach for sugary and fatty foods, especially when you are pushed for time and energy.
Remind yourself that getting proper nutrition is an integral part of staying healthy, particularly if you are breastfeeding since most nutrients your baby needs come from your breast milk.
Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, and stick to lean protein sources and whole-grain foods. Varied, nutritious, and tasty is what you should go for. Having plenty of chopped fresh fruit and vegetables at the reach of your hand will help you stick to a healthy eating regimen.
Keep Up With Your Prenatal Vitamins
After your baby is born, you may benefit from keeping up with your prenatal vitamins, especially if you are breastfeeding. Pregnancy depletes some nutrients in the body, like folate and calcium. And breastfeeding increases your daily recommended dose of many nutrients.
Even with a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet, vitamins are a good way to ensure you meet your recommended intake of critical nutrients and your nutrient stores are replenished. To support your body in restoring the nutrients it might have lost during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend you to take your prenatal vitamins for at least six months postpartum, even if you are not breastfeeding.
In addition to taking supplements, there are more ways to ensure that you’re staying healthy after childbirth. Thanks to medical advances, it’s now possible to collect stem cells at birth and undergo placenta stem cell treatment in case the need arises. This revolutionary treatment shows promising results in dozens of conditions, including heart conditions and kidney failure, so prior to your childbirth, consider placental tissue banking for future medical or therapeutic use.
Take It Easy and Prioritize Rest
Getting rest can be challenging for new mothers, but it is necessary for both physical and mental health. Carrying a baby for nine months puts an enormous strain on the female body, and the act of giving birth can be hard on your body as well.
So, how can you help it recuperate with an infant to take care of? For starters, focus on feeding your baby and taking care of yourself, and ask your loved ones for help. Allow them to take over most responsibilities you used to handle.
If you are struggling with sleep deprivation, developing a regular sleep routine for your newborn will help you both get a good night’s rest. Don’t use the time when your baby sleeps during the day to clean or do other chores. Utilize that time to get some sleep too.
Also, it’s essential not to be stuck in the house all day long. Get outside, even if it’s just for ten minutes a day. It will make a huge difference over time. Fresh air will help both you and baby rest better and that is so important for staying healthy after childbirth.
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
There is still some taboo around birth and postpartum bodies that we need to address and normalize. The aftermath of giving birth often includes weakened pelvic floor muscles. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery affect this group of muscles, tissues, and ligaments significantly.
The bladder leakage is usually temporary, and as you heal, you will probably see improvement, but it may take months to go back to normal. You can speed up the recovery process more quickly with Kegel exercises designed to target pelvic floor muscles. If you are dealing with more severe issues affecting your mental wellbeing, make sure to see a pelvic health therapist.
New moms have a lot on their plate, and a daily self-care routine is a necessity. Ask for help and accept it when offered. Also, remember that even a few minutes here and there can add up during the day and make a difference in your recovery and your health status. Simply prioritize staying healthy after childbirth, both physically and mentally.
Stephen Jones is a freelance writer and a new father. “Becoming a father for the first time is not easy, but it is so much happiness that complicated things are handled in the best way because the baby is the fruit of love and he brings great satisfaction.” Stephen enjoys writing about health, food, nutrition, and children’s health for other parents. “Freelance writing has always been my passion so I combined the two and hopes to be able to share my passion with others!” Check him out on Facebook or Twitter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.