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.
Your baby is a beautiful new addition to your life. At night, your baby needs lots of sleep though, and so do you. There is often a great deal of disagreement between parents when it comes to the best ways for babies to sleep. Inexperienced parents are often desperate for guidance in this area, and experienced parents have a variety of different tips to offer. Here are just a few baby and newborn sleeping tips that may help you to develop a better sleep routine if you are currently struggling as a sleep-deprived new parent.
Develop a Regular Nighttime Sleep Routine
A regular sleep routine is important for people of all ages looking to improve their sleep habits. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time each evening or at least around the same time each evening. You can also regularly give your baby a bath before bedtime, or develop other regular routines that will help your child to realize that it is bedtime and wind down for the night. One of the best baby and newborn sleeping tips is to start getting them into a good routine from the moment you bring baby home.
Use Relaxing Music to Help Your Baby Sleep
Relaxing sounds and relaxing music are easy to find on music and video streaming apps. White noise machines and radios also offer options for a gentle sound that may help a baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. Research has been done about classical music and baby development and experts on the topic generally suggest that it is a good idea to expose a newborn to classical music, especially at bedtime.
Co-sleep Safely with Your Baby
There are many different options for new parents to select from when it comes to choosing a newborn baby bed. A crib is a classic option, but some parents find that co-sleeping helps their baby to sleep through the night better. There are beds for newborn babies that can allow both of you to sleep safely and securely without any worries if this is an option that interests you.
Breastfeed at Nighttime
A hungry baby will not be able to sleep through the night well in most cases. If you breastfeed your child, it is a good idea to do so soon before putting your newborn to bed. A full tummy will prevent him or her from waking up as quickly as to scream for another nighttime breastfeeding. The physical closeness while breastfeeding will also relax your baby. Even if you do not regularly or exclusively breastfeed throughout the day, you may want to try it at night to help with your baby’s sleep.
Read to Your Baby or Tell Stories
It is never too early to read to your baby. Babies and young children learn by example and early reading habits are best encouraged by reading to your baby at a young age. The sound of your voice is comfortable, familiar, and relaxing for your baby as well. Even if they do not yet understand the content of books and stories, these things can help them to fall asleep at night feeling positive and relaxed. Be sure to read in a gentle, calm, and even tone of voice so that you do not startle or wake a baby that is starting to doze off.
Avoid Exposing Your Baby to Digital Screen Time and other Stimuli Before Bed
It is generally considered a bad idea to put your newborn baby in front of the TV in order to get them to fall asleep. Too much screen time does not benefit the neurological or other development of a newborn baby. It is a better idea to use other tactics like calming music, gentle massage, and story time.
Joyce Kimber is an entrepreneurial writer. She always finds new ways to improve her work performance and productivity. Connect with her on Twitter via @joyce_kimber91.
This past year has upended many aspects of our day-to-day life, from our work to our routines of seeing friends and family on a regular basis. The uncertainty and stress, along with constantly changing news, has caused the anxiety of this past year to manifest itself in different ways for many of us. From increased online shopping to late-night doom-scrolling, many people have been unprepared to live in an extended period of trauma.
One of the ways that this uncertainty has manifested itself is anxiety-induced insomnia, especially for those that have never had sleeping issues before. This phenomenon, also known as “Coronasomnia,” is the persistence of sleep issues (such as trouble staying asleep or falling asleep) due to pandemic-related stressors. This includes everything that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered, including:
The safety of loved ones
Your own health and safety
Loss of sleep, especially due to anxiety-related factors, can further disrupt areas of your life. Fatigue and disrupted sleep schedules can impact workplace productivity, and can lead to increased feelings of depression.
Though there’s no cure for anxiety or anxiety-related insomnia, there are a number of things you can do to try and get a handle on your sleeping habits to hopefully alleviate your anxiety symptoms at bedtime. Committing to healthy bedtime habits can help you get into a routine for bedtime, that will hopefully keep anxiety at bay and let your body know it’s time for sleep.
Here are a few ways you can prioritize sleep to keep coronasomnia away when you should be catching some zzz’s.
1. Read, Don’t Tweet
This is for the people that pop onto Twitter or Instagram “just for five minutes” then end up scrolling away for three hours. We all know that blue light has harmful effects on our eyes and can make it hard for us to sleep, so fight the temptation entirely and grab a book instead of your phone. Reading is a great way to relax at the end of the day and lets your brain gradually shut down and get ready for bed.
If you need another hobby or something cute to remind you to read, try a coloring page bookmark to relax you at the end of a long day and give you something to look forward to every time you open your book.
2. Move Your Body
It may sound cliché, but it’s true — moving your body and/or stretching before bed can help tucker you out for the day, as well as help you get better sleep altogether. If you’re the type that gets hyper or more energized after working out in the evening, try shifting it to working out earlier in the day, or just by doing a few stretches before getting in bed for the night.
3. Stay Away from Alcohol and Caffeine
Especially in times of uncertainty, it can be easy to turn to a little liquid courage to ease our minds and take some of the weight off our shoulders, leading to a bad case of coronasomnia. Avoiding caffeine is a no-brainer, as this gives you energy (which is likely the last thing you want if you’ve been having some sleep issues). While alcohol can make you sleepy, it’s also been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.
If you want something besides water before bed, try a calming cup of Sleepytime herbal tea with no caffeine. To spice it up, you can add some printable “positivi-tea” labels to the end of your tea bag so you’re greeted with a happy reminder every time you take a sip.
4. Write It Out
Stress and anxiety can eat you alive, and keeping it all bottled up is one of the worst things you can do. If you find your mind racing and heart pounding when you should be counting sheep, you may want to think about journaling each night before bed. Studies have shown that journaling can be good for mental health, as you’re no longer keeping everything inside that’s causing you stress or anxiety.
Try looking up some journaling prompts if you don’t know where to start, and if you want to try it out before buying a journal and committing try some printable bedtime journal sheets. These can be printed as many times as you need, so grab a pen and start writing — you may be surprised how much better you feel when you can get all your thoughts on paper instead of leaving them trapped inside your head.
Sleep issues are no joke, especially during such a turbulent time as the one we’re in. Through prioritizing your mental health and doing what you can to get into a sleep routine, you’re doing the best thing for you to keep sleep issues or coronasomnia at bay.
Emily Borst is a digital content creator who creates compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in writing has helped her cover unique topics, including sharing her passion for health and wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas.
If you were not getting enough sleep before having kids, it likely hasn’t become easier since. No matter what stage or situation you are in, you worry about your children. When you have kids, your priorities change, and you may find yourself ruminating more often before you fall asleep each night. Poor sleep can interfere with your way of life. Take stock of the signs you may need more sleep that can be noticed by everyone around you.
Your appearance may suffer if you’re not getting enough sleep. While general signs of a lack of self-care could be a sign of depression or another health condition, you may need to get more sleep at night to improve the look of your eyes and skin. The most common physical signs of sleep deprivation are:
Dark undereye circles
Red, puffy eyes
Being Dependent on Your Alarm Clock
No one enjoys being startled awake—especially mothers of newborns. Most people need at least seven hours each night, and if you’re a friend of the snooze button, you may require more. Try to find your sweet spot by going to bed half an hour earlier each night until you wake up feeling refreshed. Some chores can wait until tomorrow.
Of course, no one likes lying awake at night either. It is normal to take 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep, but if something—such as pain or the temperature of the room—is causing you to stay awake, you may need a new mattress. Your mattress can greatly affect your sleep, and the same style doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
Getting Sick Often
Good sleep keeps your immune system in check. If you experience periods of high stress followed by dips in your general health—such as a cold or triggers to a preexisting health condition—it could be because you’re not getting enough sleep. One of the simplest things you can do to improve your immune system and avoid illness is to get good sleep.
Drinking Excess Caffeine
A cup of joe is a good way to begin the day. If you’re a postpartum mother who loves Starbucks or your local coffee shop, you’ve likely been looking forward to the day when you can get back to your favorite drinks. During the months of your pregnancy, your tolerance to caffeine may have decreased, so drinking the same amount as you did before you were pregnant may be adding to what is keeping you up at night.
Pro Tip: Doctors consider it safe for breastfeeding moms to drink two to three cups of coffee each day, but that still might be too much caffeine if you want to get a good night’s rest.
Losing Your Focus
The last thing any mother wants is to make a mistake involving their baby. During sleep, the brain processes information it picked up throughout the day. If the brain doesn’t get enough time for this process, it won’t reset and prepare you for the next day. Therefore, you might be more likely to hold on to things if you’re not getting enough sleep.
Other focus-related complications that can stem from sleep deprivation include:
Trouble completing tasks
Difficulty making decisions
Making poor decisions
Poor mental and physical health are not necessarily signs of sleep deprivation. If you have switched your mattress and given yourself adequate time to sleep at night, you could have a more serious reason for your sleep troubles. If you are noticing these five signs you may need more sleep, talk to your doctor to avoid unnecessary sickness and brain fog.
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.
Between your daily responsibilities and your responsibilities as a mother, it can be tough keeping up with it all. Typically, one of the first things mothers sacrifice is their sleep so that they can make enough time to fulfill every need. We understand this lifestyle takes a toll, so let us help you by showing you how to improve your sleep schedule so you can feel as rested and energized as possible.
Schedule a Bedtime and Wake Up Time
Much like how your baby or child has a bedtime, you should also set one for yourself. Keeping a strict bedtime will condition your body to be ready for sleep at that exact time, which will make it easier for you to settle into bed and fall asleep. Similarly, you’ll want to set an alarm and pick an exact wake up time for you to get up on a consistent basis.
On mornings where you have extra time, it may seem like a good idea to try and get some extra sleep. Although tempting, you want to stick to your schedule. Oversleeping will make you feel groggy and just as tired as when you went to bed, whereas having a set wake time will regulate your body to feel energized once you’re up and ready to go.
Fast food may be tempting for its convenience with your busy schedule, but processed junk food is high in sugars and carbohydrates. This will keep your body abuzz when trying to sleep and you’ll likely spend more time twisting and turning throughout the night. On the other hand, you don’t want to go to bed hungry, otherwise your body will be far more concerned with eating than sleeping.
Learn How To Get Back To Sleep
One of the greatest challenges for some mothers is having to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to their babies and then trying to get back to sleep. If you have trouble going back to sleep, the best way to improve your sleep schedule is by making it about relaxation instead of sleeping. If you focus only on sleeping, you’ll become impatient and fixate on what’s making you uncomfortable. Instead, do a quiet activity for a little while until your body begins to feel worn out once more. Your bed will feel incredible once you get back into it. You can also look into natural sleep aids to help if you’re still struggling with sleeping.
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.
The term “mental health” unfortunately has a stigma associated with it, and is scary to most people. Mental illnesses are very common today. Many people need to consult a psychiatrist, but few recognize their needs and look for treatment. Recent research data finds that an estimated 20% of the world population today suffers from some kind of mental disorder like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression.
Most people don’t seek treatment for depression. There are various causes behind mental health issues such as chemical imbalances and stress. A proper psychiatric evaluation can help identify the problem, its causes, and the various treatment options that you need to rectify it. Science has made great new strides in the field of psychology and has brought better treatment options that could benefit everybody.
Many people with mental health issues refrain from seeking help out of embarrassment or not are quite sure about who to see. It is important to be able to find out and recognize when someone might need help. There are a number of signs that indicate a need for help. You may want to consult a psychiatrist to determine a treatment plan and you may have to undergo therapy a number of times to be fully cured.
Inability to Control Emotions
People have moments or times when they are angry, sad, or irritated, and these are normal emotions to have these feelings in life. However, past cases find that they need to visit the Best Psychiatry Hospital or consult a psychiatrist to reap its benefits, if and when someone has excessive emotions that they find unable to get under control. A new triggering situation can be prevented by learning to effectively manage emotions.
Changes in Sleep Patterns
A lot can be said about a person’s mental health from their sleep quality and sleep time. People with mental health issues find themselves having trouble sleeping. They may wake up too many times throughout the night, feel trouble falling asleep or wake up too early. People with such issues do not often get the restorative sleep they need as they tend to spend less time in deep stages of sleep. A lack of proper sleep can make it difficult to cope with mental illness symptoms. Therefore, this results in the development of a constant negative feedback loop. Consult a psychiatrist at any time if you need help so you can be back to full health soon.
People with mental health issues often turn to drugs and alcohol addiction to help cope with their illness. It is a red flag if someone needs it on a regular basis and does not find themselves happy without the help of drugs or alcohol, irrespective of whether it is to deal with stress or help relax. This also results in addiction issues. Start therapy immediately and get treatment for depression if you are battling substance addiction so you can be back to full health soon.
Changes in school or work performance
Another sign that spells out the need for a psychiatric test is if an adolescent is suddenly missing class frequently or struggling academically. This is also true for people (adults) who may begin to find it difficult to concentrate on work tasks or begin to miss deadlines many times. Consult a psychiatrist if you are encountering these symptoms.
Withdrawal from social situations
People suffering from excessive anxiety, grief, or severe depression may want to avoid social situations. This could be due to difficulties they feel and face in relating to others or the inability to control emotions. If you experience these kinds of symptoms you need to consult a psychiatrist and get yourself diagnosed.
Mood changes are a significant part of any illness dealing with psychology. They may include borderline personality disorders and other medical problems. Psychotherapy is the main way to deal with and treat mental disorders like personality disorders.
Unexplained Physical Illnesses
Physical and mental health and illness are very closely related. Seeking help from a therapist or a psychiatrist after you find them is vital if you find yourself having recurring physical ailments without a specific cause. Symptoms typically include headaches, vague aches, and stomach pains. Therapists can slowly help you overcome these problems with the help of therapy.
Excessive Worry, Sadness, or Anxiety
Consult a psychiatrist or a therapist if you feel worried constantly or feel an excess of grief. It is also very crucial to get help when someone has suicidal thoughts. A lot of people today find the processing of new grief due to the loss of someone they love difficult. A therapist knows the psychology behind grief and will be able to help cope with the loss of someone you love through therapy. You need to search and consult a psychiatrist if you are struggling with grief today.
Temper Tantrums or Frequent Nightmares
If you find your child or a person having frequent nightmares or being unable to control tempers on a regular basis, it may be a telltale sign to consult a psychiatrist. Younger children often act emotions out behaviorally because talking about emotions is difficult for them. Bullying by friends at school could be a reason for this. If left untreated, this could result in personality disorders later in life. Have your children see a therapist or psychology doctor at the closest psychology center. You could find and have their school counselor or the Best Psychiatrist give them therapy, and get them properly diagnosed if they are exhibiting these signs today.
Relationships and family issues
Whether family, personal or work-related, relationships have their ups and downs. While relationships can be some of life’s best things, they can also be a source of problems and stress in life. An unfulfilling sex life /love life, a loss at work, irreconcilable differences, and other issues play a role here. Today, family therapy and couples therapy are known to help in these situations and get back to normal. Talking to a psychiatrist after you find them, whether in a group therapy setting or individual therapy, can help you get diagnosed and resolve issues that may form even in the strongest relationships in life. There is no shame in opening up to a doctor for psychiatric treatment today if you are a victim of sex violence or lead an unfulfilling sex life.
Irrational fears can involve a lot of things, including the fear that someone is watching you or following you. It also includes the extreme fear of situations (eg – social situations, flying, etc.) and objects (eg- spiders, dogs, etc.). These fears can also become obsessive in nature, leading to feeling intrusive and persistent thoughts that create significant anxiety. Irrational fears almost always lead to extreme or irrational behavior. They can make a normal functioning life almost impossible and result in emotional paralysis. If you are experiencing irrational fears or any of the signs, consult a psychiatrist to talk to and start therapy today. Soon you can be back to full health.
Past or Recent Trauma
Trauma is life-changing and can take a very serious toll on your psyche. You will find unwanted images and memories are often branded into your brain that seemingly unrelated things can trigger. Flashbacks, nightmares, disturbing images, feeling severe anxiety, and deeply painful emotions are just a few of the ways feeling trauma can make life very challenging. Therapy is known to help in these situations and get back to normal.
Common types of trauma include being assaulted, almost dying in an accident, witnessing something graphically tragic, an abusive family life being in combat, surviving a horrific natural disaster, or being sexually or physically abused as an adult or child. This can result in tendencies of self-harm and substance addiction. Consult a psychiatristor therapist for help immediately if you are having trouble processing grief and trauma, or if the signs above show up today.
Troubled Relationship with Food and Eating
Often combined with a distorted body image that is triggered by comments of friends and peers, this can be one of the signs of an eating disorder. Eating disorders can cause a whole world of problems for you. Not only do they unnecessarily consume a lot of your time and energy, but they can also fatally affect your health. Talking to a therapist will help you get back on your feet and benefit you in many ways.
Find the right help
The list above covers a broad range of signs of potential mental disorders today. Other things that should be considered seriously include unusual perceptual experiences, a long pattern of relationship difficulties, abusive behavior, low self-esteem, and problems in processing grief. While talking to friends and family is always encouraged, only a specialist in psychology will get you and be able to tell you what to do. There is no shame in seeking treatment from a professional about unfulfilled sex life or being a victim of sex assault. Speak up, find a therapist, and start therapy today. Soon you can be back to full health.
Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out
In recent times, there has been a lot of new development in the realm of mental health treatment. Science has made the accessibility of new treatment more affordable and faster. Find a local therapist today and build a therapy relationship that is communicative, open, and prosperous. Therapy is all about optimizing your mental health and helping you live life better. Think of therapy as a self-help science activity that will do wonders for your personality and make you ready to take on the world better and faster. Under therapist supervision, you will be able to get diagnosed for all sorts of psychological disorders.
Science and research data says the center of the problem behind many psychological illnesses lies in not being able to talk to one’s friends and family. Search and find therapy for every budget on this list. Talk to your family and friends and ask for help. New research tells us that personality can shift in response to therapy. Simply being able to get their problems out in open helps many people improve their mental clarity and improve their personality. A therapist can help you get the most out of life. Find the best psychiatric help center in your area, and consult with the best psychiatrists for depression treatment options.
Martin is a Content Writer and loves to blog about health-related articles particularly about health care. He enjoys learning and He specializes in guest blogging, blog publishing, and social media. He is an avid reader and loves writing impeccable content pertaining to health care.
Women need to practice self care because they take on a lot. Whether it’s a mom juggling the kids’ school and activities or a college graduate in the thick of their thesis paper, life can be quite exhausting. All of this overthinking and overworking can have a real impact on our mental health. That’s why every woman needs a day to themselves from time to time.
To get you started, here are six essential self care tips for that special day all to yourself!
Get Good Sleep
Sleep deprivation can have multiple compounding effects on the body. So without it, our bodies fail to repair damaged tissue, metabolize hormones, and even create memories or simply retain lessons learned. So, while women are stressed at work or worried about their kids in some way, it’s hard to shake it off before heading to bed.
To combat this, one essential self-care tip is to change your bedtime routine. Avoid foods with caffeine and sugar and, instead, drink some soothing chamomile tea. Another nasty habit women tend to have before bed? Checking their phone and watching television. For many reasons, it’s important to put these devices away or turn them off and on silent. Not only do they stimulate your brain when you should really be unwinding, but the blue lights screw with our melatonin hormone, which, in turn, confuses our circadian rhythms and disrupts proper REM. Instead, read a self-care book or write in a gratitude journal.
Other than your phone, keep bedroom lighting to a minimum to achieve proper sleep. Use blackout curtains and avoid using a nightlight, even in conjoining bathrooms. To get the best rest of your life, it should be perfectly pitch dark!
Be Mindful of What You Digest
This goes for food and everything that goes along with it—like nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food is such a crucial role in how we feel, mentally and physically, and it can be affected on a daily basis. Reach for high-nutrient foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and brassicas (think broccoli and Brussels sprouts). The best way to be more mindful of what you digest is to know precisely what your body is absorbing. When you eat fast foods or takeout on a hurried day, you rarely stop to question what’s in it or from where it came. Instead, make sure you get the proper nutrients by creating a healthy meal at home, for family dinners or to carry into work for lunch.
Even if you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, you can have your local supermarket deliver weekly produce and ingredients straight to your doorstep. Not to mention, there is practically an endless variety of boxed meal delivery services from which to choose. Supplements can also improve our physical and mental health enormously. While it’s always best to first consult your physician or nutritionist, several supplements that could be beneficial are Vitamin D3, iron, omega-3, and even digestive enzymes.
Fresh air does more good for your body than you realize. So, it’s essential to remember to take a step outside every now and then. Seasonal Affective Disorder rears its ugly head in the winter as we tend to stay indoors, plan for the stressful holidays, and experience nothing but a cloudy gray haze. But it’s still important to get some sun and nourishing Vitamin D, which can be a real mood-booster.
You don’t have to go for a run—just a leisurely stroll in the park is enough. And, in doing so, you will also be getting some physical exercise, which will help clear your head and allow you to sleep sounder and deeper.
Organize Your Home and Thoughts
Sometimes, even the clutter we leave lying around can affect our mental state. It’s important to reassess the home every so often, declutter, and organize. Whether that means donating boxes to secondhand stores or gifting items to friends and family, tidying up your living space can leave you feeling refreshed. And that, in turn, can improve your mental clarity. Brightening up your space with new home treasures and décor can drastically change the look and feel of your home, bringing you a refreshing new outlook to your day to day!
When it comes to your thoughts, those need to be organized too, but in a different way. There are several ways to bring clarity to the mind. You can create lists as a way of “brain-dumping,” which can center or ground you, leaving you less overwhelmed about all the tiny menial tasks, and even big ones, too! Here’s a fantastic brain dump exercise to help guide you.
Slightly different than a brain dump, one essential self-care tip is to create a gratitude journal. It seems simple enough, but, by acknowledging the small moments and accomplishments you feel grateful for, you can let go of regrets and learn not to be so hard on yourself. You can start with morning affirmations and end with what you enjoyed about the day.
Meditate and Learn to Breathe Again
Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole range of mental and even physical health issues. However, according to some studies, meditation has been proven to alter our heart rate and blood pressure, reducing these stress-driven health issues.
And this lies in the relationship between our diaphragm and our sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. Breathing exercises that accompany meditation engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which essentially tamps down the “fight or flight” response that chronic stress brings. And, by breathing through the diaphragm, women can trick the mind and body into this parasympathetic response. Here are some beginner tips for developing a meditation practice.
Create a Self-Care Reminder
Every once in a while, a woman needs a day to themselves. And, with our hectic lives, it’s important to pencil it in, guard it, and cherish it. Make it a regimen and schedule it once a month, at least. But, until that day, also be sure to practice a little self-care in your everyday routine.
Author Bio: Carolyn Eberhart serves as the Digital Marketing Manager for Natural Life. Carolyn oversees all digital marketing efforts relating to Paid Social Media and Email Marketing remotely from Redwood City, CA. During the week she is passionate about her career, cooking, exercising and hanging out with her family and on Sundays you can find her cheering on the Buffalo Bills!
It can be simple to incorporate self care each day of the week, as long as you have a plan.
As a parent, the days are long and filled with taking care of the needs of everyone else but ourselves. We hear all this talk about self care but it sounds overwhelming, time consuming and impossible. It’s easy to start but hard to keep it up.
So try to set a simple self care goal each day of the week. Here’s a sample plan for self care that will help you take care of your body’s physical and mental needs, without requiring a lot of commitment.
Try these 7 days of self care this week, plus download a printable tracker so that you can keep up with it!
Monday: Move Your Body
No one likes Mondays. The weekend is over, everyone is groggy and the boring, mundane tasks begin all over again. You’re going to need to pump up your energy levels in order to make it through the rest of the week. Coffee can only do so much.
So today, make an effort to move your body in some way.
Clear a spot on the living room floor and do some simple stretches. Yoga is an excellent way to move your body, and there are so many different benefits of yoga! Dance to at least one entire song. Plank for 30 seconds. Do some crunches or lunges or jumping jacks. Go for a walk around the block or ride your bike.
It doesn’t have to be a full workout, just move your body! Exercise is a great form of self care and will boost your mood for the rest of the day, if not the week.
Tuesday: Take an Epic Shower
You’ll probably need to shower several times throughout the week and if you’re a busy mom like me then they’re probably really quick and you’re listening for a kid the entire time. But hey, that’s motherhood, what can you do?
Reserve some time today to take one, epic, glorious shower.
Pick a time when someone else is watching the kids (TV shows and iPads count) even if it means you need to get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Crank up the hot water and USE ALL THE PRODUCTS! Mask your face, deep condition your hair, exfoliate, moisturize and shave your entire leg and not just the bottom 1/4 that shows when you’re not wearing socks.
The rest of the week may go by in a blur and you won’t have this chance again, so make it count. A hot shower and some pampering can do wonders for your mood, mental health and skin!
Wednesday: Clean out ONE closet
…or drawer, or cupboard or room. But be careful not to get carried away with this one. I don’t know about you but I have several closets and drawers filled with all kinds of junk. And I know that moving junk from one closet means I’ll throw it into another closet full of junk and then feel obligated to clean that one out too.
You only get to do ONE.
Next week, you can tackle on another one. Start small, like that junk drawer in the kitchen or the cupboard underneath your bathroom sink. You can make a list of all the areas you want to tackle and scratch one off each week.
You might not think of this one as self care but I promise you will find mental clarity and a sense of peace once it’s done. These areas are always at the back of our minds, and the longer we procrastinate them, the more unproductive and lazy we feel. This sense of unaccomplishment can affect our self image and confidence. It’s amazing how proud we can feel just by cleaning out ONE closet.
Thursday: Get Creative
Tapping into your inner creativity is a great way to boost your mood and help keep your mind sharp. If you don’t think of yourself as a creative person, then maybe you just haven’t found your strength yet. Creativity comes in so many different forms.
Today, use your skills to create something.
You can do some type of craft, paint, color or draw a picture. Try starting a longer term project like a paint by numbers kit. Make something out of salt-dough or paper. Knit, sew, crochet or string some beads into jewelry. Bake something delicious or try a new recipe.
Kids love to be involved in these kinds of activities, but moms are often busy cleaning up spills and helping with supplies. This time, make sure that you sit down, embrace the mess and get your hands dirty. Week after week, you’ll find that your skills will improve, and your mind will be beaming with possibilities.
Fridays aren’t the same as they used to be before kids. Friday nights were something to look forward to, and we’d be checking in with all our friends to find out where the party was at. They’re not nearly as exciting anymore but that doesn’t mean we have to stop socializing.
Make it a point to socialize with a friend in some way today.
Get dressed up, do your hair and makeup and head out for a girl’s night, or date night. Invite a fellow mom over for a play date, or have a sweat pants and taco night in with your bestie. If that all sounds too exhausting then just call up a friend and chat. You can still socialize without having to leave the house if you need to.
Our social connection needs to be expanded beyond Facebook and Instagram. Our mental health suffers when we keep ourselves locked away from the outside world. We need to see other people and have real, human connections. It’s good for our mood to hear another person’s voice and feel their touch. Laughing with friends is like group self-care!
Saturday: Go Outdoors
Finally the weekend is here! What better day than a Saturday afternoon to spend some time outdoors? Weekends tend to be busy for young families, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit in some fresh air time.
At some point today, do an outdoor activity.
This could be as simple as sipping your morning coffee on the patio. Or you could plan this day in advance and head out on a camping trip or hike. Be spontaneous and take the kids for a picnic at the park. Yard work and gardening are great ways to be productive outdoors. Even if the weather is cold, bundle yourself up and spend at least 10 – 15 minutes outdoors in the fresh air.
Being outdoors is considered ecotherapy and it has amazing mood boosting benefits for everyone. There are even several health benefits of being outdoors. You should try to spend some time outside every single day. And we’re talking about self care, so relax while you’re out there. Don’t feel obligated to do something strenuous or physical. Napping outdoors is amazing, just make sure you’re in the shade.
At the end of a long and busy week (or beginning of one, depending on how you look at it) there is one thing that is essential to mental health and self care. You need to get some proper sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the most dangerous factors when it comes to mental health, so don’t ever underestimate it.
Make sure to get in some extra sleep today.
You can sleep in, take an afternoon nap or go to bed early. Try your best to work your sleep schedule around whatever else you have going on today, but make it a priority. If you’re struggling with insomnia, there are things you can do to help you sleep better. Use a weighted blanket or try diffusing some essential oils while you sleep.
You’re going to need to keep your strength up to get through another week of motherhood and if you’re running on fumes, you won’t do any good. Sleep is so incredibly important for maintaining our mental health, especially for moms suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety. Sleeping in is not a luxury or reserved only for Mother’s Day – it’s a necessity!
Postpartum depression symptoms can be triggered by different factors, making the recovery process much longer than it needs to be.
With a proper treatment plan, postpartum depression can go into remission. But postpartum depression triggers are internal or environment factors that can cause symptoms to flare up again. These can continue to affect mothers for years after the postpartum period.
It can be frustrating to battle symptoms of postpartum depression for years, and it might even feel like it will never go away. Identifying your specific triggers can help you to avoid them, which means you’ll be less likely to experience a postpartum depression relapse.
Here are some of the most common postpartum depression triggers to watch out for.
Our brains need sleep and there isn’t an acceptable substitution for it. No amount of caffeine, medications, diet changes or exercise can replicate what sleep does for our bodies. If our brains don’t get the chance to reset each night, they don’t function very well during the day.
Sleep deprivation is an especially big factor for postpartum moms. Babies have much shorter sleep cycles than adults do. This means that a mother’s brain isn’t getting the chance to fully “reboot” because it’s constantly being interrupted by a hungry baby. So it’s no surprise that sleep deprivation is one of the most common postpartum depression triggers.
Sleep deprivation is also not synonymous with the postpartum period. It can occur at any time in our lives. It can be caused by a baby’s sleep regression or teething, illness, stress, interrupted schedules or sudden changes, anxiety or even daylight savings time.
In order to get the most undisturbed sleep possible:
Enlist the help of your spouse or a family member for a night shift or two.
Get your baby into a good sleep routine, which can help you avoid sleep deprivation in the long run.
Breastfeeding is another one of the more common postpartum depression triggers. In fact, many mothers report feeling more stressed about breastfeeding than they did about labor and delivery. Breastfeeding can be a struggle and it can cause pain, frustration, shame and embarrassment.
Mothers who struggle with breastfeeding can feel guilty, unworthy, judged or end up feeling resentful and full of regret. All of these feelings certainly contribute to symptoms of postpartum depression. But some mothers found that breastfeeding eased their symptoms and helped them to bond with their babies. Each woman’s experience is so different, but if this is a trigger for you, know that you are not alone.
Education can be key to successful breastfeeding. While it’s promoted as “all-natural,” it doesn’t come naturally to the majority of mothers. Consider hiring a lactation consultant, or take an online breastfeeding course from home. If all else fails, know that it’s perfectly okay to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula for the sake of your mental health.
When we think of pregnancy and childbirth, we associate it with some form of pain. This is often thought of as a rite of passage and many mothers spend a lot of time preparing for it. But in some cases, the pain of childbirth can trigger unexpected feelings and suppressed memories.
A painful delivery or recovery can be one of the first postpartum depression triggers, but pain is a trigger that can linger long after the recovery period. When we experience pain in another form, such as menstrual cramping, pelvic pain, back pain or migraines, it can trigger the symptoms of postpartum depression again.
This trigger can be especially difficult to avoid due to the fact that pain comes in so many different forms. Identifying that pain is a trigger is a good first step. Experiment with different pain treatment options, such as CBD oil, and try to deal with the root cause of any chronic pain, in order to avoid being triggered long term.
The weight issue is another trigger that affects expectant and new mothers. During pregnancy, a woman can gain 20 – 40 lbs in the span of 9 months. And then immediately following childbirth, her body can look unrecognizable. There will be pressure to lose all the extra weight as fast as possible. She may also have to deal with a c-section scar, stretch marks, loose skin and sagging breasts.
These weight and body changes can have a significant effect on our mental health. Even if body image was not an issue for us prior to becoming a mother, postpartum depression can take a hit on our self esteem.
While maintaining a healthy weight is important, embracing our new bodies is equally as important to keep weight changes from triggering postpartum depression symptoms.
The fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy and in the postpartum period are completely normal. They are responsible for the extreme mood swings, weepiness and other symptoms referred to as “the baby blues.” It’s not unusual for hormones to also take all the blame when it comes to postpartum depression, however we know that there’s much more to it than that.
Certain hormonal imbalances can be postpartum depression triggers. Some women find their symptoms are triggered upon the return of their menstrual cycle or with another pregnancy. Certain illnesses can also cause hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid problems or diabetes.
Marriage and relationship problems can begin or get worse following the birth of a child and they are a major cause of stress and anxiety for both parents. Postpartum mothers are extra sensitive, irritable and sometimes prone to rage. They can be extremely difficult to communicate and reason with.
In addition to the lack of communication and mood swings, it can be really difficult to open up about all of these scary thoughts and feelings. Instead, women tend to shut down, retreat away from their spouses, and have difficulty with intimacy.
Despite how hard it might be, try your best to talk to your loved one about what you’re feeling. Getting an official diagnosis may help you both to understand what’s going on. Couples therapy is also a good option to help break down the barriers.
Grief is a major depression trigger that can affect postpartum moms. Pregnancy and welcoming a new baby are symbolized by joy, happiness and new life. It can be shocking when these actions cause an opposite effect, but sometimes they do.
A mother who previously suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child may be triggered by grief upon giving birth to a healthy baby. Postpartum depression symptoms may also be triggered when a woman thinks of someone who previously passed away and isn’t present to meet their child.
Grief is a part of life and there’s really no avoiding it. If you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, talk about them openly. Talk to your baby about them, look at an album full of pictures or share stories about them. Try not to keep all that pain inside, and instead, memorialize the ones you have loved and lost.
Special occasions can actually be quite difficult for a mother with postpartum depression. Certain dates or holidays might stir up traumatic memories that are postpartum depression triggers. Plus, social anxiety and the desire to withdraw from conversation are common symptoms of postpartum depression. This makes it very hard to get together in large crowds, even if they are all people whom you love.
As these dates approach, try to be proactive about your condition. Take the day off work, scale down the festivities or plan a vacation instead. Changing your memories about that day might be hard, but not impossible.
Cold weather and rainy days can make anyone feel depressed but it’s much deeper than that. Depression thrives when a person feels isolated. And there’s nothing better at keeping a mom with a new baby locked up indoors than some bad weather. Hot weather can also encourage a new or expecting mother to seek out the cool air conditioning instead of a muggy back yard.
All this time spent indoors can deprive a mother of enough fresh air and sunshine. Combined with the other effects of seasonal affective disorder, the weather changes should never be underestimated as postpartum depression triggers.
Keeping a journal or mood tracker can help to identify if your postpartum depression symptoms are being triggered by the weather. If they are, then there are several easy therapies and common practices you can do to help avoid it.
Money problems are high on the list of depression triggers. For parents, adjusting to the financial strain of adding a baby to the budget can be difficult. In addition to the cost of diapers and daycare, a mother has to battle with the financial stress of staying at home instead of working – or feeling guilty for working instead of being home with baby.
Changes in finances are just one of the many overwhelming adjustments that a new mother will need to make, and it can be a big trigger for postpartum depression.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to prepare for the financial stress prior to giving birth. Meet with a financial advisor and make a plan for the future. To save some money, research which baby products are worth investing in, and which ones you can probably do without. And most importantly, stick to a budget to keep financial stress under control.
Changes in Treatment
To help fight all of these different postpartum depression triggers there are several different treatment options available. The variety of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications available means that you should be able to find one that works well for you, even if you have to try out a few first. Considering online therapy? Check out this detailed review of online therapy companies to help with your decision.
But beware when making changes to your treatment plan. Sudden changes to any of your medications can trigger symptoms of postpartum depression again. The same goes for stopping therapy sessions or another supplemental form of treatment. If money is the issue for stopping, you can find out more information about the cost of online therapy here.
Consider weaning yourself off slowly instead. If you plan on switching to a different medication, slowly wean off of the first one and gradually begin the second one. Obviously, speak to your doctor about any and all changes in your treatment plan. And make sure to be open about the symptoms you are experiencing, so that you can find the treatment that works for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So make a shopping trip alone and don’t you dare wander into the kids section!
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.
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.
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.