Postpartum depression has been heavily criticized for a long time. The signs of it were dismissed as baby blues and were not given the attention they deserved. Fortunately, there is now enough awareness on the issue that the stigma has lessened and it isn’t considered unnatural anymore. Celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen have opened up about their battle with postpartum depression, which gave the much-needed push for mothers to address their mental health after pregnancy.
Depression is not something that can be ignored and it needs to be tended to as soon as possible. Postpartum depression is just as grave, and the symptoms include anxiety, abnormal appetite, guilt, hopelessness, panic attacks, wild mood swings, insomnia, and even hallucinations in some extreme cases. Thankfully, it is curable with the right treatment. Here are eight ways to fight it.
1. Take a break
Having a baby in a huge responsibility. You have a tiny, sensitive thing to be taken care of. Diaper changing, feeding, soothing, putting the baby to bed — all of this can be exhausting, leaving you little to no time for yourself and adding to your stress levels, all of which takes a toll on your mental health. So, adjust your schedule and make some time for yourself. Sit back, relax, and have a warm mug of herbal tea. Go for a walk with your dog. Call an old friend and have a heart to heart talk. Although seemingly little, these small things can have a big impact.
2. Ask for Help
You know, your friends and family are always there to help you. Think about the number of times they have told you to call them up if you need something. Don’t feel shy or needy to ask them for help. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, ask your friends to come over or visit them. Sometimes, just the presence of a person who is willing to help can make you feel better and reassure you that everything is going to be okay.
3. Indulge Yourself
Yes, you barely have time to breathe with all the new responsibilities. But don’t brood over how tiring your schedule has become. Instead, try tweaking things a bit so you can find some leisure. Indulge yourself in activities you love, be it painting, reading, or napping (no judgments there!). These things will give you some peace and also a clear head.
Do you love Netflix? (Who doesn’t?) Do you binge watch those shows all day every day while eating tubs of ice cream? If yes, it’s time to rearrange things. We get it — it’s your guilty pleasure, but it is not healthy. Set a timetable. Follow it. Try to get eight hours of sleep every day. Eat healthily. Replace spicy Cheetos with vegetables and fresh fruit. Detox your life and you’ll be amazed by the difference.
5. Allow Yourself to Feel
People can be quite judgemental and hurtful with their comments. You have a baby. How can you even be depressed? is what you may hear from the crowd, but turn a deaf ear to them. Know these feelings of gloom, anxiety, and stress are natural responses to hormonal chaos. You’re doing your best. Give yourself time and allow yourself to feel instead of suppressing your emotions for fear they’re improper.
Running a mile is the last thing you want to do while you’re sore from all the household chores you’ve done. But trust us, exercise is helpful — extremely, at that. The endorphins released after exercise will trigger positive feelings and even reduce your fatigue, so incorporate regular exercise into your everyday life. Even 15 minutes per day is better than none.
7. Slow down
Easy. Go easy. There will always be something that needs to be done. Don’t sweat over it. Slow down when it starts to become too much. Take a step back. Nothing is more important than your mental health. Not piled up laundry. Not undone dishes. Lean back and take deep breaths. Don’t be hard on yourself. Please remember, the universe has its ways to make everything fall into place. In the end, everything works out and if it doesn’t, then it is not the end. Stay strong and take care! Because there is a tiny life that depends entirely on you.