Anyone who has recently given birth to a child is at risk of developing postpartum depression. Learning how to effectively deal with this condition is essential – both for your well-being and the wellbeing of your child. Here are some tips that can help you feel more like yourself again:
1. Get Professional Help
Postpartum depression can cause a number of unpleasant emotions. Some women feel anxious while others feel overwhelmingly depressed. You may find yourself feeling extremely fatigued, crying all the time, being overcome by feelings of guilt, or having difficulty eating. If any of these feelings persist for longer than about a month, you should reach out for professional help. Even if you have a supportive family, there is no substitute for the qualified advice and assistance of a trained therapist.
2. Connect With Other New Mothers
Taking care of a newborn is an extremely demanding job that takes up the vast majority of your time. If you are like many new mothers, you may find yourself spending a lot of time alone. This isolation can intensify feelings of depression and loneliness. One way to overcome these issues is by finding ways to connect with other new mothers. For instance, you may want to join a group that focuses on baby massage. This gives you a chance to meet other new mothers who are dealing with similar issues.
3. Let It Out
Crying is a good thing. Not only does it provide an emotional release but it can also help reduce excess hormones in your body. As strange as it may sound, when you cry, certain hormones that are related to stress are excreted in your tears. Anytime you feel weepy, give in to the temptation to cry. Doing so can help balance your body.
4. Rest Whenever You Can
If you run yourself ragged, you not only will be less effective at caring for your child but you also will have a harder time recovering from postpartum depression. Ask for help. Talk to your partner or a trusted friend or family member to see if they can give you a break so that you can get some sleep. Anytime your baby goes down for a nap, consider taking a quick nap yourself to help you catch up on sleep.
5. Eat Wholesome, Nutritious Foods
Eating nutritious food not only helps ensure that your baby is getting the vitamins that they need but it also can help you more effectively combat postpartum depression.
6. Consider Breastfeeding
Researchers at the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine found that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop postpartum depression as long as they continue breastfeeding for three or four months. Don’t feel pressured into breastfeeding, though. Trying to force yourself to breastfeed when it is difficult or when you would prefer not to may make postpartum depression worse.
7. Combat Depression With Physical Activity
When you are depressed, the last thing that you want to do is get up and exercise. If you can force yourself to, however, it may help. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which can help counteract depression. Even something as simple as taking your baby for a walk in their stroller can get your blood pumping and can help lift your mood.
8. Prioritize Relaxation
Postpartum depression can make it hard to properly care for your baby. When you realize that you are falling short, it can make your depression worse. One of the keys to breaking free from this cycle is to learn how to relax. Find ways to pamper yourself by listening to relaxing music, soaking in the bath, or treating yourself to a massage.
9. Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin
Having a baby changes everything. Chances are, you won’t be able to do everything that you did before. You may need to adjust your goals and your lifestyle to fit more realistically with the challenges that go along with having a baby.