Postpartum depression is surprisingly common. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every seven new mothers will develop this condition. Although medication can be used to treat the problem, there are other changes that you can make to help you deal more effectively with this type of depression.
If you have received a diagnosis of postnatal depression from your doctor, they most likely prescribed medication and recommended seeing a therapist.
Beyond that, however, there are also changes that you can make in your life that will positively impact your mental health. It is important to take care of yourself and to treat yourself in the same caring way that you would treat a friend or loved one if they were in your shoes. Here are some steps that can help:
1. Talk To Your Loved Ones
Don't try to battle postnatal depression alone. Instead, build a strong support network by talking to the people that you are close to. Many women experience postnatal depression. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Talking about what you are going through with others not only puts you in a better position to overcome the depression but also makes the experience a little bit less scary.
2. Take Time Out To Rest
Raising a newborn usually means missing out on a lot of sleep. The continuous cycle of waking up and trying to fall back asleep can take a toll on your body.
Most experts recommend trying to sleep when your baby sleeps. You can also ask your partner to help feed the baby during the middle of the night so that you can sleep for longer stretches of time without being interrupted.
3. Pay Attention To Nutrition
With so many new duties to take care of, it is easy to forget about eating. Proper nutrition is essential, however - especially if you decide to breastfeed your child. You need to focus on nutrition, making sure that you are eating healthy foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals.
Avoid sugar or junk food in favor of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
4. Try Being More Active
You don't have to become a top athlete to realize the benefits of exercise after giving birth. Activities such as going for walks or taking up swimming can go a long way toward boosting your mood and helping you feel your best.
One option you may want to look into is joining a class that is specifically for new mothers and their babies. This is a great way to socialize with other people who have recently given birth.
5. Focus On Relaxation
Make a list of some of the activities that you find most relaxing. Then, set aside time to do those things. If necessary, get someone else to help out while you take a few minutes for yourself. Taking a break isn't selfish - it is absolutely essential for your mental health and physical well-being.
6. Become More Social
Having a baby can leave you feeling a bit isolated - especially if you used to have an active social calendar. Don't allow yourself to spend too much time alone. Instead, find a way to socialize with your friends and loved ones. Don't forget about planning some alone time with your spouse or partner, as well.
7. Make Friends With Other New Mothers
People with postnatal depression usually benefit from making new friends with other women who have recently given birth. Becoming a mother can leave you feeling quite alone. Connecting with other women who are going through the same thing can really help.
Being able to share some good conversation and laughter with people who know exactly what you are dealing with can be quite cathartic.
8 Don't Turn Down Help
If you are the type of person who likes to do everything yourself, it can be hard to accept help. You may feel like you are failing if you need to get help from other people. In fact, however, it isn't a sign of weakness. Getting help shows that you are strong enough to do everything you need to do to properly care for your child including accepting help from your loved ones.
9. Don't Blame Yourself
Postnatal depression often leads to feelings of guilt. It is easy to lay blame at your feet for what you are feeling or what is going on in your life. Don't fall into this trap. Instead, understand that these feelings are temporary and that they will eventually go away.
10. Don't Turn To Drugs Or Alcohol
Many people who are depressed turn to drugs or alcohol, looking for a way to block out their feelings. In fact, however, these substances can make the problem much worse. If you find yourself relying on drugs or alcohol as a crutch, reach out for assistance right away.