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Self-Care For The Mom With Postpartum Depression/Postpartum Anxiety

by | September 24, 2018

Motherhood is challenging, and motherhood while suffering from postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety can sometimes feel near impossible.

When you are dealing with postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression, all of the new mother worries, anxieties, fears, and frustrations are amplified. Some days life can be completely overwhelming, debilitating, and all-consuming. As a mom with PPA/PPD, I can tell you that these feelings absolutely exist and are very real.

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So how does a mother with PPD/PPA process everything in her internal world when she also needs to run a household, feed her children, be present for her partner, and hold down a career? On my quest to feel better, the universal answer I have found time and time again is self-care. And fortunately, there is no “one size fits all” way of doing it. The path to peace and healing is as individual as the woman herself, and each woman will determine what strategies work or do not work for her. What is true of all women is that discovering which strategies are most effective takes some time and a lot of patience. Consistently remembering to exercise these strategies for long-term mental wellness takes encouragement and support.

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It is very easy for the mom with postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety to minimize the importance of self-care. Often, the very thought of self-care can seem overwhelming; to do so would mean extra time stressing, planning, and inconveniencing others. At least that’s what we believe. This is the false narrative that kept me from making small, sustainable changes and kept me from feeling better. What we need to remember is that moments of zen can be just that: moments. We often hear “self-care” and picture a leisurely day at the spa, reaching enlightenment at a yoga class, or having a girls night with your friends. But, luckily for all of us maxed out mamas, self-care does not have to move mountains or require much (if any) planning.

Self-care can be small, intentional acts that provide you with even the slightest amount of relief physically or mentally. Self-care could be finding time each day to get fresh air, preparing quick foods in the fridge for when you’re on the go and starving, adding essential oils to your bath water or a few drops in the shower, or sitting close with your partner. It could be doing a quick breathing exercise when you’re at your wits end, reading a few lines in a book or magazine while your baby sleeps instead of jumping to do laundry right away, or finishing that cup of coffee (no matter how many times you need to reheat it). Self-care can mean finding a prescription medication that assists you in reaching homeostasis or finally booking that appointment with the counselor that you have been putting off for way too long. Whatever your path looks like, it is what is best for you.

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In the hustle and bustle of motherhood with postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, it is easy to believe that self-care is selfish, unnecessary, and a waste of time, that it won’t provide any relief so why bother. This is where we need to shift our thoughts and change these misconceptions. Every moment you can take for yourself is fruitful and affirms that you and your health are worth these moments. This thought process doesn’t happen overnight, and it should be practiced regularly so you begin to believe it.

You are a super mama, and it is important to take time to honor yourself and all that you are, even for just a moment.

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Allison DeStefano Lellos M.Ed, INHC, CIHC

Allison DeStefano Lellos M.Ed, INHC, CIHC is the owner of Allison Lellos Holistic Wellness where she provides wellness coaching for mothers and families, and a regular contributor for Raise Vegan magazine.

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