By Lisa Dingeman
Postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety are nothing to shrug about. In fact, 80% of women will battle with a mild form of anxiety and PPD, also known as baby blues. They are common in the first few days and weeks after baby is born, but sometimes the baby blues don’t hit until a year later. One in seven new moms will experience a longer, more severe form of PPD. Symptoms can include confusion, hallucinations, delusions, decreased sense of happiness, and feelings of inadequacy.
The real cause of PPD is unknown, but the drastic drop of hormones in a woman’s body during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth can produce chemical imbalances in the brain that can affect emotional health.
These monsters can take a serious, destructive toll on your marriage and parenting abilities. What’s worse: sometimes they don’t go away on their own, leaving women seeking professional help and medication. But what if you don’t like having to rely on a medication to get you through and enjoy your day? It is important to know that your mental health cannot be put on the back burner. But if medication doesn’t work for you, or you want to try to combat PPD and anxiety naturally, you have some options.
Take time for you. Whether you meditate, take a bubble bath, or go for a walk without the usual distractions, spending time alone gives your brain a rest from its constant state of unravel. Removing distractions and giving your mind a chance to replenish itself will help you think more clearly. Take at least 15 minutes a day doing something that will benefit your mental health.
Socialize with others like yourself. Spending time with others who have common interests and struggles can greatly benefit your well-being and self-esteem. Surround yourself with others who push you to succeed and want to see you happy. In contrast, do the same for them—as helping others will give you a sense of worthiness. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Make your friends excellent sidekicks.
Exercise. Endorphins released during exercise trigger a pleasant feeling in your body, much like that of morphine. Not only does exercise make you feel good physically, it boosts your self-esteem and gives you a reason to get up, out of bed, and kick some major butt. Feeling good about yourself will positively affect your self-confidence—which will lower the dissatisfaction and doubts you have about yourself.
Getting and staying mentally healthy is the best feeling in the world, aside from becoming a mom, of course! Let nothing stand in the way of your relationships, your parenting, and your happiness.
Lisa Dingeman is a devoted wife and the proud mother of two boys. She is a personal trainer at Family Wellness in Mandan and also participates in fitness competitions. Lisa has devoted her life to faith, family, and wellness.