Life as a new parent can be overwhelming, and your needs can be left behind so here are 6 beneficial activities designed to keep Postnatal depression at bay.
1, Take some sleep when your baby sleeps – this can not be emphasised enough. Lack of sleep can amplify the effects of stress, anxiety and a crying baby. No house work or email is more important than you getting enough sleep.
2, Wash and get dressed first thing in the morning – with luck you can manage this before your baby wakes up. As they say on planes, put your oxygen mask on before you assist your child. Your child needs you to be in the best possible mood and the easiest way to boost your mood, is to take care of your personal hygiene. If you don’t manage this first thing it can easily get to midday and you are still in your nightshirt. If your baby is awake still take at least 5 minutes after the early morning feed to get yourself ready for the day. I am a strong advocate of responsive parenting but I still think this is important, and your baby will start to understand it as part of the daily routine.
3, Practice self-compassion whenever possible – Instead of checking your Facebook or email when feeding your baby, practice self-compassion. Self-compassion can be as simple as directing thoughts of love inwardly. You can start with directing love towards your child, if you are breastfeeding this can also facilitate lactation. Then move your loving thoughts inward. You can also think about your breath letting out stress and anxiety and breathing in love and joy. You can also practice self-compassion before you go to bed while taking a shower or bath.
4, Accept help without guilt – no one is invincible and can do everything, and this allows you to have a sense of social support. By help I mean visitors are making you a cup of tea or dropping off a ready meal, putting on a load of washing.
5, Seek out other like-minded non-judgemental parents. – Positive relationships is a key factor to increased happiness and well-being for everyone so it stands to reason that parents need it in bucket loads.
6, Take a morning walk – Check with your doctor first that you are fit for exercise. If it is summer do this first thing after you wake up, put your baby in the pram find a walking partner and introduce your infant to the world. It is perfect for helping you get back in shape and preparing you for future months running around after your toddler.
If you are finding it difficult to get the motivation to implement at least 1 of these or are feeling depressed in any way, please seek out the assistance of a health professional. Check out NHS Choices for more information about Postnatal Depression
Candice Sunney is an introverted older mother who can often be found sporting “mum hair”. She is currently doing a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology with a focus on early Parenting. To support her family she works as a Mindfulness teacher and parenting coach. If you would like to connect, you will find her on twitter @candicesunney or Facebook