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Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Parents

Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Parents

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    No matter your age, parenthood is one of the most challenging parts of life you can go through – from a physical, emotional, mental, and even financial point of view. There is the pressure of being a good parent to deal with, not to mention the ever-present lack of sleep and alone time, plus the constant demands for your attention and money, bodily changes for many mothers to adjust to, as well as the potential for post-natal depression.

    All in all, it’s no wonder that many parents start to suffer from depression due to the variety of pressures they’re under. Some parents also struggle with additional mental health issues, such as personality disorders or addictions (variously known as having a co-occurring mental health disorder, or being dually disordered), which makes life even more difficult.

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    As a result, it is important for everyone to understand some of the most common symptoms of depression so that you can be aware of your own low mood, or notice that of your partner, loved one, or friend. Read on for some of the top signs of depression that you should be on the lookout for.

    Decreased/Enhanced Appetite or Changes in Weight

    A very common symptom that many people who are depressed experience is a change in their appetite and a corresponding weight gain or loss. If you notice that a family member or friend seems to be eating a lot more or a lot less than normal over an extended period of time, they may be suffering from depression. While of course everyone tends to have times when they don’t feel hungry or end up overindulging, a prolonged change in appetite (that lasts for a couple of weeks or more, and that potentially also leads to a rapid weight gain or loss), can be cause for concern.

    In particular, many moms tend to suffer from a loss of self-esteem after they gain weight during pregnancy and typically have less time to prepare nutritious meals or exercise once their baby has been born. They are more likely to suffer from depressive feelings and even develop eating disorders.

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    Insomnia or Fatigue

    Another very common sign of depression is a change in sleeping patterns. While obviously parents, particularly new ones, often struggle with less sleep because they are woken up by little ones, sleep disturbances can also be caused by anxiety, stress, and deeper psychological issues. Indeed, people who are suffering from depression regularly note that they are trying to deal with insomnia or that they have frequent nightmares that keep them from enjoying a proper night’s sleep.

    In addition, often when people are depressed, they end up feeling fatigued all the time, even if they get enough sleep. Depression may be to blame for lack of energy, disturbed sleeping patterns for lengthy periods of time, low moods, and other depressive signs.

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      Loss of Interest in Normal Activities

      For many people who are coping with depression, social withdrawal is a common sign that they’re suffering, as is a general loss of interest in the normal activities they enjoyed in the past. When people have been feeling down for a sustained amount of time, they often wish to steer clear of company and will avoid many of their usual activities as a result.

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      If, then, you notice that a friend or family member no longer wants to go out, attend their usual sporting events, meet contacts for regular catch-ups, or are otherwise retreating into their shell, this may be a sure sign that they are depressed. Where possible, try to encourage them to get out of the house or away from the office more, even if it is just for short periods of time. Opening the lines of communication, and providing people with a safe place to chat and otherwise feel supported can do wonders for mental health.

      Feelings of Despair

      Lastly, many parents who are struggling with depression suffer from feelings of despair, guilt, hopelessness, and worthlessness. This can be triggered by the dramatic life change that occurs when people become parents or because they may be worried about being a good parent, about the family’s finances, about their body image, their career, health, or familial relationships – just to name a few things. Post-natal depression can also often cause new mothers to start exhibiting negative self-talk and a marked loss of self-esteem.

      If you hear one of your friends or family members speaking negatively about themselves on a regular basis, take note. While everyone has times of self-doubt or worry, people who are depressed often tend to focus solely on thoughts that are harmful to their self-esteem. Keep an eye out for repeated phrases such as “It’s all my fault,” “People would be better off without me,” “I’m a failure,” “I’m a terrible parent,” or “I’m worthless.”

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      Featured photo credit: shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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