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Preventing and Coping with Postpartum Depression

Preventing and Coping with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is the type of thing that every woman has heard of, but many don’t expect it to happen to them, and even more are unsure of how to go about dealing with the condition once they find out they have it. In truth, postpartum depression is an incredibly common state of affairs.

Somewhere between ten and twenty-five percent of women wind up struggling with it once they give birth to their first child, and the chances of developing this condition increase in women with a personal or family history of depression. Although it can seem overwhelming when you find that it’s happening to you or someone you love, it’s important to realize that there are many things you can do to deal with it, help minimize the effects, and even lower the likelihood of it occurring in the first place.

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Understanding the Difference Between “Baby Blues” and Postpartum Depression

Pretty much every woman will experience some degree of what’s commonly known as “baby blues” after giving birth. This is especially the case for first time mothers, but it can actually happen to any woman. Giving birth is incredibly difficult, as is transitioning to a new state of affairs when it comes to your family. Plus, there are the hormonal issues to consider for the new mom: she will definitely feel anxious, irritable, and even completely overwhelmed at times, and that’s perfectly normal.

Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that “baby blues” typically only last about a week. Once the mother transitions and her hormone levels stabilize, she will gradually feel much better, but women who sink into postpartum depression will experience increasingly longer bouts of sadness and hopelessness. If your baby blues don’t seem to be improving on their own, and if they seem to be worsening, you should speak to your doctor about possible treatment options.

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Lowering the Likelihood of Developing Postpartum Depression

Although postpartum depression isn’t the sort of thing that is avoidable altogether because of the hormonal factors involved in pregnancy recovery, it’s important to understand that taking care of yourself and giving yourself a little room to breathe and adjust can really help a lot.

To begin with, make sure you learn as much as possible about how to make a smooth recovery after giving birth. Ask your doctor for advice, and maybe even pick the brains of your friends for suggestions on how to cope. Get plenty of rest, and allow yourself to heal. Be sure to let your partner and your family help you out during this delicate time in your life so that you have plenty of time to bond with your baby and take care of your body.

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Don’t force yourself to do too much too soon—like seeing visitors or jumping right back into maintaining your social life. Definitely don’t psych yourself into believing that you’re a bad mother if you find you’re dealing with postpartum depression. You’re not! Being overwhelmed and needing time to adjust is something every woman goes through to some degree.

Speak to Your Doctor About Your Options

If you think you might be dealing with postpartum depression, it’s important to not just tough it out. Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about what’s going on and explore your options. He or she may suggest dietary or routine changes that can help you get on top of things, or you may also be prescribed a course of anti-depressants to help you get over the hump. Whatever the right solution may be for you, it definitely pays off to ask for help sooner rather than later.

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Featured photo credit:  Young mother looking out from the window with her baby via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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