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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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