Postpartum depression is a very real experience for many new mothers. It typically manifests as the inability to enjoy life, sadness, irritability, anxiety, and other symptoms that can be debilitating. If you feel these symptoms after childbirth, it’s important to know that you can do things to help yourself feel better. This article will discuss six coping techniques you should try to ease your symptoms of postpartum depression!
1. Get help from a mental health professional
It is always recommended seeing a qualified mental health provider if you’ve been feeling depressed and sad after your baby was born. A therapist can be an excellent resource when it comes to coping with postpartum depression, and they may recommend some or all of the following techniques:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT aims at changing unhelpful thinking and behavior patterns that can contribute to stress and unhappiness in life.
Infusion therapy involves administering ketamine treatment, which is typically used as an anesthetic or a pain medication to treat depression rapidly. The ketamine is delivered intravenously and enters the bloodstream. This means it can reach the brain within minutes and quickly take effect. Studies have shown ketamine to be effective in treating depression that has not responded well to other treatments such as antidepressants.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
This is another form of therapy that uses electricity to create seizures in the brain. This is very effective in some cases of Postpartum depression that have not responded well to other treatments.
2. Try eating a healthy diet
Some people with postpartum depression have found that they feel better after starting a healthier dietary plan, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein sources, and heart-healthy fats instead of saturated fat. Be sure to ask your doctor if it is safe for you to start a new diet plan before beginning one yourself! If you are feeling well enough to cook from scratch, here are some meal ideas:
- Breakfast: Fruit smoothies with yogurt, oatmeal with fresh berries and nuts, egg white omelets, whole-grain toast with peanut butter and fruit
- Lunch: Salads with grilled chicken or salmon, soups with lean protein sources like beans, lentils, and fish; sandwiches on whole-grain bread with lean meats and vegetables; hummus with pita and veggies
- Dinner: Lean protein like fish or chicken served with a side of whole grains like quinoa or brown rice, steamed broccoli and asparagus, baked sweet potatoes topped with cheese, and other veggies
3. Stay connected with family and friends
Staying connected to your loved ones can help remind you that you are not alone in this journey. Join a mommy group at the park during the weekdays when you feel good enough to get out of the house. It’s a great way to meet new moms and care for your child at the same time. Other ideas include:
- Join or create a mommy and me group with other parents in your neighborhood.
- Watch videos of mothers interacting lovingly with their young children.
- Read, watch or listen to stories about parenting.
- Search blogs about how other people have coped with postpartum depression.
- Social networking sites like Facebook are also an excellent way to stay connected. You can browse through status updates from friends and family members who have the same experiences as you.
4. Avoid drinking too much caffeine
While it is okay to have a cup of coffee or tea now and then, caffeine is associated with anxiety in some people, so try not to drink too much of it. If your symptoms are severe enough that you feel like you need an extra boost, here are some healthy options to try instead.
Green or herbal tea with no caffeine added is a safe option for coffee drinkers who want the tasty flavors without the jitters. Many people also enjoy red raspberry leaf tea before and after childbirth because it can help tone the uterus and prevent bleeding after birth.
Fruit smoothie with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt for a sweet treat with protein is another excellent option. Dark chocolate (at least 70%) rich in antioxidants can provide an energy boost without caffeine. Have some carbs at breakfast with whole-grain toast or fruit smoothies with yogurt. Herbal supplements like chamomile, valerian root, or kava root tea can help, too.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a form of therapy that can provide a source of enjoyment and focus in life. Just starting with a simple 10-minute walk can help to ease depressive symptoms.
Many experts recommend a moderate exercise plan for postpartum depression. A moderate exercise plan includes 30 minutes of aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, five times per week. In addition to aerobic activity, it’s important to incorporate strength training and stretching into your routine. Strength training can help tone your body, while stretching can help to improve your flexibility.
6. Mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are two excellent tools to help cope with postpartum depression. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment without judgment. This can be helpful in postpartum depression because it allows you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions without getting overwhelmed.
Many people find that meditation helps them focus on their breath and stay in the present moment. This can be especially helpful when feelings of anxiety or sadness start to creep in. There are different types of meditation, so find one that resonates with you and try to practice it regularly.
Coping with postpartum depression is challenging, but there are various steps you can take to help manage it. It’s important to stay connected with family and friends while exercising regularly or doing a mindfulness activity like meditation. The most important thing is that you don’t feel alone in this journey.