I took these photograph’s yesterday. We are as happy as we seem, but it wasn’t always this way.
In fact I’ve suffered with depression whilst raising both my children. I wanted to share something uplifting this morning, so I won’t go into too much detail about my story with postnatal depression today.
Instead I wanted to share with you tips on how I lifted my mood when I was really low.
Get Up, Get Dressed, Put some Lipstick on
Maybe this is because my step father is ex military but I’ve always kind of had this attitude. It doesn’t matter what’s causing it, if you feel low, get up, out of your funk and go through the motions of a normal day.
Even if it takes you four hours to get dressed, in between newborn baby nappy changes and breast feeding, who cares if it takes four hours?
Just get dressed. You’ll feel better, trust me.
It might seem impossible but doing something that feels like it’s impossible at the time will make you feel like you’ve achieved something and this has a knock on effect, a bit like dominoes.
Make small achievable lists every Morning
Having tasks that you need to do can seem daunting when you have depression, you might put them off or think you can’t do them.
Making small lists everyday allows you to prioritise what needs to be done.
In the long run this stops things building up and causing stress which is the last thing you want when you’ve got a small baby too look after. Stress will affect your mental health.
Careful not to over do these lists though you’re already superwoman, make sure they’re achievable and fit into your schedule. You’re trying to make life easier not harder.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Having a bad day? Need a break? Need time to yourself to remember who you are? Cool, ask the people you love in your life to help.
They will help you, because they love you. There’s no shame in asking for help or wanting a break. Being a Momma is hard work.
Getting a break will put you back on top of your game. Think of parenthood like a job, you know when you need to take time off.
You wouldn’t sit in an office sobbing because you couldn’t handle the amount of work you had to do, you’d ask a colleague to help you.
Make One Day a Week About You
Plan a day once a week that’s all about you. Even if you take baby with you.
There’s an art exhibition you want to see? Go. A restaurant you’ve always wanted to try? Go.
Spending time out with your baby on your own will help build your confidence and help you to realise you’re doing a good job, even if it’s a disaster and your beautiful baby screamed through your entire meal, you survived.
After a while you’ll start realising that it’s all just part of parenthood and all parents go through it at some point.
Also, for me personally this was a day I could look forward to. I found the constant baby groups I was attending draining, repetitive and really boring. It was nice to meet other parents but I craved stimulation from my old life.
It helped me to fuse together the idea that my life hadn’t changed that much. I could still enjoy the things I used to, baby and all.
Make time for Friends
I felt completely isolated when I was suffering with depression and I kind of felt like I’d forgotten who I was.
Over time I started to see friends and hearing them talk about normal things was like a rush of relief.
I had something new to talk to my partner about. We were talking about things other than shitty nappies and it just made me feel normal again.
Don’t drink Alcohol
If you’re breast feeding you’re probably not drinking anyway, but if you’re like me, I stopped breastfeeding around six months and switched to bottle feeding.
The first thing I did was buy a litre of gin. The problem was, was that I didn’t really have the tolerance for alcohol anymore, it went straight to my head and ultimately it just made me feel more depressed.
I would cry and shout at my partner and would generally just feel like a mess. My advice? Just stick to one glass of wine until you feel better. Alcohol is a depressant.
Make time to Snuggle up with Your Partner
Easier said than done when you feel like you look like a whale and your confidence is shattered but trust me you’ll feel better afterwards.
I think what really shocked me when I recovered from my depression spell was talking to my partner and realising how left out he felt.
It’s already an isolating time for men, your body turns into a milk farm, you’re constantly tired, you’re in pain, you’re pushed to you’re limits and the last thing you want to do is have sex.
Sex might be the last thing on your mind but making time for connections can make you feel better.
I often think men get lots of stick, but if your partner is a loving and important part of your life strengthening your connection will surely benefit both of you.
My partner wanted attention and when he got it he made me feel profound. I would go from feeling really down to suddenly feeling connected and happy.
You might not think it but trust me they’re are definitely still attracted to you.
Make yourself go outside everyday even if you don’t Feel like It and Exercise
I had some really low slumps and I would stay inside the house for a week at a time.
This was a habit I made myself break because it just doesn’t do you any good in the long run.
It might make you feel safe but really you’re just staying in the same place with your thoughts.
Not only are you getting exercise but you’re de-stressing too. Going out, whether it’s a walk round the park or swimming, it helps to take your mind off the things that are bothering you.
Watch the stress melt away.
Why not do some yoga, or join a class? Be part of something that’s for you and not about babies. (Although yoga for babies is a pretty cool class to take together.)
Have a Relaxing Bath
Why not go all out and have a spa day? If you’re low on cash though a hot bath with essential oils can be just as relaxing.
Take time out and pamper yourself. Like you used to, before you had kids. You could get your hair cut or even indulge in something therapeutic. Have your tarot cards read. Find something that speaks to your soul.
The point is spoil yourself, you absolutely deserve to feel better.
Write Down How You Feel
If you’re having a particularly low day write down what’s on your mind, how you’re feeling, what caused it, what’s happened. Then read it.
This is a time of self reflection so look at what you’ve written. See if there’s anything critical or if you’re being to hard on yourself.
It’s a good way of working out the negative thoughts you’re having.
Next make a list of things you like about yourself and things that you’ve done well that day. The object here is to bring yourself out of the thought process you’re in.
Just remember if you feel so low you can’t cope or are even suicidal, get help.
Call a family member, health visitor or doctor. They’re not going to judge you, they want to help you.
The struggle you’re feeling won’t last. You can get help. You don’t have to struggle on your own. You don’t deserve to feel this way.
Bond With Your Baby
Finally I wanted to talk about bonding with your little bundle of joy.
For me I had to forget about daily tasks like doing dishes and getting food shopping so I could focus on my daughter and spend some quality one to one time with her.
Which is hard when you have other kids, but I found a way.
Firstly, I went to a baby massage class, when my daughter was tiny. This helped me really spend time with her and look at the beautiful thing I had created.
As she got older I started using photography as a way to bond with her. I would decide on a location and plan a day there, I would go with baby and camera.
I would shoot photos of us together while we enjoyed our day out.
When I got home and edited them I was blown away by the bond I could see between us, it was looking at us from a different perspective that helped me see we were close. This helped me to strengthen the bond between us.
I hope this post has been useful, have a nice day, whatever you and your little one are doing.