5 ways to fight post-partum depressionIt was about four months after my third pregnancy when I knew things were not "okay" with me. I was extremely anxious all day long, wandering around from room to room, never getting anything done. I perpetually had a lump in my throat that would never go away, and that only got bigger as the day went on. I longed for laying around in my dark bedroom, not because I was tired, but because I wanted to tune out my life and my children.
After long discussions with my husband, friends and health professionals, it was determined that I had postpartum depression and anxiety. I then went on an antidepressant, and stayed on it until I found out I was pregnant again. During my first trimester, I went cold turkey off the medication (something I wouldn't recommend under most circumstances).
I'm current seven weeks postpartum and unmedicated. I would be lying to you if I said I that I wasn't worried about suffering from PPD again. But I'm a fighter, and I won't go down easy. Here are 5 healthy measures I'm taking to fight postpartum depression.
1. Connecting with my husband
Last year I went on exactly two dates with my husband. This year, I've vowed that we will do something without our children (even for an hour) once a month. It does wonders for my mood, helps our marriage tremendously, and I very much look forward to spending time alone with him.
Relaxing with a bath
2. Relaxing with a bath
I used to wind down at night with a glass of red wine, but I've determined that this messes with my sleep (especially if one glass turns into two). Now, after the kids are tucked in, I substitute my glass of wine for a hot bath and a paperback book. I still relaxed, but now it's without the use of a stimulant.
3. Eating breakfast
I went probably 15 years without eating breakfast on a consistent basis. I'm now starting my day out with a smoothie that contains greens (such as beet greens, spinach, or kale), frozen fruit, raw honey, probiotic yogurt, and even a high-quality, locally-farmed raw egg. This on-the-go breakfast gives me the energy I need and keeps me from drinking extreme amounts of caffeine.
Related: 12 ways to sneak workout time into your day
Limiting caffeine and alcohol
4. Limiting caffeine and alcohol
I'm not completely cutting out both caffeine and alcohol, but I'm consuming them sparingly and thoughtfully. I found that I used coffee as an "upper" in the morning, and then wine as a "downer" in the evening. Having finally broken my routine, I can tell a big difference with how I handle anxiety.
5. Actually sleeping
I'll never get enough sleep, and I'm a night owl by heart, but I've found that getting as much sleep as possible really plays a large part in how I handle and deal with my young children. I'm much more attentive on 7 hours than on 4.
- By Emily Elling
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