Instead of being in high spirits because you just gave birth to an adorable baby, do you feel unhappy? You may be suffering from what’s known as postpartum depression — a form of depression affecting a significant number of women following childbirth due to various hormonal and physical changes, not to mention stress and fatigue.
Usually lasting for up to a couple of weeks, postpartum depression can cause problems for a mother and her baby, too, if it’s left untreated. Only a doctor can determine whether or not a new mom has it based on the symptoms, as well as provide the most appropriate treatment for it, which may or may not include the intake of antidepressants.
There are also some all-natural ways to help beat postpartum depression. Here are 20 of them:
- Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight a day. One of the best (not to mention cost-free) source of vitamin D, which is a mood-booster, is the sun — make sure that you get enough of it daily.
- Have well-balanced meals. You need to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs as it attempts to heal itself and level out your hormones and brain chemicals.
- Eat Vitamin B-rich foods. Deficiency in B vitamins is linked to depression, and that’s why you should load up on foods containing them. Examples are whole grains, dark green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds
- Consume oily fish. Omega-3 fatty acids present abundantly in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are known to be good for your mood and brain functioning.
- Go nuts for some nuts. Other than oily fish, you can also obtain good amounts of mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids from the likes of almonds, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts.
- Obtain enough rest and sleep. Nothing can make baby blues worse than failure to get the right amounts of rest and sleep — make sure that you’re getting enough of them.
- Reduce stress levels. It’s no secret that having a baby can be very stressful, so ensure that you incorporate all sorts of stress-busting activities in your daily life, like journaling or reading a book.
- Pay for a professional massage. Nothing can beat the blues and combat stress associated with giving birth more that having an expert massage your entire body.
- Try acupuncture. Look for a certified acupuncturist in your area and schedule for a session. Numerous studies say that acupuncture is excellent for a lot of things, including battling postpartum depression.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Having your dose of mild exercise everyday is good not only for giving you strength, but also lifting your mood as it encourages the production of happy hormones.
- Perform yoga. What’s so nice about yoga is it lets you exercise and at the same time meditate, both of which are good for the mood as well as your stress and energy levels.
- Do deep breathing. Taking slow deep breaths especially when you’re feeling down, anxious and stressed lets your brain get all the oxygen it needs for proper health and functioning.
- Take good care of your looks. Even if you’re preoccupied with taking care of your baby, you should still aim to look your best as it’s something that can boost your mood and self-confidence.
- Be treated like a queen. Once in a while, take a break from being a new mom by being pampered. Get a facial or body scrub, or have your nails done or your hair styled — anything that can make you feel like a star.
- Have a laugh. Just like what they say, laughter is the best medicine. Watch your favorite TV sitcom or simply surround yourself with cheery family and friends for some laughter.
- Sing a song or two or more. You can release your feelings by singing your heart out. But if you don’t feel like singing, listening to music will also do.
- Rely on essential oils. There are plenty of essential oils out there whose scents can help you relax and feel happy, such as lemon, ylang-ylang, lavender and rosemary essential oils.
- Enjoy a cup of green tea. Experts say that it is safe for breastfeeding moms to drink green tea, something that has mood-lifting properties, in moderation.
- Drink some herbal teas. Many swear by the effectiveness of drinking chamomile, passion flower or lavender tea in combating depression.
- Count on milk thistle. Other than being highly effective in managing postpartum depression, milk thistle is also a well-known galactagogue, which means it encourages breast milk production.