Finding postpartum mental health can be hard. There are so many new pressures, responsibilities and demands on your time post-baby that it's easy to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and unfulfilled. But postpartum depression is not inevitable - there are some simple steps you can take now to improve your postpartum mental health and prevent postpartum depression later on in life.
Try to exercise every day. A postpartum workout will not only help you to rehab after all of the physical changes your body has gone through, but it will also give you a boost of endorphins which can improve postpartum mood and prevent postpartum depression from setting in. If the weather is poor or if none of your friends are free, do an online workout or take a walk around the neighbourhood.
Meet New Mum Friends
One of the best things you can do for your postpartum mental health is to find some new mum friends. Meeting other women who are going through the same thing as you, and who understand what you're going through, can be really helpful. It's also a great way to get out of the house and have some fun! There are lots of different ways to meet new mums - try joining a mothers group, go to a postnatal yoga class or start up a postnatal playgroup in your area.
Leave The House
Another key step in improving postpartum mental health is to get out of the house on a regular basis. Staying indoors for too long post-baby will only make you feel isolated, lonely and trapped. So try to leave the house at least once a day - even if it's just for an hour or two! If your partner is home with baby, go out by yourself (this could be somewhere like the park where you can take baby along) but if they're not available then don't let that stop you from leaving the house postpartum depression may set in otherwise.
Ask For Help
Don't feel guilty about asking for help postpartum. Mental health following childbirth takes a village so don't be afraid to ask friends and family members if they would mind popping round to give a hand occasionally instead of trying to do everything yourself. It may be that postpartum depression sets in if you never ask for help post-baby, so don't feel embarrassed or guilty about asking for assistance with the baby and housework - it's much better than struggling alone!
Eat Healthy Food
Ensure you are getting the right postpartum nutrition by eating healthy food. You should be aiming to eat three meals a day, plus two or three snacks in between, of fruit and vegetables as well as dairy products for calcium intake. Make sure that your diet is high enough in iron (found in fish, red meat and eggs) because postpartum fatigue can stem from low levels of this mineral.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water will help keep your body hydrated - which means better mental health! Staying properly hydrated with eight glasses per day ensures good circulation around the brain so it's best to drink plenty post-baby if possible (especially if you're breastfeeding).
Schedule time for self-care solo postpartum
It's important to schedule time for self-care postpartum, even if it's just an hour or two each week. During this time you can do whatever makes you feel relaxed and restored - whether that's reading a book, taking a bath or going for a walk. This is your time to focus on yourself and recharge so that you can continue to care for your baby effectively.
These are just some of the ways in which you can improve postpartum mental health. If postpartum depression does set in despite your best efforts, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Postnatal depression is a very real condition that requires treatment, but with the right support there is no reason why postpartum mental health cannot be restored.