This was a post that I had written after fashion icon Kate Spade passed away and in light of what we are currently going through, I want to re-post this. I hope you find it helpful.
With the passing of fashion icon, Kate Spade today, I want to share how depression is a real thing! And not just depression, post-partum depression is real too. I experienced postpartum depression after my daughter was born.
What is emotional wellness?
Emotional Wellness implies a person’s ability to be aware of and accept their feelings, rather than denying them. Emotional Wellness is having an optimistic approach to life, and enjoy life despite its occasional disappointments and frustrations.
According to NIH, Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.
Six Tips for Improving Your Emotional Wellness
- Brighten your outlook – It is said that people who are emotionally well have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from life’s difficulties faster. This quality is called resilience. Another sign of emotional wellness is being able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times.
- Reduce your stress – Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Stress can give you a rush of energy when it’s needed most. But if stress, chronic stress lasts a long time, those changes become harmful rather than helpful. Learning healthy ways to cope with your stress can also boost your resilience.
- Get good quality sleep – To fit in everything you want to do in your day, you often sacrifice sleep. But sleep affects both mental and physical health. It’s vital to your well-being. When you’re tired, you can’t function at your best. Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. Take steps to make sure you regularly get a good night’s sleep.
- Strengthen social connections – Social connections might help protect health and lengthen life. Scientists are finding that our links to others can have powerful effects on our health—both emotionally and physically. Whether with romantic partners, family, friends, neighbors, or others, social connections can influence our biology and well-being.
- Cope with your loss by surrounding yourself with family and friends – When someone you love dies, your world changes. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Although the death of a loved one can feel overwhelming, most people can make it through the grieving process with the support of family and friends. Learn healthy ways to help you through difficult times.
- Be Mindful – The concept of mindfulness is simple. This ancient practice is about being completely aware of what’s happening in the present—of all that’s going on inside and all that’s happening around you. This means not living your life on autopilot. Becoming a more mindful person requires commitment and practice.
Tips to help you be more mindful
- Take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for 1 second and then exhale through the mouth to a count of 5. Repeat often.
- Enjoy a stroll. As you walk, notice your breath and the sights and sounds around you. As thoughts and worries enter your mind, note them but then return to the present.
- Practice mindful eating. Be aware of taste, textures, and flavors in each bite, and listen to your body when you are hungry and full. Chew longer and enjoy your food.
- Find mindfulness resources in your local community, like yoga and meditation classes, mindfulness-based stress reduction programs, and books.
Tips to help you develop a more positive mindset
- Remember your good deeds. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others each day.
- Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from what went wrong, don’t dwell on it, and move on. Think of the song from the movie, Frozen: “Let It Go!”
- Spend more time with your friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
- Examine your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of your life. Think about how to guide your life by those beliefs that are important to you.
- Develop healthy physical habits by eating healthy, get regular physical activity, and regular sleep. These habits can improve your physical and mental health.
- Journal and express gratitude each morning before you begin your day.
Tip to help your manage stress
- Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
- Exercise regularly. 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress.
- Build a social support network.
- Set priorities. Decide what you must get done first and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if they’re putting you into overload.
- Think positive. Make note (journal) what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day.
- Try relaxation methods such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, qi gong, or tai chi.
- Last but not least, seek help. Talk to a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs or alcohol to cope.
Tips to help you get better quality sleep
- It is a good idea to go to bed the same time each night and get up the same time each morning.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable environment.
- Exercise daily. It is not a good idea to exercise right before bedtime.
- Limit the use of your cell phone, tablet, etc at least an hour before bed.
- Relax before bedtime. A warm bath or reading may help.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine late in the day.
- Avoid nicotine.
Tips to help you build a healthy support system
- Build strong relationships with your kids.
- Get active and share good habits with family and friends.
- If you’re a family caregiver, ask for help from others.
- Join a group doing your favorite hobby. Examples: a book club, hiking, running, craft like rubber stamping/scrapbooking.
- Take a class to learn something new. This is also good for your brain.
- Volunteer for things you care about in your community, like gardening/tree planting, school, library, or church.
- Visit different places and meet new people.
First, postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others such as her family.
Examples: Serena Williams and Chrissy Teigen had their struggles with postpartum depression
After childbirth, the levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone, in a woman’s body quickly drop. This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings. In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to postpartum depression.
Difference between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression
Baby Blues is not as severe as postpartum depression and usually will go away after a few weeks. However, postpartum depression lasts longer. A mother usually has the “baby blues” after having a baby. Since babies require a lot of care, mothers worry a lot and get tired from caring for her newborn.