This week, postnatal depression and anxiety support charity PANDAS Foundation are running an awareness week – #PNDA18. The theme of the week is Hope, stories and support will be shared all week to provide hope to all the mums struggling with their mental health that a happy life is something they can have again. I have written a piece for PANDAS that will be shared on their website tomorrow, until then, I thought I would share five little things we can all do on a bad mental health day. The cloud of depression can be heavy and all encompassing but there are ways to ease the pressure and make it out through the fog, if even just for a little while.
5 things to do when you’re having a bad mental health day
1. Get dressed – I know it’s hard to get out of bed, I know it’s hard to find an ounce of motivation to even brush your teeth or nibble some toast for breakfast but staying in your pyjamas all day won’t make you feel better. Trust me, I love a pj day as much as the next mama but a pj day when you are feeling low can easily become a day full of no energy, no motivation and no zest for life at all. Get in the shower and get dressed, even if it’s just into your most comfortable and slouchy clothes, just don’t stay in bed all day. I know it can be hard, but you need to get up.
2. Go for a walk – Pop your baby in the pram and get out of the house. Go for a stroll around the park, walk to the shops to get milk instead of driving, walk to town and get yourself a much deserved coffee. Get out of those same four walls, breathe in some fresh air and let Mother Nature work her magic.
3. Treat yourself – This doesn’t have to involve splashing the cash, there are lots of small ways you can treat yourself and boost your mood a bit. Run yourself a bubble bath, chuck in a bath bomb and light some calming and scented candles. When the baby is napping, don’t do the dishes and hang out the laundry, read a book, catch up on some TV, write, sleep – whatever! Just do something for you for a change, look after yourself and put yourself first for a little while.
4. Find gratitude – On bad mental health days it can be easy to get trapped in a negative mindset, to be full of worry, anxiety and to just feel overwhelmingly sad. An effective way to inject some positivity back into your day is spending some time reflecting on the good things in your life and writing them all down. I had a gratitude journal that I used when I was in the thick of PND, every day I would write down all the things I was grateful for and all the things that had made me happy that day, no matter how small – a hot cup of tea, a cuddle on the sofa with my baby for example. You don’t need a special journal though, you could write them down on any old bit of paper or just list them in your head. Giving yourself a gentle reminder of all the good in your life can help you to stop only seeing and feeling all the bad.
5. Chat to someone – A problem shared is a problem halved and this has never felt more true than when I told my husband I was depressed. Don’t keep your feelings locked up inside, don’t suffer in silence. You have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, tell a trusted friend, family member or your partner how you are feeling, don’t walk around bearing the full weight of this depression by yourself. It is hard to talk about mental health but speaking to someone can help, as long as it is a supportive and trusted loved one – stay clear of people who bring negativity to your life, who are judgemental or are lacking empathy and supportive words. You could pick up the phone and call someone, ask someone to come over so you can chat face to face or just send a quick text saying ‘I feel really low today’. Your friends and family love you and they will do all they can to make you feel better.
To all you mums out there who are going through PND and anxiety, stress and any other mental health issue, please remember you are STRONG, you are AMAZING and never lose HOPE, things will get better.
If you feel like you may be suffering with post natal depression here is a list of resources and charities that can help and support you.
If you enjoyed this post you may also like to read