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Managing Mental Health: A Postpartum Self-Care Checklist

Mom experiences postpartum depression. Catalyss Counseling provides treatment for depression and anxiety in Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling in the Denver area 80209 and 80210

After having a baby, you might be prepared with all the equipment, diapers, bottles, and baby furniture that you need. You even have a plan for sleeping and which partner/family member is going to take what shift with the baby. But you are mostly unprepared for the emotional mood swings you’re experiencing and you’re not sure how to manage your own mental health.

You’ve never been as irritable as you are during the postpartum period, which is usually defined as up to 1 year postpartum but can extend longer. Normally, you’re able to manage your moods and are pleasant, even fun, to be around, but since you’ve had a baby, whew….everything is different! Your anxiety, or depression, or irritability just seems out of your own control.

Mom experiences depression and anxiety after having a baby.Catalyss Counseling provides treatment for depression and anxiety in Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling in the Denver area 80209 and 80210

What is important for you to know, is that what you’re experiencing emotionally and mentally after having a baby is entirely normal. The mood swings, the difficulty managing your highs and lows, happens to many if not most postpartum women. The combination of hormones, physical recovery, breastfeeding (or not), lack of sleep, and the intense demands of your newborn are wreaking havoc on your normally stable mood.

Here is a checklist of things you can do that will help you manage your mental health after having a baby:

  • Sleep 6-8 hours every day

    • Whether it’s all together at night, or snatches of sleep during the day

  • Eat 3 meals a day plus snacks

    • Especially if you are breastfeeding you need to be eating enough food for good milk supply

  • Shower daily or every other day

  • Exercise (per your Doctor’s orders) 3-5x per week

    • Any type of exercise will do, including walking

  • Laugh out loud daily

  • Spend time with your partner 1-2x per week

    • Even if you’re just watching 30 minutes of TV together, the together time without your baby will be rejuvenating

  • Indulge in a hobby or interest of yours at least 1x per week

  • Get outside every day

    • Whether it’s just sitting in the sun for 10 minutes or taking a stroll around the block

  • Let go of perfection and high expectations of yourself

  • Chores: Do what you can and leave the rest for later

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation daily

  • Ask for help when you need it

    • Know when you are over your head and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family or friends

  • Avoid alcohol and marijuana

    • Excessive use of alcohol and drugs is a negative coping strategy that eventually harms you more than it helps you

  • Connect with your support system

    • Whether in-person or virtual, your relationships are important to maintain

  • Tell others when you are feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed

Mom practices self care after having a baby.Catalyss Counseling provides treatment for depression and anxiety in Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling in the Denver area 80209 and 80210

Of course, it is close to impossible to get all of these things done in a single day right after having given birth. But you can use this checklist as a reminder, as something to aspire towards, on a daily or weekly basis. You may want to enlist your partner’s help in making sure that you are able to do as many things on this checklist as you can.

Doing the above activities intentionally and regularly will also help combat any worsening moods such as postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. If you are worried about postpartum depression, see our blog How to Recognize Postpartum Depression.

Overall, your goal during the postpartum period is to heal physically, manage yourself mentally and emotionally, and adjust to life having a baby. Not quite an easy task, is it? Giving yourself some grace and understanding, enjoying what you are doing in the present moment and not worrying about the future, and talking to others how you are feeling is key to getting you through the postpartum period.

If you are looking for a perinatal mental health therapist, Catalyss Counseling specializes in providing therapy to women who are pregnant and during the postpartum period. We specialize in postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, pregnancy loss, birth trauma, and adjusting to motherhood. Contact us if you’d like to talk with a caring, experienced counselor in Colorado.

How We Can Help

We are currently enrolling for our postpartum support group.

Explore your emotions, share daily challenges and feel less alone in motherhood.

For moms up to 1 year postpartum who are ready to go from feeling lonely and overwhelmed to connected and understood.

This group is hosted by Kristen Dammer.

If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation

  2. Or, you can book directly online with the therapist of your choice

  3. Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life

Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:

Author Biography

The owner of Catalyss Counseling, Shannon Heers, located in Englewood CO and serving all of Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling.

Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and the owner of a group psychotherapy practice in the Denver area. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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