Baby is here. Help came and went. The house is quiet, and you’re exhausted. Feeling overstressed and overtired? Stress reduction is a key part to decreasing the amount of cortisol that your body produces. High levels of cortisol are associated with depression due to the role that it plays in negatively affecting the production of serotonin, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can help you relax and sleep. Not to mention, being relaxed will help your milk let down!
Movement is a positive way to oxygenate your body and increase the production of endorphins, or feel good brain chemicals. And following birth, it’s an important part of your recovery.
Exercise has shown to be an EFFECTIVE antidepressant!
Here are some gentle ways to decrease stress in your postpartum life.
Yoga: It helps to open the chest and can facilitate deep breathing work. There are plenty of classes/videos that involve both mom and baby during yoga, too.
Meditation and Relaxation: These two lifestyle additions may even be more effective than an antidepressant. Don’t know how to meditate? It’s simple. Start by asking your brain to focus only on breathing in and out, eyes closed, for 2 minutes. Sound short? It’s not! A wandering mind is a hard thing to harness. Start small and work from there.
Acupuncture: Realigning pressure points and touch points can help you find your balance again. Often, it can help rebalance your stress/hormone axis following delivery.
Massage: Healing touch is often helpful in recreating touch pathways that may have been abused from life’s stress. Vaginal massage pre-delivery is an effective way to decrease the risks of tearing as well!
Walking (baby/stroller in tow), Swimming (with baby counts, too), or Hiking (baby on back): Mild-moderate, 20-30 minutes, 5-7 days a week, is all you need to keep your whole being centered.
Remember that you don’t have to be perfect! Know that every effort that you make toward including more movement in your life will improve your stress response and help you move through your postpartum period in a balanced way. If you think of more ways to include movement in your life that work for you, then by all means include them! Give yourself the grace that your body needs right now.
You will soon feel like your new Mama-self again!
If including relaxation techniques and movement doesn’t seem to be helping your postpartum blues, please contact your Primary Care Physician, OB/GYN, or midwife. They will be able to immediately address your individual needs.
Have a Happy and Healthy Day,
Posted on Apr 23, 2015