Postpartum depression isn't generally a condition that you can treat on your own — but you can do some things for yourself that build on your treatment plan and help speed recovery.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Include physical activity, such as a walk with your baby, in your daily routine. Eat healthy foods, and avoid alcohol.
- Set realistic expectations. Don't pressure yourself to do everything. Scale back your expectations for the perfect household. Do what you can and leave the rest. Ask for help when you need it.
- Make time for yourself. If you feel like the world is coming down around you, take some time for yourself. Get dressed, leave the house, and visit a friend or run an errand. Or schedule some time alone with your partner.
- Respond positively. When faced with a negative situation, focus on keeping your thoughts positive. Even if an unwanted situation doesn't change, you can change the way you think and behave in response to it — a brief course of cognitive behavioral therapy may help you learn how to do this.
- Avoid isolation. Talk with your partner, family and friends about how you're feeling. Ask other mothers about their experiences. Ask your doctor about local support groups for new moms or women who have postpartum depression.
Remember, the best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself.
Sept. 11, 2012
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- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 22, 2012.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 27, 2012.
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