Being a mom is hard work, and can be very exhausting. Moms love their families and children. And in return often also neglect themselves.
Mom’s bodies also go through so many changes throughout their lives. Alll the hormonal changes and healing that our bodies go through. From the time of the month, to trying to have a baby. Pregnancy, post partum, infertility treatments. Healing from delivering a baby. To nursing a baby. Chronic lack of sleep. These aren’t just small little things we go through.
For example most surgeries require extensive rest and recovery. Yet as moms we often come home after two days, with a body in full post surgery recovery, and a bundle of joy that requires attention 24/7.
I am not a doctor so talking about the science behind depression is not my job. Neither can I recommend medication or therapy. Extremely important.
But what I can recommend to fight mom depression or mom burnout, are daily habits that many moms seem to universally neglect and are desperately needed to maintain good brain health.
- Get out and move
Life can get busy, and especially during winter going out and getting some fresh air and some vitamin D can seem like another chore on our to do list.
Being active, moving around are the type of to-do-list items that are hard to do prior to, but one always thanks themselves for doing them after the fact.
Sometimes we have been home for so long we don’t even realize our mood is gradually dealing until we feel really down.
Being out, exercising, going for a walk. Getting the oxygen flowing in our veins and brain are a must. Especially as a way to have personal time and have some time to think and recharge, movement is a great mood booster.
- Make sure you are eating right
Moms spend so much time feeding others they don’t realize they neglect all of their nutritional needs along the way. This can lead to chronic fatigue, sleepiness, mood changes. It can compromise our metabolism, make us gain weight. Poor nutrition is like slowly depositing toxins inside our bodies. One does’t notice until all these negative symptoms start appearing. Depression is linked to poor nutrition as well. Our brain can’t function well without the proper fuel. Neither can our gut and our heart, and everything else.
As moms we need to remember we eat 5 servings of veggies and fruits a day. Push down more water. Avoid snacking. We need to turn to nutritious foods more than quick processed meals in order to keep our machine well oiled and prepared for each and every day. After all what we do is a daily marathon.
- Remember suffering is hard but it makes you more compassionate
When life get tough or I just can’t avoid feeling sadness and depression. I remember that hard times make me more compassionate. I can turn my pain into a way to empathize for the times when my kids cry and have bad days. I can turn that pain into compassion I can show to other women who also struggle and go through hard times. Turn that love into a hug or a listening year. Become a friend that others can relate to, and that others can also confide in.
- Find time to organize your thoughts and face your fears
Spending time to dig deep as to everything that is bothering us is a great way to avoid having nasty thoughts distract us and trigger us throughout the day.
When we have too much going on in our head, it’s hard to be there for someone else. Our kids have so many problems too. As they get older they have so many thoughts and worries going on in their own mind. They come quickly for answers and can live just as fast if we aren’t there to answer. So making time to be mentally calm and meditate it’s essential. A great way to do this is first thing in hte morning. Or an afternoon quiet time for everyone. Whether it’s called nap time with little ones, or just quiet play time in the room. Moms need breaks too to decompress and organize their lives and their thoughts.
- Remember to stay for the whole journey
I recently watched a video from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The video depicted the story of a boy who had struggled with depression. He had moments where he no longer wanted to live. The video continued and showed snippets of the rest of his life. Him falling in love, getting married, having his first child, succeeding eventually with is career. And the phrase at the end of it all was, “I’m glad I stuck around.”
This sentence reminded me that we all suffer at times. But joy often follows the down times in life. No matter how intense the pain, and how deeply depressed one may be, that depression can go away and there are many good moments to be had in the future. We can feel and see the sunshine again.
I remember suffering from moments of depression, where I did not think I was ever going to heal. I thought my state was permanent and that this sad hurt person would remain this way for the rest of my life here on earth. But that was not the case.
We may suffer quite a bit at times during this life, whether because we are depressed or because hard times come by. I have learned that after those dark moments, there is light… and clarity. Bright and vivid moments await for us where we can feel the love of God, and see His light and love will be shining upon us. I often can’t quite pinpoint those moments until I look back, because they are so simple. Small actions from strangers, a hug or a kind word from my husband, a good moment with one of my kids.
Joy always comes like the sun after the rain. Stay for the whole journey!
- Make plans to do things you enjoy
I often ask my mom friends if they have a list of at least 10 things they like to do. The majority of them will tell they can’t even think of 1. Why do we do this to ourselves? It’s like asking to slowly sentence ourselves to a depressed life. We aren’t doing our children any favor my showing them that life is all work and no fun. And a very unhappy mom does’t make our kids want to emulate our life either.
Life’s rewards come from hard work, but life is also meant to be enjoyed! If we run too fast we will burnout at some point.
Moms need vacations too. Moms need a night out with friends. Moms need an artistic outlet. Moms need shopping therapy. A beauty day. A pampering day. A walk with friend. Drinks night out even if alone. Moms need a break from their life sometimes to remember who they are and that they deserve to have fun too.