Beating the ‘baby blues’ with exercise
When you’re feeling a bit low and the pressures of being a new mum are piling up, try a spot of exercise to help shake the baby blues.
Although many of them are wary to admit to it, many new mums experience low moods and feel a little overwhelmed with the new responsibilities that motherhood brings during the immediate post natal period. Yes, it’s an amazing time in your life but it’s a trying one at times too and lack of sleep, hormones and taking on such a huge new role can take their toll.
Mental wellbeing, still often a taboo subject, is a serious issue and in many cases can be greatly improved by exercise. In fact, recent studies suggest that people who exercise are twice as likely to stave off depression as those who don’t.
Read my tips on how exercise can benefit your mental wellbeing…
After a sleepless night exercise is probably the last thing on your mind, especially if you are feeling a bit down and maybe even depressed. The hardest part of exercise for most people is finding the motivation. The best way to motivate yourself is to set a date and time of when your new regime will start. Make some small goals and stick to them, it only takes 3 weeks for your brain to adapt to a new routine, so if you can stick with it for this short time you will soon feel the benefits.
If you are experiencing baby blues and even suffering from post natal depression (PND), the release of endorphins that exercise provides can be a great way to naturally ‘treat’ how you are feeling. The fact that you are doing something positive about your wellbeing and helping regain your pre-pregnancy figure will also benefit your self-esteem.
One of the known symptoms of PND can be problems bonding with your baby. Baby can benefit when from the interaction when he/she becomes involved with your workout. If it is outdoors, they will also benefit from the fresh air! Studies have proved that fresh air can boost baby’s brain development, so no need for Mum to feel guilty about taking them along whilst they work out!
One of the most important things in the post natal period is finding time for you. How is that possible you are probably asking? The great thing about exercising with your baby, as we mentioned before, is that it not only provides an opportunity to interact with baby, but also means you are having your own time too. Even during buggy workouts/classes, your baby will benefit from being out and about, soaking up nature and breathing in the fresh air. You meanwhile, take control of your health and mental wellbeing whilst in a safe environment for the two of you.
The added bonus is that Mum has made the commitment to something, as well as shaping up and has the opportunity to meet new mums in a healthy way! Sharing stories and concerns about your baby whilst exercising can be just like therapy!
We’ve mentioned the benefits of exercise to mental wellbeing, and if it is simply a case of baby blues and perhaps mild depression, then exercise is great. However, for some women (1 in 7) PND can unfortunately become an issue. This can interfere with your happiness; experience as a new Mum and more importantly the bond with your baby. If you feel you may be suffering from PND, always seek professional advice from your GP or HV. So, if you feel that your moods are taking over your enjoyment as a Mum, get help.
Click here for more information on the signs, symptoms and treatments of post natal depression.
So to summarise, exercise can be hugely beneficial and effective in boosting moods and overall wellbeing, unless of course you are suffering from actual depression. As suggested above, if you are worried this may be an issue do seek the help you need. Once you have an actual plan in place, exercise will really help you get your life back on track and put some healthy practices in place for
yours and your baby’s future….
Exercise can be truly empowering!
Photography: Ed Yourdon @Flickr