“But you’re a stay at home mom, how could you be depressed!?”
“You get to do whatever you want all day, with the person you love the most, how could you be depressed!?”
I want to start our by saying that I absolutely love being a mother. I am so happy with how my life has positively changed since I got pregnant and had my daughter. I love being able to stay home with her and see her learn and grow everyday. However, that doesn’t mean I am no longer susceptible to depression. Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses. They do not discriminate.
I was diagnosed with depression about ten years ago. I had been on and off anti-depressants, but I have stayed on them for about two years now. Many people don’t like the idea of taking a pill to help you, but it is necessary in some cases, and I highly recommend speaking to your physician if it’s something you’d like to consider.
Before I became a mother it was honestly one of my dreams to be a stay at home mom and “housewife.” I loved the idea of being home with my children, taking care of the home, making it look beautiful, and cooking meals. However, when that dream became a reality, it was much different than what I had anticipated. It involves a lot of time, motivation, patience, and in many cases, a decreased level of self-care.
With that being said, stay at home mom depression is so real. Suddenly, life as you knew it is gone. You no longer prioritize your own needs, your own health and wellness, you no longer have time to shower every morning, you can’t go out with friends when you want, you can’t run a simple errand without planning ahead. You get so caught up in taking care of you child(ren) and family that you forget about your own needs. I think every mom has been there, and it is so easy to be dragged down by that. However, there are some really simple tips that you can implement into your everyday life as a stay at home mom to help fight against depression. I personally do these things, and when I do them regularly, I notice a big difference in my mood, outlook, and productivity.
If you live in Maine as well, or any place with a long, gloomy, and cold season, you might be lacking vitamin D. People who live in places like these are often vitamin D deficient from the lack of sun exposure. This helps explain SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is when you are depressed during the winter. I know that my depression is worse during winter. So by going outside you are getting more sun exposure and more vitamin D, and more happiness! Also, getting fresh air in your lungs, and tuning in to the beauty of nature can be really therapeutic. I love going to the beach during the Summer and listening to the waves.
It’s pretty well known now that exercise is scientifically proven to improve mood. It is all about those happy chemicals in our brain. When we exercise, we release endorphins, which makes us happy. Not only that, but exercise improves our body’s efficiency on a cellular level, helping to ensure that other systems in our body are working well. Exercise also gives us more energy. When depressed we feel so tired and lazy. Exercise can help get rid of that feeling! It seems a little odd, but moving more results in more energy. Have you ever started cleaning the house and then all of a sudden you’re on a cleaning rampage? I know that after I exercise I feel so great. I feel energized, motivated, and proud of myself!
Consider a reduction in your sugar consumption.
Not only has sugar consumption caused the obesity epidemic and rises in chronic disease, but it is also linked to depression. There are many scholarly articles that discuss this link. If you go to Google scholar and type in “depression and sugar” or something similar, tons of articles will pop up. They are reliable, scientific studies, proving the link between sugar consumption and depression. Some people may not know this, but eating a low-carb diet basically means you’re cutting out a ton of sugar from your diet. When I eat a low-carb diet, I definitely notice a difference in my mood. Cutting down on sugar would also help with any energy fluctuations you may struggle with.
Self-Care (You time).
Self-care is one of the first things to go when you become a mother. You no longer prioritize your own needs. You don’t control when you sleep, eat, shower, or get things done. Your child comes first and especially in the beginning, it’s extremely hard to prioritize your own needs at all. Now that my daughter is 1.5 years old I have a much easier time when it comes to getting things done and taking some time for myself.
Something that really helps me get things done or have time for myself is having my nana watch my daughter for four hours every Tuesday. She is my daughter’s great grandmother and she loves having her each week. If you have a family member or friend who can give you a few hours break once a week or so, you should definitely take advantage of that!
Another option is to have some you time once your child goes to sleep. Take a bath, put on a face mask, read a book, or simply cuddle up on the couch and watch a murder documentary!
Need something special for yourself when you’re with you child? You can go to your local coffee shop and get a coffee! Or go get yourself a bouquet to brighten up your home! There are really so many different options!
“Create your own sunshine.”
It’s sort of a corny quote, but it is exactly what you need to do when you live with depression. You need to create your own sunshine, or happiness, every single day! Often times when we are depressed we feel lethargic and lazy. Our ideal day would consist of naps and laying around in our sweatpants. Who can relate? However desirable that might sound, the best way to overcome this symptom of depression is to get up and get going. Start chipping away at your to do list and the rest will come easily.
Or you can get yourself up and do something you love. Do something you know will make you happy. For me that would be reading, going to the beach, taking a bath, or going to get an iced coffee. If you can’t think of something you love, you can hop on Pinterest and find new hobbies to try!
The point is that you cannot give into the depression. You have to fight against it. Maybe you’ll be moping around as you start your chores, but I bet within half an hour you will have a little more pep in your step than when you began! Try it out! A quote I really love for this is “productivity breeds productivity, laziness breeds laziness”.
Consider taking an anti-depressant.
Sometimes you just can’t overcome your depression on your own. I definitely suggest trying natural remedies at first, but do what you think is best for you! You should never be ashamed to ask for help. You should never be ashamed for seeking help and wanting to better yourself. I am on anti-depressants and I am proud of myself for that! It really makes a huge difference for me. If you think you are in need of anti-depressants you should schedule an appointment with your physician. There are so many options available!
I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to be happier in your day to day life! All of these suggestions are very doable in my opinion. I want to end by saying that you should never be ashamed of your feelings. If you are feeling hopeless then please reach out to somebody! Nobody is going to judge you or think badly of you for reaching out for help! It’s okay to feel things and to recognize some feelings as being a little too much sometimes.