10 Tools for dealing with feelings of depression and anxiety
If you’ve followed along with my experience with Postnatal Depression and Anxiety [Part One & Part Two], you would know what a tough place I was in late last year. I was feeling completely overwhelmed with day to day life and felt defeated by parenthood. To cut a long story short, the PND escalated so badly that I spent 4 nights in a Mother and Baby psychiatric unit (MBU). It was a very low moment for me, and it has taken me a lot of time and courage to be able to speak out about it. My short stint at the MBU taught me so much about slowing down and learning to deal with and overcome my depression and anxiety.
Since sharing my story, I’ve been contacted by so many women asking what the turning point was, and what I do now to keep on top of my mental wellbeing. So here are a few tools for you to keep in mind, most of which I am going to elaborate on in a lot more detail in future blog posts!
10 TOOLS FOR DEALING WITH FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY:
“The intentional promotion of the things we most value, and the removal of anything that distracts us from it”. Implementing minimalism in my life has hands down had the most impact out of anything else. I cannot wait to share so much more about how you too can include minimalism in your life!
Stop, and take 3 BIG breaths! In through your nose and out through your mouth. There are a few different breathing techniques, so find one that works well for your and roll with it. I can’t count the number of meltdowns I’ve avoided simply by remembering to breathe and focussing my attention on that.
A much better alternative to “traditional” meditation for us anxious people! Rather than clearing the mind of thoughts (impossible, if you ask me) mindfulness focuses on being present and acknowledging how and what you’re thinking and feeling. Accepting my thoughts as just that – thoughts, and letting them pass rather than dwelling on them has made a profound impact on my mental health.
4. Setting boundaries in the house (playroom)
We turned our guest room into the kids playroom (with a pull out day bed), which means that their toys are contained to one room of the house! Setting this boundary meant that I no longer spend the entire day going from room to room cleaning up behind them. The kitchen is now a space for cooking, their bedrooms are for sleeping, and they’re free to play as much as they like in their playroom! Hot tip, I put a baby gate across the door which definitely helps with keeping the mess contained! Our playroom has done wonders for my anxiety, and if you have the space to allocate to one I highly recommend you do too!
5. 30 minutes to clean up at the end of the day
Instead of staying up until early hours of the morning cleaning my house from top to bottom, I now allocate 30 minutes as soon as the kids go to bed, to cleaning up the house. I put a timer on my phone, and race around motivated to get as much done as I can. What isn’t completed in that time, can wait until the next day.
6. Prepping for the next day
I was finding that the morning rush to get out of the door was bringing a lot more stress and anxiety to my day than it needed to. If I know I have an early start ahead, I now set out mine and the kids outfits, prepare snacks and pack my baby bag the night before. Saves time rushing around in the morning and potentially leaving the house underprepared!
7. A “do nothing” day
The kids and I have a very busy schedule, and that’s exactly how I like it! We’re super social and love to get out of the house. But I was finding that I was cramming too much in to the week, and we were all getting burnt out. I now plan one day a week where we do absolutely nothing but chill out at home. We have a slow start in the morning, usually the kids will play in the playroom while I lay on the day bed and go in and out of sleep. We don’t often get changed out of our pjs, and if we do I let Charlie choose whatever she wants to wear. Sometimes I’ll potter around the house and do some cleaning, but I don’t put any pressure on myself and really take the day for the 3 of us to rest.
8. One “day off” a week
For me, this came in the form of hiring a nanny to look after the kids every Monday. I now have a day that I can use to book appointments, run errands, catch up with girlfriends to drink hot coffee, or just do nothing at all! Typically Monday’s tend to be my most productive day, which sets the tone for the rest of the week and frees up quality time to spend with the kids.
9. Mum friends
Finding a tribe of mothers who I can call on day or night for support, has made the world of a difference to my life! Nick and I had our kids fairly young, so a lot of our friends still don’t have children of their own. The week I left the MBU I attended my first “mothers group” meet up (Babes & Picnics). I walked head first in to a play date with a whole heap of strangers, who quickly became my friends, and I have never looked back. Having mothers who I can catch up with during the week days, people who just get where we’re at in life, they’re irreplaceable and I’m so grateful for them every second of every day.
Practicing bringing more gratitude in to my life, has reminded me of exactly how blessed I really am. I love to write, so I’m always writing down lists of things I’m grateful for. Over the dinner table every night we each state 3 things that we’ve been grateful for that day. Sometimes I’ll just sit and say “thank you” over and over in my head until I’m bursting with gratitude! What consumes your mind controls your life, interrupt anxiety and depression with gratitude.
I really hope that by implementing some of these strategies in to your life, you’ll be able to deal with any feelings of anxiety and depression that enters your life with more ease. I would love to hear from you if you have any other tools that you use that help to calm your mind!
Until next time,