Tips to Manage Postpartum Anxiety: A 4-Part Series (Part 4: Connection)
Part 4: Connection
The final portion of this series focuses on connection, BIRTHFIT’s newest pillar, and how to foster support when dealing with postpartum anxiety. For more information on the symptoms of this disorder, check out Part 1 of this series.
Studies have shown that people who feel more connected to others tend to report fewer feelings of anxiety.(1) As hard as it can seem to pack up the kiddo or leave them with a sitter and get out of the house, finding ways to connect with others is key to maintaining perspective in your life when anxiety can make you feel like this current worry will last forever.
To set yourself up for a positive outing, we strongly recommend packing your diaper bag (with snacks and water for you too) the night before an activity and leaving yourself plenty of time the next day to get your kiddo(s) and yourself ready.
- Find a Local Class: BIRTHFIT is all over the country now. You just need to show up, and your coach and fellow mamas will have your back. Spare diapers, good movement practices, and a chance to share your experience in a safe space will all be available to you.
- Libraries: They often have free storytimes for various age groups, including infants/babies. It’s a no-fuss place to meet other moms with kiddos of the same age.
- Free Forest School: This is a national organization of playgroups organized by parents. Everyone meets up in a cool spot in nature, shares snacks, and lets the kids lead in outdoor exploration. Non-mobile kiddos enjoy tummy time in the outdoors. Just 20 minutes of time in nature has been shown to significantly lower the levels of stress hormones in the body.(2)
- Start a Facebook Group with Your Local Mom Friends: Let’s face it, it can be hard to coordinate napping and feeding schedules and actually make playdates happen. A small Facebook Group with other other moms in your area can be a great way to connect and set up playdates that fit with the ever-evolving schedules of all the moms.
- Baby Wearing Meetup Groups: Regardless of the carrier you use, there are groups all over that get together to try different wraps/slings and show one another how to use them. These tend to be monthly meet-ups at a local park.
- Set up a weekly call with someone: Could be a friend, relative, or co-worker that you trust. Let them know that you are struggling with anxiety and that this regular check-in will allow you both to remain connected – no matter how difficult this season is. This isn’t designed to be a free therapy session per se, but talking with others can often put your unfounded worries into perspective. It’s important to have someone to connect with that doesn’t require leaving the house, because, let’s face it, that isn’t always an option.
Set a realistic goal for how you are going to cultivate and maintain connection with those in your life. Maybe one phone call and one outing a week to start. As you start to see how these positive connections are affecting your level of anxiety, you will likely find ways to build more connections into your day-to-day life.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” This is so true of living with anxiety. It can feel impossible to imagine a life without worry, so don’t. Simply take a breath, return to the present, ASK FOR HELP, and trust that your healing journey will take you to a better place.
Tawny Linehan, BIRTHFIT Leaderwww.birthfitcoachtawny.com @birthfit_coachtawny
- “Connect To Thrive.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201208/connect-thrive.
- “Just 20 Minutes of Contact with Nature Will Lower Stress Hormone Levels, Reveals New Study.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 4 Apr. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404074915.htm.
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