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Getting Through The Holidays With A Perinatal Mood Disorder

posted Dec 8, 2014, 7:50 AM by AndrewandSarah Witzel
The holidays can be a fun and relaxing time, but there is often a component of stress and anxiety, especially when suffering from a mood disorder. My daughter was only about 8 weeks old during my first postpartum Christmas. I remember being rather ticked off at all the Christmas hymns that sang about baby Jesus sleeping peacefully - there wasn't a lot of sleep or peace in my household at that time. Here are a few thoughts about surviving the holiday season.

Say No: You don’t have to attend every party, family gathering, community/school event, or volunteer opportunity. One of the symptoms of depression is not getting enjoyment out of activities like you used to. Top that off with fatigue and irritability, and it’s no wonder that Christmas activities don’t always sound appealing. Give yourself permission to say no and limit your schedule.

Make it easy on yourself: Shop online instead of pushing through crowds. Buy cookies from the store instead of spending hours on a batch from scratch. Skip putting up your lights outside if you don’t really want to do it. Part of parenthood is taking some shortcuts and letting go of perfection. Spend your time how it will best nurture yourself and your family.

Keep a Routine: With gatherings and parties, it can be easy to have too much caffeine and alcohol, and not enough sleep. Remember that caring for your physical needs is important for good mental health. Continue taking the time to sleep, eat well, and exercise. Limit your caffeine and alcohol to avoid exacerbating your mood disorder.