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Mothers: Self-care and you

posted Sep 23, 2013, 4:54 PM by Megan Black   [ updated Sep 23, 2013, 4:57 PM by Tascheleia Marangoni ]


    Incorporating self-care into your life can help make positive changes around your health and happiness. However, life as a busy Mom makes self-care a difficult task to achieve, especially if you are suffering from a perinatal mood disorder. Nonetheless, although self-care may be difficult to do, it is not impossible to achieve. The key is “to start small and build onward.” Feeling better takes time, if you make one positive choice for yourself each and every day, you are certainly taking a step in the right direction.

    
    The NURSE program was created to help mothers nourish their brain, body and soul to enjoy life to its fullest. Most importantly, the program developed by women for women, which is significant as “females” are going to understand “other females” needs better. 

NURSE stands for…

N--> Nourishment and Needs

U--> Understanding your illness

R--> Rest and relaxation

S--> Spirituality

E--> Exercise

 

Nourishment and Needs

    Nourishment is important because our body and brain requires fuel to work properly. However when someone is faced with a perinatal mood disorder, eating habits may fall to the bottom of the priority list. You may overeat or more commonly, you may lack an appetite. The NURSE program does a great job breaking down healthy eating habits and the corresponding food groups, for example:

Learn more about the food groups by reading pages 38-39.

 

Understanding your illness

     Understanding yourself and your situation can increase your ability to care for yourself and others. The NURSE guide explains, “In your role as the mother of an infant, you wear the many hats of motherhood. These hats include being your baby’s protector, provider, nurturer, educator and pillar of strength. This may lead to unrealistic expectations that in order to be a good mother and fulfill these roles: you must be perfect, your baby must never be unhappy and that you must never make a mistake. These mistaken beliefs are common among mothers who experience depression in the postpartum period. Understanding how they affect your mood is an important step towards taking care of your brain.” The NURSE guide recommends that you take an inventory of your understanding of how you have experienced different stressors in your life and how they may have contributed to your mood disorder. For example:



Rest & Relaxation

    Stress, anxiety, and depression often disrupt sleep, but this sleep disruption can lead to even more anxiety and depression. Sleep difficulties are both a cause and an effect of mood problems. Getting a proper amount of sleep is so important because it is during sleep that the brains bio-chemically resets itself, allowing hormones, neurotransmitters, and peptides to replenish themselves. (Proper sleep= 5 hours minimum of uninterrupted rest)

Here are some tips to get some rest:


    Creating time for relaxation is also important. Learning to relax is an essential part of treatment and recovery for women who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and acute panic attacks. How do you relax?

Spirituality

    The NURSE guide explains, “Spirituality can be any experiences that help you to feel uplifted and joyful. For some people attending their church, synagogue or temple is spiritually uplifting or comforting. Other people may find tranquility and comfort in places in nature or beautiful spaces such as a garden, a special room or sacred building.Relationships, solitude, appreciation of nature, creative endeavours, music, keeping a journal or other reflective practices can all nourish the soul.” The NURSE guide recommended making a list of the spiritual experiences that have been enriching or comforting.

For example:




Exercise

    Research shows that regular physical activity is related to improved mental and physical well-being. The literature states that physically fit people are at less risk of developing depression, and that regular exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. However sticking to an exercise plan can be challenging. The guide provides some great tips to pick a type of activity and how stick to it!


Reference:

http://www.mamashine.net/motherhood-stress-why-we-resist-self-care/

http://www.bcapop.ca/uploads/9/9/0/1/9901389/reproductivementalhealthselfcareguide.pdf

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm

http://www.thefreedomexperiment.com/2011/10/28/55-gentle-ways-to-take-care-of-yourself-when-youre-busy-busy-busy/

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