During normal circumstances even if you don’t have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it is common to feel a bit of the blues during and after the holidays, especially in Michigan where the skies are gray and the temperatures make outings a chore. Add to that COVID-19 affecting family and friend gatherings, and a pregnancy or a new baby on top of that, you really have to be honest with yourself and gage how you are handling everything. Some women float through and others start feeling down, anxious, tired, and find it difficult to sleep. If that sounds like you, please make an appointment with your OB/GYN to rule out prenatal or postpartum depression or SAD. If you are mentally healthy and just need a little pick me up during these dark days, below are a few of our suggestions.
Walk Outside – Unless it’s icy or unsafe, bundle yourself up and put on some good walking boots and provide your body a boost with some natural sunlight and endorphins. Remember you still need UVA/UVB protection in the wintertime.
Eat Healthy – Between Halloween and New Year’s, we often get in a bad habit of eating junk food. Try to limit the intake of sweets and remember to eat green, leafy vegetables as well as Omega 3s that contain fatty acids which are good for the heart and brain. If you are pregnant, only eat fish low in mercury like cod or salmon. Learn more about a healthy pregnancy diet.
Listen to Music – Music can impact your mood. Create a playlist with your favorite feel good songs to release dopamine; a brain chemical that makes you feel happy.
Meditate – Mindful meditation has been shown to lower anxiety. There are many yoga and meditation classes available online that you can choose from.
Talk – Sometimes just talking with a supportive friend or family member can make a world of difference. Set-up a Zoom meeting, so you can see each other face to face. Don’t underestimate the power of a good support system.
Cuddle Your Partner – Many of us are working from home and are with our partner and kids more than ever before. Don’t forget to use some of that time to cuddle. Long embraces can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and can even lower blood pressure.