Managing Postpartum Depression at Work or at Home
When I had my first child, there were not as many work-from-home options. With the global pandemic, more people have flexible work arrangements. I've had several work arrangements with my children. I've been a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, and a work-from-home mom. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. But regardless of your work situation, each one can present its own unique challenges if you have postpartum depression (PPD). You're going to have bad days, no matter what you do. The question is, how do you set yourself up for good mental health by managing PPD at work and home in spite of those bad days?
Managing PPD at Home
Develop a Routine
The nice thing about working or full-time parenting at home is that you have more flexibility. If I was having a bad day, I could at least stay in my pajamas. It wasn't a big deal when I ate lunch, and I could cry without anyone seeing me. The flip side, however, was that a lack of routine actually made me have more bad days. I struggled with lethargy, and I noticed my energy improved when I went back to working outside the home. The primary reason was because of the routine. If you work at home, develop those daily routines.
Go Outside Often
Getting outside was extremely helpful during my postpartum depression. In addition to the physical benefits of vitamin D, I was able to connect with the outside world. Even if it was a short drive to the bank, being able to interact with other humans face-to-face lifted my mood and took my mind off heavier things.
Managing PPD at Work
Ask for Help
In spite of my best efforts, there were days that knocked me down. That's the reality of postpartum depression, and that's why it's so important to ask for help. When I was working outside the home with two small children, I felt better in many ways. But I also needed more help. There were more moving parts. Having a support system of people who could help me with errands or my children was crucial. Having support at work can also make all the difference. If you feel comfortable doing so, you might communicate with your boss or a trusted colleague about your mental health. Take sick days if you need them. If you feel like you need to take a leave of absence or work from home, ask for that.
Rest When You Can
I struggled with low energy during my postpartum depression, but another common symptom is trouble sleeping. Both of these symptoms can interfere with work and parenting, so it's vital to get enough rest. I would take naps after work to help me recharge for the rest of the day. I would nap on the weekends when my children napped. Whatever rest I could get, it helped me save my mental and physical energy for work and for being a mom. That means saying no to entertainment or other plans, but feeling better was worth it.
Epperson, K. (2021, November 11). Managing Postpartum Depression at Work or at Home, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2021/11/managing-postpartum-depression-at-work-or-at-home