Postnatal Depression: Me time, motivation and happy hormones!
I recently wrote a guest post for Anna over on her fabulous blog Squats, Sass and Saggy Skin discussing my thoughts on Postnatal Depression, medication, diet and exercise. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me too on her thoughts on the same subject.
Postnatal Depression is confounded by many factors and mum guilt can run far deeper than worrying about serving up the right meals for your little one. Anna tells us about the importance diet and exercise can have on the recovery and prevention of PND. Read about the fab tips she has for getting going.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi😊 I’m Anna. Originally from Hull, but now living in Northern Ireland with my hubby and two little boys. I am a qualified fitness instructor and pre and postnatal specialist with a degree in health sciences. I currently work in a community pharmacy.
What prompted you to become a fitness instructor and specialise in perinatal fitness?
I love fitness, love exercise, love being active and always have since being very young. I trained as a fitness instructor soon after school. But didn’t choose to specialise until after the birth of my second little boy, when exercise really saved me from a dark place! It became my therapy and I wanted to learn more about this side of things.
How do you think diet can be beneficial to sufferers of PND?
Absolutely! Diet has a huge effect on the way you feel. A highly processed diet can leave you feeling sluggish and fed up. A healthy, well balanced diet with lots of water and fresh veg can really improve your energy levels, self esteem and make you feel a lot more in control. Personally, coffee and sugar have a negative effect on my anxiety.
How do you think exercise can be beneficial to sufferers of PND?
Physically doing exercise releases ‘happy hormones’ that came improve mood and clear your mind. However, I believe it’s more than that. Working out for me is ‘me time’ that 15-30mins that’s about me, what I want and what I am capable of, outside of being a mum. If you can get out to a club or bootcamp and meet other mums that can be hugely positive too. Exercise doesn’t have to be sweating it out alone at the gym; look into local netball or rounders clubs that mean you have to commit and turn up at a certain time each week.
How could mums who don’t have childcare options incorporate exercise into their daily routine?
I would definitely recommend Investing in a kettlebell! Pre-children I used to spend two hours a day at the gym! Now I can get the same results in 20mins at home with a kettlebell during nap time or when the boys are in bed! They are cheap, easy to find, small to store and the only piece of equipment you need to an intense full body, fun, workout. Or get them involved, my boys love working out with me. My eldest joins in and my youngest acts as a weight! (a wiggly weight at that) Also try to include extra activity in your day, walk instead of driving, take the stairs; Run, jump play with your children!
How would you encourage a mum who thinks she has PND or has been recently diagnosed with PND to take up exercise?
Start small, set yourself sensible, achievable goals and stick to them. Ask your partner or a friend to be your training buddy to keep you accountable and motivate each other. Maybe sign up to local park runs or charity events. A lot of GPs run schemes with council gyms to help get you started. Celebrate small wins!
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