Mental Health Check: Navigating Postpartum during COVID-19 Wave 2.0

I’m going to be real with you for a minute. Times are tough. Dealing with postpartum challenges plus the brutal 2nd wave of COVID has taken a toll on my mental health. I’ve had days where I’ve broken down for no reason, questioned my abilities as a new mom, and just got so fed up with the situation. Hearing and dealing with the 2nd wave was truly disheartening. From hearing about the shortages and urgency of the issue to the idea of needing to stay home for the greater good, to US rightfully restricting travel from India-it’s depressing. Depressing to the point that I keep wondering how and where to raise Aisha so she has a happy “normal” childhood.

Despite going through those emotions, I know that I have to ride it out and come out the other side for the benefit of my daughter. Through everything, simply looking at her makes everything go away, and that is a beautiful feeling. However, hanging out with Aisha is not the only thing I am doing help my mental health. In fact, to take care of her, I had to put me first-make myself feel better, and that’s what I did. So below are a few mental health and self care practices I am currently doing to make sense of the larger situation.

Walks-I’m so grateful that every morning after my first pump of the day, I’m able to take a walk in my front lawn to just start the day. The weather isn’t the best but it is a very peaceful way to begin. I manage to walk for about 15-20 minutes before my daughter wakes up and that is definitely a bonus.

Hair and MakeupI’m a new mom and I’m home all day. Those two reasons alone make dolling up less of a priority. However, choosing my outfit and doing my hair and makeup makes me feel so normal and good about myself. I did an experiment a couple days where I just didn’t do my hair or makeup and honestly I felt really icky. Therefore, a small act of simply putting on a matching lipstick or straightening my hair just makes me feel good.

Meditation-One of the activities I manage to do on my walk. As I’ve mentioned before, I use the app Shine for my daily meditation. I get something to listen to, a few minutes to reflect, and a few minutes to express gratitude. On days like these, expressing gratitude can be quite challenging. Nevertheless, being able to do it shifts the mind and creates a more positive start to the day.

Netflix & Chill-I have no idea why this is the case, but I do need an hour or so where I’m just watching TV and not thinking. At first I would feel guilty about this activity, but being able to “do nothing” just helped me feel more rested for the days up ahead.

Avoid Over Posting-So with social media, the posts are constant about COVID-people asking for help, sharing resources, and coming together. It’s a wonderful way to use the platforms, but to me it’s honestly overwhelming and triggers my anxiety. I’m aware of the gravity of the situation. but I don’t want to see cremation grounds burning or people begging for oxygen cylinders. Why? Because it makes me more anxious and it stresses me out. Therefore, I choose not to share those images. And then when it comes to people asking for help: I’d love to help everyone, but unfortunately how do I know it’s a true lead and not a fake one? For me that gets challenging. Therefore I’m trying my best to make my content relevant to my day-to-day, yet create a positive space for people to visit. If seeing such horrible things makes me anxious, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

So those are a few small practices I’m doing for my mental well being and sanity. As I mentioned before, these times aren’t easy but any small thing we can do to boost our mood, we should definitely do it. The logic is simple: the better we feel, the more positive impact we have on others, and the better everyone feels overall. So join the ricochet effect!

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