The winter blues. When the season cools and the daylight lessens, sometimes we find that we don’t have our usual energy, agitated and depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is set off by seasons. It typically appears in the fall and winter and goes away in the spring or summer. Diagnosis may take up to 2 years to see a pattern. So how can you remedy or at least get through the seasons?
Therapies for Seasonal Affective Disorder
There are some therapies that have been effective in treating SAD. I will mention just a few here.
This therapy has been used for a few decades. It involves sitting in front of a light box, which filter out the ultraviolet rays and require 20-60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white fluorescent light. This level of energy emulates a bright sunny day. Who doesn’t feel good on a sunny day. Treatment is once a day for 20-60 minutes in the morning until spring comes around. Price can start at $25 to $600. This is a great therapy that is easily accessible.
Finding a professional therapist to talk through the season to help you build an actionable plan to help cope with the season. Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy has been adapted for use with SAD (CBT-SAD). CBT-SAD relies on basic techniques of CBT such as identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts along with a technique called behavioral activation. You can find what activities best engage you and give you pleasure. Working with a therapist proficient in understanding SAD you may find that you need medication and they can help you find the best option for you such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), bupropion, another type of antidepressant, for treating SAD.
There are mixed reviews on vitamin D being useful for treating SAD. I for one find it effective, but perhaps in combination with these therapies above you can get good results. It never hurts to up your vitamin D whether in supplement form or upping you intake in vitamin D rich foods, and or getting plenty of outdoor time (yes even in winter) for some sunshine and exercise.
I think you knew this was coming. Massage has a rich evidence in helping alleviate depressive symptoms. How it works? It decreases the cortisol in the body that cause stress. It increases a person’s ability to get some good sleep which further reduces stress and anxiety. It has been shown in studies to be effective in alleviating Seasonal Affective disorder.
Find Your Joy Again
So now you have a battle plan. Eat well, exercise, have a person to talk to, get sunshine real or the electrical kind, take the medicine if you need it, and get regular massages through out the season. Do the things that bring you joy. Experiment in what activities you find refresh and de stress you and keep on doing it.
Reverse Kegel – The unsung hero of pelvic wellness. If you have pelvic pain and leakage and you are doing the usual recommend Kegel strengthening exercises, but are finding worsening pain or no results, you might be a candidate for reverse Kegel program. Pelvic pain may be caused by shortened pelvic floor muscles and possible trigger points. Kegel exercises would just further shorten those already tight muscles. So reverse Kegel is ideal for lengthening and releasing the pelvic floor muscles.
Incorporating diaphragmatic breathing and various positions to facilitate lengthening of the pelvic floor muscles you can find your way back to pelvic wellness. Depending on how long you have had this pain, you may need patience with yourself. A lot of us are holding our pelvic floor muscles and have been for years without being aware of it. It will take patience ad practice. Reverse Kegel’s need the art of letting go!
Seek a professional to help you on your way to pelvic wellness. I am taking clients to work externally with those with diagnosed pelvic issues. Working a pelvic wellness program into your massage session. DM if you are interested. Or if you’d like suggestions for local Physical therapists and other practitioner’s I’d be happy to guide you.
So, I thought I would start sharing some natural wellness tips that have helped my family with you to help you and your families. I’ll try to be consistent with these, but you know life happens. So on to my first tip.
‘Tis the season for all kinds of infections and illness. One of which is the bane of moms everywhere. The dreaded ear infection. It is painful and can cause our little ones such discomfort and tears. Which may lead to mom shedding tears because they can’t get their baby comfortable. One way to help give some almost instant relief is a salt compress.
Why It Works
So salt has been in media for a while now for its healing properties, from salt lamps to salt caves. There are some lovely benefits. The salt, particularly Himalayan salt, holds the heat well, it can draw out fluids in the ear, and is purported to have ionic properties. If you add lavender to the mix you get an anti-inflammatory and nervine benefit. So how?
Get a cotton sock
Fill with 1/2 cup of salt either sea salt or Himalayan
Add lavender flowers or a few drops of lavender essential oil
Heat the sock in a pan for a 3-5 minutes or microwave for 30 seconds. Check the temperature like you would baby’s bath with your hand so you don’t burn yourself. Apply to your troublesome ear and repeat as needed.
There are actually some lovely herbal remedies for earaches and infections but that is for another time.
I hope you find this helpful and if you have a health issue you’d like natural remedies let me know.
Sometimes I get by with a little help from my plant friends. Slumber should be sweet tonight. These plants are great for insomnia anxiety and restless nights. They have a slight bitter taste but I love that. You could jazz it up with rose petals, another fave of mine, or lavender. Also, stay away from the electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed and keep the lights low around the home before bed so your body gets the message that its time to sleep. Do you have a favorite pre-bed routine. It’s not just for little ones. Grown ups need a bedtime routine too. –
Here my favorite herbs are passionflower, hops, skullcap, and catnip. Or you could get a good quality chamomile tea. The key to making a medicinal tea is to steep it for at least 20 minutes. You can really benefit from the regular use of herbal teas in your wellness regimen. If you have any questions about herbs just drop me an email.
Mothering can be lonely and hard. You work countless hours caring for your little one(s). How can we counter this feeling? Mom groups. Some love interacting with other women in person. Some introvert moms prefer one on one. And because of time constraints or demographic logistics online groups are their best option.
Whatever it is we need more of them. These groups help moms to have a safe space to voice their hearts concern without fear of judgment. To hear from other moms how they’ve overcome challenges.
I’m starting an online Mothers collective soon to do my part. If you’d like to join the beta group at a highly discounted price, please contact me and tell me more about your concerns and needs. Love Dee! 💖
Nourished Mothers Collective
Postpartum support through education, non-judgmental online group, and more. Prepare for motherhood and learn to nourish your heart, body, and mind. Join this Beta Group for a deep savings of $200.
We are constantly on the move. Solving problems, meeting challenges, reaching goals, perhaps even running a small business and shouting the mantra #hustleharder! When you are in those first few weeks there is no greater struggle I see as a postpartum doula than the shift of mindset from constant movement in the mind, heart, and body to the slow living the 4th trimester deserves. Your whole being was poured out in the birthing of your little one. To quote a very common phrase, you can’t pour from an empty cup. To make the mind shift, it will take practice and pregnancy is the best time to practice stilling your mind.
If you’d like to learn more about postpartum support and how I can help you transition into motherhood, please email me at Dee@ebbandflowbirth.com.
If you’re not in the area but are looking for support I have a beta online cohort if you will that will take you through postpartum challenges and holistic practices to heal your best. The program is called Nourished Mother Collective. Live weekly group calls and exclusive membership for 12-months. Feel free to email if you’d like to learn more.
When we look at a portrait of postpartum and what the ideal is, it is simple. Yet it is hard. Feeding your baby does not always come naturally, breastfeeding is not always desired and you may face challenges with bottle feeding, tongue ties, lip ties, or premature birth pose challenges. Being fed well as a new mother sounds easy enough but we don’t always have family near by to help, or your new to the area you birthed in. The last thing you should be doing is cooking three meals a day and washing dishes etc. What can you do to meet the challenges as they arise? Plan, gather support, local professionals and resources,and learn all you can about the challenges before your baby arrives. If you’d like help in your 4th trimester email me for more information. email@example.com #planyourpostpartum #postpartummatters #nourishedmotherscollective #postpartumeducation #firstfortydays #newbornmother #findyourhelpers
Amniotic fluid is the liquid that is within the amnion or the membrane that holds the baby. Also known as waters. So when you hear the term her water broke, that is amniotic fluids. It serves as a cushioning to protect baby from external movements for shock absorbtion. This fluid also does a lot more. It also a source of nutrients, water, and biochemicals from mom to baby. As the baby grows, the fluid allows free movement allowing baby to do those acrobatic acts they like to do in utero. This helps their muscles and bones to develop. Also, when baby swallows this assists in the baby’s gastrointestinal development. It also helps keep baby’s body temperature just right.
What’s it made of?
It’s made mostly of water and electrolytes early in pregnancy. Later on it also contains, proteins, carbs, lipids, phospholipids, and urea. These “ingredients” help your baby in its development. So your body is making baby Gatorade of sorts. Plus it that’s where the baby’s urine comes from along with meconium (black sticky first poo after birth). Yes there is pee in there. It’s totally fine. How much is in there? Well, it increases with the growth of baby. It peaks at about 800 ml and decreases to 400 ml by week 42.
Where does it all come from?
It comes from moms plasma and later in the pregnancy baby contributes by urinating. This is why staying hydrated is key in pregnancy. You should drink at least 8 cups a day. You have an increase blood volume and are producing amniotic fluid. By the time of the birth you will have about 1 liter of water gushing out. Little known fact, the majority of births don’t see the waters break until baby is actually emerging. It is not as common to have a giant gush of waters and then baby. It happens, just not as often as people (the media) thinks it does.
Did you know that amniotic fluid can tell us a story. It is used to test for diseases and genetic anomalies. The amount excess or shortage can signal problems with baby or signal maternal issues. In labor, the color will signal whether baby has had a bowel movement which may or may not signal fetal distress.
To Break or Not to Break
Breaking of the water as mentioned before can be spontaneous in active labor or at the birth of baby. Sometimes a labor has gone on for a while with no “progress” and the provider may suggest rupturing your membranes. They may use a amnihook or amnicot. The amniohook kind of looks like a crochet hook. It is inserted and used to break the waters. The finger cot is the same except its a little finger cot with a bit of a hook on it. It does not hurt and mom may feel relief at the breaking of the waters. Some providers feel that this potentially will speed up progress. There is no real proof it actually does. It can potentially make it harder to cope with the labor pains since now instead of a cushion of water on the cervix, the baby’s head is not directly on the cervix, leading to the need for pain medication. It can be helpful if labor has been long and the provider wants to make sure there is no meconium is in the fluids. All in all though, it seems like it’s best to leave things alone if possible.
So that is it. That is a brief run down on amniotic fluids. Have a fun fact you’d like to share please comment. Did your water break before the baby came, leak during labor, or gush right at baby’s arrival?
You look in the mirror and see a new person. Welcome mother. Welcome to motherhood. Do you recognize her? Can you believe how much a little person has changed life? What now?
Enjoy the ever changing and evolving life of motherhood. It can feel like standing at a precipice. Whether you have waited a long time to get here or happened upon this path of mothering, you may feel overwhelm at the responsibility and uncertainty before you. Who am I now? How can I remain me and embrace this new sense of self?
Massage is a beautiful way to increase self awareness. As your body is massaged, you become aware of how each part of the body feels. Done regularly, massage can help you get to know your body well. This is so important because our body talks to us. It tells us the real story of what is going on in our lives. Tension in the shoulders, is it anxiety, am I slouching because of feeling sadness, am I aware of my posture when nursing my baby? Making a plan for massage as a part of your life is worth it. It has been found in research to decrease anxiety and depression in new mothers. Done regularly during the immediate postpartum phase and into that first year of postpartum can make a world of difference to a mother. It is not just six weeks to recovery. Postpartum affects our bodies and minds for years to come. Physically, the body is jumbled up so to speak from our growing baby being inside and postpartum abdominal massage can help to reorganize things. You have just run a marathon of birth and need to address areas of tension that have built up during labor. You carried a growing baby for 9 months and you will have postural changes. If you have had a Cesarean birth, this still applies to you momma. You will have scar tissue to be addressed and you need no less self-care than a woman who gave vaginal birth. With a plan of massage mother to baby interaction is more positive and helps baby grow well, have better social interactions, and just generally happier. Self-massage routine can be taught to mom so that in between her massage appointments she can still reap benefits. Plus she will know her body well, having a better awareness, and positive body view.
Committing to Yourself
Planning for postpartum massage should be a necessity for new moms. It is a normal part of cultures worldwide. Mothers are given massage daily in some cultures as well as baby. It is not stressed enough to take care of mother in our culture. This conversation needs to be heard more. That is my goal. The better cared for the mother is the better cared for the baby. We really all benefit when mom’s are cared for. Make it your commitment to be well, be cared for and thrive in your 4th trimester. Mom’s make the world go round!