It requires a lot of courage for any stay-at-home mom to be able to understand, let alone talk about, the depression she might be going through. The reason is there is a certain amount of guilt involved in admitting that you are a sad SAHM (stay-at-home mom). But the truth is feelings of depression are common to develop when you compromise your career, your profession, your hobbies and even your basic past time outings to take care of your kids by staying back at home. This depression mainly arises out of thoughts and feelings that you don’t get enough appreciation for sacrificing so much of your time and energy to take on this role.
Becoming a depressed SAHM can even make you feel that you are not a good mother, or just not doing your job of raising your kids well. You might even think that if you feel sad, it means you don’t love your kids as much as you should.
On top of that, some might even feel guilty or be made to feel guilty for not being able to keep the house neat and clean all the time. You are often too caught up in giving attention to your kids that the house might end up in a mess that they create, making it appear as if you have been doing nothing all day.
For a spouse who goes out to work everyday, it is difficult to comprehend how a day of his SAHM wife is like. He might come back home and complain how messy and unorganized she is. Such statements can come out very hurtful, especially if a woman is already depressed.
The truth is, most often than not, if you suffer from SAHM depression, you’ll have to overcome it yourself. It’s not productive to entirely rely on your spouse, or even a bunch of girl friends (though they do help a lot), to bring back the happiness and motivation within yourself, and accept that being a SAHM is just a temporary phase in your life.
Today, I’m here to write about few different strategies you can adopt to overcome depression as a stay-at-home mom. Even if not early on in your SAHM phase, you can try to adopt these once your kids are over 3 years of age.
Get out of bed
Even if you feel like staying in bed all day, get up, make your bed and get out of it. Get dressed, put on some makeup or do whatever your standard is to make yourself feel good. A common misconception is that if you’re not going anywhere, you don’t need to dress up or look good. Yes, staying in pajamas is very comforting in times when you’re down, but making it into a habit that doesn’t seem to go away can make you physically lazy. That in turn will eventually cause mental laziness and feelings of depression. So make sure you fix your timings right and start waking up early every morning.
Do some basic workout
It is hard to come out of the house and go to the gym as a stay-at-home mom. But you can certainly make a routine of doing some simple workouts at home. Whether you look up something on Youtube, try out the Beachbody on Demand workouts, or simply create your own exercise regime, do get some sweat on. This will really make you feel good in your body, and give you the boost to want to get back to your working life once your SAHM phase is over.
No matter how busy your day is with the little ones, utilize their nap times or perhaps their preschool timings to meditate for a while every single day. There are plenty of guided meditation sessions that you can pick from Youtube. In fact, one interesting thing that most of us don’t really believe is that you don’t necessarily need to know how exactly to meditate. Even if you choose not to use any website or app to get clear instructions on a meditation session, you can simply just sit, close your eyes and relax your mind for about half an hour each day. This kind of basic meditation will help you get into a healthier mindset.
Start a gratitude journal
One thing that helps to open doors and make you feel grateful for everything that you have done in the past is starting a gratitude journal. Take out some time to write down 3–4 things that you are grateful for each day or every alternate day. Whether it is stuff that happened in the past and you’re grateful for those experiences, or it’s something that you’re planning to get done in the future and feel happy about already, note down your happy and grateful feelings in a notebook (or in Word files on a computer, if you have access to one). Don’t just write to vent out your emotions, but focus on the positive feelings and things that bring those about. This will help in lifting up your vibration levels and making you feel a lot better about your life.
Unplug from social media
Sometimes when you’re on your social media or email, or even just browsing around randomly online, you might feel overwhelmed by all the notifications from websites or brands that are trying to get you to subscribe to them. That’s why, once in a while, it’s important to take a break from all this routine digital marketing stuff. Even if you cannot afford to go out on a trip and completely unplug yourself, just sit at home, watch your kids play, and unplug yourself from social media and all other online stuff. Pick up a book or start a craft, but leave the digital world behind for few hours. Doing this would actually help you feel more connected with what’s going on in your life.
Talk to your spouse
One of the most crucial ways of feeling happier is to talk to your partner. Tell your spouse that you are having feelings of depression. Let them know that you are struggling. Tell them how they can support you to feel better throughout this process.
Focus on yourself
Focusing on yourself pretty much sums up all the points mentioned above. Most of the times we feel depressed because we’re not happy with ourselves. By working on our health and fitness, sharing our feelings with our close ones, taking out time to unplug and meditate, and generally being active in anything that we do are all ways of shifting back the focus on ourselves and our lives. Since every individual works in their own unique way, you’ll need to figure out what suits you the most and helps you to overcome your depression the fastest.