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How to Cope with Postpartum Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We are experiencing a time like no other, with the world left wondering when things will return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 24, 2020
We are experiencing a time like no other, with the world left wondering when things will return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is causing a lot of stress for people, and creating high levels of anxiety all over. If you’ve just brought a baby into the world, you’re probably experiencing some of these feelings of anxiety, and wondering what to do. We’ve put together this article which covers ways you can cope with uncertain times and safely deal with anxious thoughts.
We’re all a little anxious these days, so give yourself a break!
It’s not easy being a new parent, especially when you’re getting used to caring for your baby during the global pandemic. While this probably isn’t how you imagined your postpartum time, it is the new reality. If you’ve been feeling a little more anxious than usual lately, you may be experiencing postpartum anxiety, which affects 10% of women. You might be experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety such as shortness of breath, increased heart rate, or dizziness, but you may also be experiencing an unending sense of worry and dread, as well as intrusive thoughts, and constant need for reassurance. Once you recognize that you may be experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to understand what doesn’t work in order to properly treat this issue.
Do not attempt to control the uncontrollable. Try to not focus on those things that are out of your control, such as spread of the pandemic. Trying to understand why this is happening is more likely to create more anxiety. Focus instead on things that you can control in your home and with your baby.
Don’t search for reassurance. Endless fact checking and reading articles about the pandemic are not going to help you stop it, nor will they give you the reassurance you’re looking for.
Confront your anxiety. Don’t try to avoid your anxiety, as this only tends to make it continue to resurface.
Not all fears are urgent. Just because you have a scary thought does not mean that it is urgent or that it needs to be dealt with immediately. Just because some thoughts are intrusive does not mean that they are urgent.
Ways to Deal with Anxiety
Tips to help you deal with postpartum anxiety
Having this time with your baby is important, but don’t forget that it is okay that you might be feeling a little more anxious these days. We’ve come up with a couple of ways you can actively work to reduce your anxious thoughts and connect to the here and now.
Do not avoid anxiety. By recognizing when we’re anxious and allowing it to happen for a time is actually quite helpful. This way you can learn to sit with uncomfortable thoughts, then simply let them pass.
Connect to the present. Notice how you are feeling here and now, and start to worry less about what the future holds.
Be flexible. Being rigid in our thoughts can increase anxiety, so try to practice softening up and allowing thoughts to happen, and simply pass on by.
Label. When you recognize when something is an intrusive thought, it can help your mind move on quicker.
Be kind to yourself. We’re all going through some uncertain times, so allow yourself to have these anxious thoughts, but understand that that’s all they are, thoughts.
It’s important for all of us to remember that much of our anxiety is stemming from circumstances that are out of our control. If you’re experiencing postpartum anxiety, take the time to practice some of these calming techniques and reconnect to the present moment.
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