Focus on Nutrition
Your first step should be taking an honest look at your diet. Your primary goal should be hitting all of your nutritional needs. Stress-eating is rarely healthy eating. More often than not, when we’re stressed out, we turn to high-fat, high-sugar foods that don’t really do much for our bodies other than satisfy a craving. When we’re hitting our nutritional goals, however, we’re less likely to feel those cravings in the first place.
Moreover, our bodies will be able to work at their best when we meet our nutritional needs. This makes us more energized, sharper, and less likely to get sick. If you’re not sure what your nutritional needs are, you can always hire a nutritionist. These pros will help you figure out exactly what your body needs, and they’ll help you come up with a diet plan that will enable you to reach your goals safely. Other freelance workers, such as professional trainers or yoga instructors, may be good resources as well.
Switching to healthier snacks, focusing on portion sizes, and making sure you have a nutritionally complete diet will make a massive difference. Ask your nutritionist to help you figure out some healthy recipes you can make with shelf-stable pantry items, so you have ideas when you’re between essential grocery trips.
With gyms closed, many of us have fallen off of our workout routines. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just mean you might gain a little more or lose some muscle. Exercise is vitally important for every aspect of health, from immune function to emotional well-being. When we stop working out, we’re more likely to experience the kinds of stress and anxiety that lead to overeating, leading to a vicious cycle.
Find ways to exercise either in your home or around your neighborhood. Going for a run, bike ride or hike is a great way to burn some calories while getting some safe, socially-distanced time outside of the house. You can also check out exercise videos on YouTube or virtual workout classes if you don’t have any good place to workout outside. Remember to listen to your body, and only workout after you’ve had the all-clear from your doctor. Postpartum bodies may take some time to get back to their pre-pregnancy fitness level, so go easy on yourself if you’re not quite where you want to be yet.
Seek Mental Health Care
The postpartum period is a difficult one emotionally. Mix a massive physical feat, huge life change, enormous hormone dump, and sleep deprivation together, and you have a potent cocktail for acute mental health issues. Throw a pandemic into the equation, and the odds of developing some level of emotional problems go even higher. Remember to keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, which can crop up anytime within the year following childbirth.
Even if you don’t think you have anything diagnosable going on, it may still be worth it to reach out to a mental health professional. Telehealth sessions are a great way to get some of the anxiety you might be feeling about the current situation off your chest. Moreover, they can give you coping mechanisms you can use to get through the tough times without turning to emotional eating.
Living in a postpartum body is tough in the best of times. You don’t feel like yourself, your body doesn’t work the way it used to, and you’re stressed out all the time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to lose too much, or too quickly. Find a safe, healthy plan that you can commit to, and be gentle with yourself along the way. Your body has done something amazing - treat it well.
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Guest blog courtesy of Elena Stewart