South Denver Psychotherapy: The Importance of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise: Part 1: Exercise.

There are those who have had a certain proclivity towards anxiety or depression from a very young age, and is something they must work with in their day to day—no matter how “good” things in their life may seem. In other cases, the effect of depression or anxiety can be more acute or situational.

Whatever the case may be—there are things one can do to mitigate the severity of the symptoms that may accompany these physiological imbalances. Of the many things one can do, sleep, diet and exercise are incredibly important in the balancing of mood.

This particular blog is part 1 of a 3-part series, and will focus on exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise

The movement and circulation alone will improve your mental state, and depending on how much exercise you can commit to each day/week, the aerobic effects as well as the endorphins will elevate your mood on a regular basis. Ideally, at least 3-4 times per week will make this type of routine most effective and balancing.

Frequency and Intensity

Exercise does not have to mean becoming an ultra-marathoner or creating an exercise routine that turns your daily schedule upside down—it can be something as simple as a 1-3 mile walk, a 30-minute jog, a 45-minute hike if you have nice hikes nearby, or a bike ride for 20-30 minutes (though if you can do more, great!) Ideally, while starting a new exercise routine can be a challenge at first, it should be something you can/will enjoy—if not at first, then, eventually.

Setting Realistic Goals

Regardless of how much you wind up exercising, start with a goal that is do-able, so you will be sure to stick with it. And of course, it needs to fit in with your other obligations like work etc—so, find a way to fit this into your daily routine. If you find yourself saying “but I don’t have time”, you may be surprised—often taking the break to exercise will make you more productive and less stressed in the other things that you have to do that day, thus it can be a time saver in the end. Or, if it means waking up a bit earlier to fit your exercise in—you may find that while it can be challenging to wake up earlier than usual, that inevitably your day will be better, and you will be glad you did, feeling more awake, alert and calm.

Balance is important

While exercising every day can have great benefit, be sure to always give yourself at least one rest day per week, if not two. Ideally, exercise should be an enhancement to your day to day, and not something to create more stress for you.

Also, tune in with your body and make sure you are not overdoing it. There is a fine line between pushing past your comfort zone and pushing yourself too hard. All the while, be gentle with yourself even if pushing yourself in a new routine.

As we have already mentioned in this mental health care blog, exercise is just one of many ways to work with balancing your mental health. There is no one action of self-care that will “solve” all of your problems—you can perfect your diet, increase your daily exercise, and be getting plenty of sleep—and still struggle immensely.

It may be that counseling is a support that may be needed in addition to these other elements of improved body health. And, if this is the case—South Denver Psychotherapy is here to support you. South Denver Psychotherapy offers counseling for women, counseling for men, relationship communication issues, teen counseling services, and more. Call South Denver Psychotherapy today to schedule an appointment, or check out our website for more information.

Tips to Counter Stay-at-Home Mom Depression

SAHM 2

In the last blog, we focused on identifying stay-at-home mom depression. It helps to realize that you are not alone in your experiences. So what can you do to counteract the depression? Here are a few tips to help you feel more accomplished about your day.

Don’t start your day without a shower!

With the baby crying all night, it may be hard to distinguish when your day actually started. But taking those short, 20 minutes to shower and put on jeans and a t-shirt can make you feel refreshed, clean and prepared for the day. It also opens up the option for you to leave during the day or have someone come over because getting yourself ready will be one less thing you have to do! Making this a priority every morning will do wonders for your self-esteem.

Create a schedule or a checklist.

You will be amazed at how scheduling your day changes the way you feel. If you have a schedule, you wake up every day with a purpose. We know that making an hourly schedule can be too hard with the baby’s needs. But what about assigning certain days to do things? Tuesdays can be laundry days, Wednesdays are for shopping and running errands, and so on.

If making and deciding a schedule is too daunting for you, write a checklist every night for the next day. Think about what you didn’t finish, what you may have the energy to do the next day, etc. They can be very small things, like emailing your Mom, folding half the laundry, or texting a friend. As you check off those items, your sense of accomplishment will increase.

Stop watching too much TV or spending too much time on the computer.

Wasting your precious alone time on watching TV will only make you feel less accomplished. There is truth in the addictiveness of TV watching and internet surfing and it is a true time thief and brain washer. Indulging in this will only add to the downward spiral of feeling lonely and unproductive. Never turn on the TV or open your laptop unless you have a specific purpose in mind. Use your extra time to read a book, go for a walk, read to your baby or go to a park. This is where a checklist is extra handy. When you feel the urge to turn on the TV, go to the checklist first and see if there is something productive that you can accomplish.

While these tips may seem simple, they will be a huge step forward in countering any stay-at-home mom depression. If you have any other tips to offer, leave a comment below! And if you need further help and suggestions, contact us for our counseling services in Centennial and surrounding areas.

Are You Experiencing Stay-at-Home Mom Blues?

Stay at home mom depression - Denver Psychologist

Having a baby is truly a joyous and fulfilling moment. However, what about the mundane days to follow? If you are a stay-at-home mom, this is quite a transition. On top of navigating the ropes of taking care of a baby, you also have the addition of lack of sleep, long open days with seemingly no finished tasks, being trapped at home, a drop in a social life and more.

Gallup recently conducted a study of more than 60,000 U.S. women between the ages of 18-64 years old. This study found that 28 percent of stay-at-home moms admitted to depression a lot of the day. This is in comparison to only 17 percent of employed moms reporting depression. 41 percent of the stay-at-home moms also reported worry, compared to only 34 percent of their working counterparts.

From this study, we can see that this is a real phenomenon. But what is causing it?

1) Sudden change in lifestyle

As we have mentioned, there is an immense amount of change in parent’s lives after a child is born. While they gain something wonderful, the loss of their friends, income, status and life as they knew it is every bit as real. In contrast to working a job, being a mom is also a lot of unpaid work. It is 365 days a year with no vacation time, no paid time off and no breaks. This can result in utter exhaustion, mental breakdowns and being overwhelmed.

2) Isolation factor

Once a women becomes a mom, there is an automatic difference between her and her “non-mom” friends. Their lack of understanding can cause isolation and isolation can contribute to feelings of anger and depression. Some days, moms can’t even get out of the house and that means they receive no adult interaction at all. As wonderful as children are, only having conversations with them can be extremely isolating.

3) Lack of a sense of accomplishment

In the working world, there are clear parameters, tasks and projects given. The work day has a start and end time and there are direct rewards to accomplished tasks. At home, the baby will continue to cry and need a diaper change, food still needs to be cooked, and the laundry and housework will keep piling up. This causes a great lack in a stay-at-home mom feeling appreciated, understood and connected.

The first step to help is recognizing that this is normal! In our next blog, we will discuss some tips to counter stay-at-home depression. If in the meantime you need help, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a Denver psychotherapist today.

Photo Credit

Adapting Female Identities to Include Their Dreams

With the many hats women wear these days, it’s no wonder females often lose their sense of identity while trying to adhere to societal standards.  Mothers who once pursued professional careers may find themselves wrapped up in the everyday lives of their children, thus neglecting personal hopes and dreams.  Young girls growing up with ambitious goals may fear chasing lofty careers because of outside pressures to be more “domestic.”  How can women identify which outside pressures are worth listening to, and which should be disregarded?  And where can women draw the line between balancing who they are as females and protecting their goals?

First, each woman must consider herself as an individual.  A thorough soul-searching session should produce a clear picture of what she wants in life.  If her goal is to be a lady in the workforce, paving entrepreneurial paths for herself and others, she should embrace it.

However, she must also consider herself as a family unit.  Who are the most important people in her life, and how can she incorporate them into her plans?  Oftentimes, there is a way to have one’s cake and eat it too, but there may be compromise involved.

For instance, in aiming to work for a Fortune 500 company, a single woman has virtually unlimited options.  The more domestic responsibilities a woman has, however, the more limitations she may encounter.  These, however, should not require her to forfeit every chance of having her dream job.  Even with children and a husband, a female can learn to forge a life she enjoys.  Without sacrificing dreams altogether, a modern woman can sit down and have a discussion with her support group—those whom she loves and who have her best interests at heart, not outside parties who blindly judge and condemn—and figure out how to make at least a portion of that dream come true.

The key is to consider all your options and choose the best course for you.  Then, block out all the voices that do not matter, and move forward in whatever plan of action works for you and your family.  Consider making South Denver Psychotherapy’s counseling services for women part of your network in helping you reach your goals, and call today to start becoming the best YOU possible.