How to Cope with Postpartum Anxiety on Top of OCD
OCD fills your mind with intrusive thoughts, convinces you that devastating things will happen if you don’t react in the right way. As a new parent, this might be difficult to deal with, especially when those thoughts surround your new child.
Postpartum anxiety doesn’t help either. That anxiety only adds to your OCD. You might be used to dealing with one of these issues alone, but you might be out of your depth when it comes to dealing with both of them at once. Hopefully, these tips will help you cope with this new, intense combination of anxieties.
Distract Your Mind
Sometimes, your anxiety and intrusive thoughts are so convincing you start to forget how unlikely they are. Trying to remind yourself of the facts doesn’t always help. You might end up engaged in a never-ending argument with your own brain.
So, instead of feeding into that loop, try distracting yourself. You can put music on or go for a walk. Maybe put on a movie or a show to help you get your mind off your thoughts. And, of course, you can try some grounding techniques, such as listing all the objects in a specific color that you can see, or engaging all your senses and separately listing the things you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.
It can be hard to find time to exercise when you’re taking care of a newborn, but regular movement can help your anxiety feel less intense. Maybe you and your baby can go for a walk, or you can try short, ten-minute yoga sequences at home. You can play a song you like and dance in your living room.
There are a lot of ways to keep somewhat active, even when most of your focus is on your child. You’ll see your anxiety become easier to bear the more you move throughout your day.
Try Relaxation Techniques
It might sound near impossible, but learning relaxation techniques can only be beneficial. You might have heard of meditation or deep breathing. You might be aware of some mindfulness techniques you can use throughout your day to calm the intensity of your anxiety and push back all distressing thoughts.
You can also engage in some self-care activities. It can be anything you like to do that normally relaxes you. You can run yourself a bath, or make yourself a hot drink you like. Any little thing that leaves you feeling calmer afterwards helps.
Raising a child is not easy, even when you don’t also struggle with OCD or postpartum anxiety. So, it’s only normal that you might need more help than most. And that’s perfectly understandable. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
If friends or family members offer to help you in any way, don’t be afraid to accept. Let them drive you where you need to go, babysit your child while you take a moment to yourself, bring you meals when you don’t have the time or energy to cook.
Don’t forget you’re not alone in this. You’re not the only new parent who struggles with mental health issues. So, look around, see if there are any support groups that you can join. There’s nothing more helpful than finding people who understand what you’re going through, and being able to share your experiences with them and listen to them in return. That kind of connection is invaluable.
And lastly, consider counseling. We can help you learn to cope with your new levels of anxiety. We can help you feel better about yourself and move throughout the world with more confidence, with less distress. There’s only one thing you have to do: reach out and make an appointment with us.
To learn more about how Mindful Reflections can help, check out our Postpartum Therapy page.
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