Pregnancy and early childhood can be a stressful and overwhelming stage for families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, there are small actions you can take, called ‘self-care,’ to support your mental health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Self-care can include a wide range of behaviors, such as eating nourishing foods, taking part in activities you enjoy, or even taking some deep breaths. In this blog, we look at some resources you can use to begin your self-care journey.
Take a look at this video by the Early Childhood Partnership of Adams County (ECPAC) that provides information about the importance of self-care, and how parents can get started.
Mental health professionals and real parents talk about the steps you can take to support your mental health. Please note that this video was produced before the COVID-19 pandemic, so some of the suggested steps discussed will look different. With a bit of creativity, however, they can be just as effective. Here are a few take-aways:
- Stay connected. Communicate with friends, family, or other parents regularly about how you are feeling. While this is more of a challenge due to COVID-19, there are great ways to stay connected in a virtual or socially distanced way.
- Stay active. Go for walks, take the stairs, or try to find time for other activities you enjoy.
- Stay rested. If you can, sleep when your baby is sleeping or ask someone in your support network to help with the baby while you get some rest. We recognize that receiving in-person support from people outside your immediate family can be more difficult due to social distancing.
Seeking support from other parents who are experiencing the same stressors is a great way to practice self-care.
Here are a few resources to help you stay connected:
Apart but Not Alone – Pregnancy and Postpartum COVID-19 Support
This group aims to provide a safe space for pregnant and postpartum women to connect and share their experiences at this unprecedented time.
Circle of Parents: Colorado Chapter
This support group gives all parents the opportunity to build social connections with other parents. Circle of Parents groups are learning to connect online to prevent the community spread of COVID-19 in Colorado. Twice a week, any parent or caregiver in Colorado can connect online for a private video and telephone conference. Visit their webpage to learn more.
This interactive app provides a safe space for mothers, expectant mothers, and those trying to conceive to build friendships, ask questions, and find support.
Parentline is a free, online behavioral health service that offers brief, effective counseling through video chat and telephone to pregnant and postpartum families in Colorado with children up to age five. Call Parentline at 303-871-7935 or send them an email at GSPP.Parentline@du.edu.
We handpicked some helpful resources so you can start practicing self-care today.
Take a look:
Wellness Strategies for Moms with New Babies During COVID-19
This page, curated by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, has all of the information you need to stay well – both mentally and physically – during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Wellness Strategies in Pregnancy
This page, also developed by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, suggests strategies and ideas on how to gain some feeling of calm, preparation, and control during the era of COVID-19.
Emotional Wellness Self-Help Tool
This interactive app will support you through the life transition you are going through as a new or expecting parent. The Emotional Wellness Self-Help Tool supports your practice of self-care and helps you develop knowledge of signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety and when you should seek help.
The COVID Coach app was created for everyone, including Veterans and Service members, to support self-care and overall mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Features include: Education about coping during the pandemic, tools for self-care and to improve emotional well-being, trackers to check your mood and measure your growth toward personal goals, and graphs to visualize progress over time.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, increase focus, and improve sleep.
Headspace is a guided meditation app that will teach you the skills of meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day.
While practicing self-care can help reduce stress and support your mental wellbeing during the perinatal period, pregnancy and parenting comes with a flood of emotions that can be overwhelming.
Seeking help when you need it is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your baby.
Reaching out for support when needed is a sign of parenting strength.
If you or a loved one is looking for mental health or substance use counseling, visit Postpartum Support International or call PSI directly at 1 (800) 944-4773 to be connected to a Resource Coordinator.