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Mama’s Mental Health Monday


New mom Sleep tips

“What meditation can help you do is figure out when you cross the line between constructive anguish and useless rumination.” Dan Harris


“Constructive anguish vs. useless rumination…” This is a deep one, mamas.




A coworker shared this quote with my last week at work and we had a really great discussion about it, so it’s worth sharing here. We both have daily practices that help to keep us grounded and mindful throughout the day and we love to chat about our successes as well as our struggles as we walk the path.


While meditation isn’t necessarily about sleep, it is proven to help calm your “thinking brain”, (read: that voice that starts rattling off your to-do list as your stare bleary-eyed into the dark abyss wondering why you’re so exhausted but can’t fall asleep).


Having a nightly meditation practice has undoubtedly improved my sleep, something that I really struggled with when I first became a mom. Even after my kids started sleeping through the night, I would lie awake, watching the clock tick, taking hours to fall asleep, only to wake up to phantom baby cries, which would start the process over again (I see you, anxiety)..


Cue: medication.


I struggled with PPD/PPA after both kids, which triggered my sleep problems and caused a vicious cycle of depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritability.


I sat in a place of useless rumination day after day, panicking about the nighttime and being sad about being sad. After much support from my husband, mom, and sister, I chose to turn to constructive anguish and make some changes to help improve my mental health. I began seeing a therapist and taking daily medication to help with the symptoms of PPD/PPA.


The anguish was still feeling crappy, but I was being constructive in trying to make the situation better.


Cue: meditation.


Once I had my symptoms under control, I knew I had to work on my mental health at its core. I discovered the practice of meditation and started to use it as a tool to recognize when my constructive anguish was turning into useless rumination. My practice has evolved since those early days of first-time motherhood.


I now use meditation for a multitude of reasons: it calms me, I enjoy it, it helps with manifestation, it’s grounding, it helps me to go within and reflect, etc. etc.


At the advice of this dear friend/coworker of mine, I eventually set up a dedicated space where I could sit in meditation whenever I needed. This space is nothing fancy or elaborate- it’s in my closet!!


I often joke to my friends because this is one place I take refuge from my girls when I just need a 5 minute momming break. (I also hide all of my sweets in that closet, because life is all about balance).


This space is my happy place.


If you’re a parent struggling with your mental health, I encourage you today to change your mindset from useless rumination and take action towards getting help.


Taking that first step is SO HARD and it will look different than my path- it may not include medication or meditation, but whatever you do to take a step towards constructive anguish is a step in the right direction.


If you’re looking for mental health resources in the Northern NJ area and would like a referral, please send me a message.


Wishing you all the best in your journey towards improved mental health.


Rest Well,

Sarah


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