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6 Ways to Fight the Winter Blues on Maternity Leave

Here are six things you can do to immediately to fight the winter blues on maternity leave. Improve your mood and send the dreaded winter funk packing!

You’ve waited nine months for maternity leave. It’s going to be great! It feels like you have all the time in the world to see and do, and experience. You’ll take your little babe everywhere and have such great photos for the Insta! Am I right? Case and point:

what to do with an infant in winter

 

Disclaimer: No babies caught a cold during the making of this post. This was a VERY short hunt. (And honey, for the record, we got a Frazier Fir!)

Something funny happens midway through maternity leave. You’re suddenly slapped in the face with the reality that time isn’t standing still. For me, it was when Liv started smiling around week six that I simultaneously started uncontrollably bawling my eyes out, realizing an end to my leave was looming.

The pressure to do and experience more with her while I had the time at home overwhelmed me. And somehow being alone with her (as much as I loved being with her) oddly enough also made me feel very isolated.

But it was chilly outside. And it was flu season. There was a measles outbreak. And now there is a weird China virus. Oh, and then there are the unruly strangers who insist on oohing and aahing and invading the invisible wall of personal space. (In the words of Stephanie Tanner, “How rude!”) 

 

What’s a mama to do on maternity leave during the winter to stay sane? 
How can you feel less isolated during the week when everyone else is at work? 
What can you possibly do with an infant in the winter? 

1. Bundle up and get some fresh air. Grab the hat Grandma knitted, the abundance of winter clothes you received, and one of the cozy blankets you have stockpiled from your baby shower. Make good use of the stroller so you can take the dog for a walk. Your little one will love the new stimulation of the outside world (or the bumpy movement and will nap). Eczema mama tip: Put some cream or Vaseline on your little one’s cheeks and face before you go out to keep baby skin from getting dry and chapped.

2. Go for a drive. If you strongly dislike the cold (as do I), there’s another way to get out of the house—go for a drive! There’s something about getting dressed and getting out of the house that puts me in a better mood. Make a game of it and see how many drive throughs you can hit. Or, need to get some shopping done but don’t feel like maneuvering items around a car seat? This also is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of car-side delivery service.

3. Make the baby carrier your new best friend. Using a Moby Wrap or another baby carrier while you’re out is a great way to keep ogling strangers at a distance. Take a stroll around HomeGoods or Target (my favorite because I knew they had a mother’s room if Olivia got fussy and needed to eat). Or, if your purse strings are tight and you want to avoid the temptation of retail therapy, visit the local bookstore or library for a children’s story hour. Barnes and Noble locations usually offer weekly story hours for infants.

Now, what can you do for YOU? Read on, mama …

4. Search for local mom groups. Chances are other mamas on maternity leave are in the same boat feeling restless and potentially weary of sick strangers. So, who better to hang out with than them? Motherly and BabyCenter offer suggestions for finding mom groups nearby. Additionally, local music classes and fitness classes such as Born Well offer great activities to meet new moms while boosting those endorphins!
 
5. Schedule lunch time Facetime dates. During the work week when maternity leave seems the loneliest, take advantage of everyone’s interest in keeping up with your little one. For instance, catch up with friends and family during a Facetime chat during lunch hour or a break. Chances are they’ll be chomping at the bit to sneak a peek at your growing babe or show him/her off to colleagues.
 
6. Change up your environment. For some reason when you’re home 24/7 you suddenly realize all of the things that are dysfunctional with your home. Or, that you want to change. Even if you’re on a tight budget (thanks, crappy maternity leave in America), small changes can make a big impact. Switch out the light bulbs for brighter ones that are natural light or soft white to help get you through the gloomy days. Pick out a new throw blanket to snuggle up with your little one. 
 

And fun fact: Did you know that the olfactory nerve is linked to the part of the brain that monitors memories and emotions? Research shows pleasant scents can improve your mood by 40 percent! So go ahead and pick out a new candle to light or essential oil to diffuse when you’re feeling blue. This Cedar Magnolia candle is a staple in our house.

Above all. it goes without saying that postpartum depression and seasonal depression are both very real conditions that should not be taken lightly. If you think you might be experiencing either of these conditions, reach out to your healthcare provider for professional support. Do not feel one bit ashamed. You are not alone, mama!

 

Until next time,

6 ways to fight the winter blues on maternity leave

 

 

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