ENGAGING IN PLEASANT ACTIVITIES CAN INCREASE MOOD AND IMPROVE RESILIENCE
Being pregnant or being a mother with young children can disrupt your normal activities and thinking.
Activities are linked to mood. When you feel down, it may be hard to find the energy to do healthy activities. But when you do activities, you are more likely to:
- Feel happier and healthier
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and your pregnancy
- Have healthy contact with other people
- Keep feeling good
In general, more positive activities lead to more helpful thoughts and feelings. Keep in mind that you have some choice in the kinds of thoughts and activities in which you engage.
When you do one activity, you often start a chain: one pleasant activity can lead to another positive activity, less negative thoughts, more positive feelings, and more contacts with other people.
CHOOSING PLEASANT ACTIVITIES
You should try to do several pleasant activities every day. Think about activities that you can do by yourself, with your baby or young child, for free, or quickly.
Choose some pleasant activities to do by yourself:
- You can control when you do them, and you aren’t dependent on anyone else.
- Doing an activity alone gives you time to think and enjoy your own thoughts.
Choose some pleasant activities to do with your baby or young child:
- Pleasant contacts with your child can often make you feel better.
- Your baby may increase your motivation to try new activities.
- Doing fun stuff with your baby can help you enjoy each other more, and can build and improve your relationship with your child.
Choose some pleasant activities that aren’t expensive or are free:
- You can do more of them.
- You won’t feel stressed because you are spending money.
- You can do them whether you have extra money or not.
Choose some pleasant activities that don’t take too much time:
- You can do more of them.
- They are useful when you are busy and can’t find a lot of free time.
- Brief activities give you a glimpse of the beauty of the world.
- Quick activities are something you can do while your child is napping or waiting for a bus.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF PLEASANT ACTIVITIES
Self-care activities are things that you do to take care of yourself and your life. It is very important that you take care of yourself so you can take care of your child. For example:
- Get enough sleep
- Plan your meals
- Drink enough water
- Exercise every day, even if it’s for only a few minutes.
Fun activities are simple, healthy things that bring you pleasure. Becoming a new parent can be overwhelming, but having fun is still important to your health. For example:
- Watch a movie with a friend
- Go for a walk
- Listen to music
- Watch a bird in a tree.
Learning activities give you a sense of accomplishment or of having learned to do something well. For example:
- Start an exercise program
- Finish your GED
- Take a class online or at a community college.
Meaningful activities fit with your values. They boost your healthy self-image and bring purpose to your life. For example:
- Be a good parent or friend
- Hold a steady job
- Let somebody else go first in line
- Participate in church, social, political, or community activities
- Bond with your baby or young child.
This information, and more, is available courtesy of:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Depression in Mothers: More Than the Blues—A Toolkit for Family Service Providers. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4878. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.
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