Maintaining a job and a career is an essential element that comprises a majority of people’s lives in the world. We work to provide for our family, make a difference in the world, or maybe because we love what we do and are so passionate about it.
Whatever it may be, work is integral to everyday life whether it is a summer job or life-long career postpartum depression and work.
That being said, transitioning and balancing work after becoming a new parent can be a delicate act and should be taken with a strong sense of self-awareness and support.
Parents face a new world of responsibilities after having a child and should be taken into serious consideration when getting back into work life. If not handled properly with a strong support system and an honest line of communication with family, friends, and work, postpartum mood disorders such as PPD can develop.
The majority of PPD cases usually arise within the first couple weeks to months after birth, but according to the Mayo Clinic it is not uncommon to affect a partner for up to a year to become a new parent.
With a long time period of PPD developing post-birth, being aware of the symptoms and navigating your entry back to work life is important in treating this condition effectively.
This article is aimed at bringing awareness into the world of how new parents transition back into work life and the role that PPD can play in doing so.
Impact of PostPartum Depression on Partners
As a new parent, a partner/father is responsible for supporting not just the newborn, but the mom as well, managing the household, and providing for their family through work. That can be a lot.
These new roles can be overwhelming and trigger stress, anxiety, and depression which can potentially turn into PPD. PPD affects up to 25% of partners within the first two months of becoming a parent.
This statistic alone is enough of a reason to be aware of the symptoms that PPD carry and how certain things in your daily life can manifest those feelings.
Having a strong support system and a heightened sense of awareness is a solid defence system for working through Postpartum depression, especially when starting to transition back into work.
Strategies for Balancing Postpartum Depression and Work
Now to get into the nitty gritty of navigating through Postpartum depression while maintaining a positive and healthy work life. These tactics can be beneficial in being able to create a strong support system, strengthening your self-awareness, being vulnerable, and developing effective routines and practices.
Having a keen and powerful sense of self-awareness is one of the foundational pieces to understanding your feelings, emotions, trigger points, and well-being.
There are several practices for working on your self-awareness.
- Journaling is very powerful in reflecting on and working through almost anything that comes up in life. Writing down your thoughts or trigger points can help process challenging moments and how to effectively work through them.
- Meditation is another excellent tool for developing self-awareness and presence with oneself. Even a few minutes every day has been proven to be effective in lowering stress and raising self-awareness.
- Breathing techniques are very useful in incorporating into everyday life whenever and wherever. Focusing on the breath with every inhale and exhale for at least 6 of them can ground your emotions and bring more presence to your well-being.
The beautiful thing about all of these practices is that they can be done at your work as they only require 5-10 minutes and some quiet time!
Developing a support network
Having a strong support system is paramount to making for a smooth transition to work while navigating Postpartum depression . This can be done through communication with your partner, family, friends, and co-workers about your feelings and what you are going through.
Having everyone on a similar page in regard to your needs and feelings will foster a stronger environment for help.
It will also become easier to ask for help from fellow co-workers as they will be in tune with your condition and be encouraged to support you along the way.
Seeking professional help such as a therapist, counsellor, or coach is a huge bonus to having a trustworthy, supportive, and beneficial person on your side helping you along the way with work and Postpartum depression.
Time management and prioritization techniques
Creating a plan to balance work and Postpartum depression through proper time management and prioritization techniques will relieve a lot of stress and that feeling of being burdened with too many things.
Properly scheduling your day will create an effective solution for prioritizing what tasks need to be accomplished first both at home and at work.
Having something laid out and on paper in front of you will boost your motivation and discipline in being able to stay on track with taking care of the important things effectively and efficiently.
Start by breaking things up into one-hour blocks and as you become more comfortable, you can get more detailed into 30-minute and even 15-minute blocks for tackling tasks.
Flexible work arrangements and accommodations
Understanding that you may not be able to jump right into your previous workload before you had a child and developed symptoms of PPD is very important in maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
Taking on the essential responsibilities and being able to create a comfortable environment to work in will boost your confidence in your work mentality.
If you can transition back into work starting at a 60-70% workload and slowly building back to 100% over time, this will alleviate the weight of PPD and potentially diminish any symptoms associated with working and PPD.
Open communication with employers
As intimidating as it may seem to transition back into work while struggling with PPD, having an honest line of communication with your employers will help lower the feelings of resistance and anxiety.
Being upfront and vulnerable with your boss/supervisor is very important in creating a trusting relationship that you can feel supported through.
A morally good boss will understand your feelings and manage your workload appropriately allowing for a smooth transition and gradual ramp back into your pre-child/PPD work capacity.
Including your coworkers in these conversations and openness will create a comfortable environment for you to work in and bring back the identity of your former self that you may feel like you have lost through PPD.
How should Transitioning back to work be?
Transitioning back to work in a perfect world would be seamless and effortless as if you picked right back up where you left off. While this can be the case for some people, it is far less likely especially when you are confronted with symptoms of a mood disorder such as PPD.
It is very important to be aware of your feelings and open with your partner and work about what you are experiencing.
Your partner will not judge you for what you are going through and knowing your challenges will be supportive in making your transition as easy as possible.
If you appreciate your job and the people you work for and with, they too will rise to the occasion and help you along the way by easing back into work.
An understanding boss will create a schedule in the beginning that is flexible and accommodating to your new responsibilities and roles as a parent.
Having the option of being remote or asking for a day or two out of the week to be able to work at home could be a bonus for managing life, PPD, family, and work.
The most important thing to remember is to be as open and communicative as possible with your partner and work so that your expectations are not compromised and everybody can be on the same page with your situation.
Employer’s role in supporting employees with postpartum depression
Employers can take a proactive approach to supporting employees with PPD through various methods. Education is an important step in understanding mood disorders, the symptoms associated with them, and ways to support someone who is battling it.
They can also encourage self-care and wellness practices while in the workplace to help alleviate any triggered moments or stressful situations. I believe this should be done regardless of someone having PPD as this fosters a healthy and beneficial work environment!
Promoting a culture of open communication within the workforce will lower the stigma associated with feeling judged or criticised about your feelings and emotions.
Developing a supportive roadmap for returning to work through a lower workload balanced with ongoing help will allow whomever to feel welcomed back to work and appreciated for what they do.
If you’re struggling with balancing work and PPD, here’s how I can help
It’s not easy to get back into the swing of things with your career while battling symptoms of a mood disorder such as PPD.
Feeling overwhelmed with emotions and anxiety can be very detrimental to performing at an optimal level that you may be used to. This is not your story and does not define who you are, and that is why I am here to help. YOU ARE NOT ALONE and with the proper support system in place will be able to work through PPD and live the compelling future you were meant to live.
Living your compelling future can be possible and I am here to take you on that journey that will be life-changing for the better.
Take 30 minutes and schedule a call with me to see if we are a good fit and where I may be able to help regardless if my program is an option or not.
You are here for a reason and taking the next step with me will put you on the right path for bringing back your life!
I hope this article sheds some light on the importance of being honest and communicative with your partner and work while developing a strong support system/practices along the way.
Working is an essential part of everyone’s lives and being able to transition back into it while balancing a mental health condition such as PPD can be overwhelming. This is ok! YOU ARE NOT ALONE and taking the right preventive measures in being vulnerable, self-aware, and finding support will make that transition easier.
Taking care of your mental health is a priority, which is why it is so important in understanding your feelings and easing yourself back into your work life. Do not feel that picking up where you left off is what will be required of you, as your family, friends, and co-workers will understand the situation you are dealing with through being flexible, supportive, and communicative.
If you are in need of extra support and guidance through your transition, take 30 minutes and schedule a connection call with me to see how I can help point you in the right direction or offer any helpful advice. Here’s to your compelling future!
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