Being unprepared and overwhelmed with returning to work after maternity leave can increase your risk of having a postpartum mood and anxiety disorder or can exacerbate the symptoms you may already be experiencing. Here are 5 tips for having a smooth transition back to work for you or your postpartum employees.
1. Begin the transition to alternative childcare options at least a couple weeks prior to going to work. Putting your new baby in daycare can bring up a lot of emotions including anxiety, sadness, and the dreaded “mom guilt”. Taking your baby to daycare for at least a few hours a day while you are still on maternity leave is a good idea to help you and your baby learn to adjust to their new environment and schedule before being thrust back into the swing of work duties.
2. Minimize schedule/workload. Be sure to have a discussion with your boss about having a light schedule or even having remote working options if possible to help you ease back into working. It’s pretty drastic to go from not working at all to working a full 8 hour shift with just a few short breaks. I was grateful for my supervisor when I worked at a mental health clinic who only put 3-4 clients on my schedule per day for my first two weeks back to not overwhelm me with back to back appointments.
3. Increase self-care activities. Now more than ever you must prioritize self-care. Be sure to meet your basic needs daily: eating healthy meals regularly, staying hydrated, personal hygiene, good sleep quality and exercise. From there be sure to add on a few hours a week for personal “me time” to do things that bring you comfort, joy, and peace.
4. Ask for help from support system. You can’t do it all by yourself and do not make your self believe the false idea that you are supposed to be SUPERMOM/WIFE. Ask for what you need from your partner, doula, family, friends, neighbor, coworkers, supervisor, etc. A lifesaver for me was hiring a housekeeper. If it’s in your budget, it is highly recommended. Remember it takes a village!
5. Plan to succeed. Plan ahead your outfits, meals, deadlines, travel time to and from daycare and work and everything else by using a good time management tool in your phone or planner. I guarantee taking the time to get organized will help save you time and stress and will lessen the emotional load that you already carry being a new working mom.
If you need more assistance with adjusting to becoming a working mom postpartum or if your company would like consulting services to help implement some strategies to make your work environment more conducive to working moms feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 318-759-7865.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a postpartum mood and anxiety disorder, CALL or TEXT the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746). TTY users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746 to find support resources in your area.
If you are in suicidal crisis, please call or text The National Suicide Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).