Saturday, 1 April 2023

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How to reduce anxiety and depression as a working mom

How to reduce anxiety and depression as a working mom

From the outside looking in, it may seem as though Nathalie Walton has it all—a flourishing career, a supportive husband, and a beautiful family. But having it all isn’t always enough, especially when it comes to mental health.

“I have help and I have everything covered, but it’s still really stressful because it feels like if one thing goes wrong, the entire system breaks,” says the CEO and cofounder of Expectful, a holistic wellness app that was recently acquired by Babylist. 

“There were so many times last year where my child was sick, and when that happens your whole foundation breaks. Because you have to keep up with work, and you don’t have the chance to recuperate,” Walton says. “It can really take a toll on your mental health.”

Walton is far from alone. A Harris Poll data commissioned by CVS Health last year found that 42% of working mothers surveyed were diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression in 2022, compared to 28% of the general population and 25% of their coworkers without kids. Moreover, working moms are more likely to report that their mental health had worsened in the last year.

The growing mental health crisis isn’t necessarily shocking. According to a recent report from Calm, 50% of employees say that work stress is impacting their personal lives and their relationships with their family members and friends, as well as their relationships with themselves.

Inevitably, family mental health care tends to fall more on women than men. In the same Calm survey, women also said they “take less care of their own mental health after becoming a caregiver, while men take better care of themselves.”

It’s a sentiment that Walton can certainly relate to. After she was told she was at a higher risk for preterm labor at her 20-week prenatal appointment, her mental health began to plummet. She credits meditating regularly with helping to reduce stress and anxiety, and make it to full term.

“Becoming a new mom is such a shock, and depending on your circumstances it can be an even greater shock,” she shares. “You question a lot and you’re asking yourself, ‘Is this normal?’”

But it’s going to take more than meditation apps to help combat the mental health crisis for working moms. For starters, Walton would like to see better paid-leave policies for parents overall.

“I had a 20-week maternity leave, but I don’t feel like that was enough,” she says. “For me, personally, I felt…

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