“It’s cold. The roads might be bad. It may snow or sleet later. I don’t really know if I’ll enjoy myself anyway. Maybe no one else will be there. I’ll probably just stay in.”
Sound familiar? People tend to be less socially active during the winter months--think of it as “social hibernation.” While you might be cozier at home, loneliness and isolation can quickly set in.
“But, I’m pregnant and tired and trying to save money.”
I know. I’ve been there myself! But it’s particularly important to remain socially active during pregnancy. Why? Because socializing is not only fun, it also helps you build and maintain your support system.
Lack of social support is a well-established risk factor for postpartum depression. It’s important to have people in your life who can offer support, share information, listen to you when you share your thoughts and feelings, and help you feel less alone. In addition, social activities are deposits into your self-care account.
Humans are social creatures. Extroverts need quite a bit of interaction—they feel recharged by others. Introverts need less interaction, but they still need some.
Social activities might include direct or indirect contact with others. For example, calling a friend, sending email, spending time on social media, etc. During the winter, put some extra effort into activities that connect you with others.
Here are some suggestions:
Making time for friends during pregnancy not only can help you prevent feelings of isolation that could lead to postpartum depression, it also helps you maintain the habit of making plans for yourself. Set yourself up for success by prioritizing your individual interests and friendships now—a healthy habit you can continue after your baby arrives.
Dr. Jill Sullivan is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than fifteen years of specialized training and expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She is a co-founder of CBT Specialists of Chicago, and creator of Anxiety-Free Pregnancy.