Are you a stay-at-home dad that is suffering from depression?
Has changing an excessive amount of diapers, cleaning up pools of spit up and dealing with fussiness and crying caused you to feel down?
Or maybe it’s the isolation that has caused your mood to plummet.
Whatever the cause may be, stay-at-home dad depression is real thing.
And I might be able to help, so keep reading!!
Below I will Give you 5 Stay-at-home dad depression tips you probably didn’t know about.
A Bit About Me
I’m a new stay-at-home dad.
I like the benefits of being a stay-at-home dad, like being able to bond with my baby and watch him develop from one stage to the next. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
But depression is a side effect of being a stay-at-home dad for me.
I’ve suffered from depression since I was a kid, but as an adult, I can find ways to deal with it better.
As a stay-at-home dad though, coping with depression can sometimes be tough because my son requires all of my attention most of the time.
This leaves very little time for me to focus on myself and the things I need to do to better my mood.
So as a stay-at-home dad, what can I do to fix my episodes of depression?
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 ways to deal with depression that other stay-at-home dads may not be doing.
Some of them you can do while watching your baby, others are for when you have free time.
Check them out!
Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stay-At-Home Dad Depression
1. Go Out Of The House And Isolation
Isolation is my biggest trigger for depression.
Getting out of the house is usually my fastest fix when it comes to depression due to isolation.
Being a stay-at-home dad doesn’t mean that I have to stay at home all the time.
Going on a short 20-30 minute walk with the baby in a stroller usually does the trick. Going on a drive also works well.
Running errands is another way to get out of the house. The cool thing about running errands is that, besides getting out of the houses, it gives me the sense that I got something done…that I was able to check something off my list.
Visiting with friends or family is another good way to get out of the house. I’m sure that your friends and family will love to see you and your baby. So you’ll be killing 2 birds with 1 stone.
Distractions, I found, are also a good way to relieve depression. Visiting with family and friends usually provides lots of distractions and sometimes laughter.
It might even give you a small break from watching your baby.
2. Use Light Therapy To Improve Mood
If you’re like me, during the cooler, darker months of the year, depression creeps in quickly.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, when September comes around, I start to feel an underlying depression.
The temperature outside starts to drop, rain begins to fall more often and the days seem to rapidly get shorter.
I usually open the curtains or blinds during the Spring and Summer months to get some sunlight in to help with my depression.
During Autumn and Winter though, direct sunlight is harder to come by.
The lack of sunlight coupled with being isolated can cause my stay-at-home dad depression symptoms to run rampant.
So in addition to the other methods, I use a Light Therapy lamp to help cope with depression during the darker months of the year.
Light Therapy lamps provide artificial sunlight that affects chemicals in the brain to help improve mood and sleep.
It does wonders for my mood!
This is the one I recommend:
- Light therapy may help combat sleep issues and improve mood
- Provides natural spectrum light therapy that is safe and comfortable
- UV filtered output for extended use
- Only weighs 1.5 pounds, compact size great for small spaces and portability
- Get it on Amazon
I just sit it on my side table or nightstand and turn it on whenever I feel like I need to knock out some of my underlying depression.
The improvement in my mood is instantaneous.
I know how bad depression hurts, this lamp is a life saver for me!
Read more about Light Therapy here.
3. Exercise To Help With Depression
Before my girlfriend went back to work, it was easier to get in 30 minutes on the treadmill.
These days, I try to squeeze an exercise in whenever I can because I’m usually busy with my son.
Exercise helps the body release endorphins. Similar to morphine, endorphins trigger happy feelings in your body and mind and lowers the perception of pain.
With that in mind, I workout even while I’m watching my son. You’ll see what I mean below.
- Each program is about 30 minutes long
- Includes targeted workout routines
- Eating Plan included
- Routines are designed for both men and women
- Lose up to 15 pounds in 21 Days
- Get 21 Day Fix On Amazon
At first I thought 21 Day Fix were women’s workout routines, but there are men working out along side women in these videos.
I use 21 Day Fix because my girlfriend had it lying around.
And since it’s hard for me to get to the gym, and the doctor said I have high cholesterol, I decided to give it a try. Turns out I really like it!
The goal of 21 Day Fix is to help you lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days. You just follow the 30 routines and the meal plan for 21 days.
I only do the “Total Body Cardio Fix” routine because it gives me a nice workout but isn’t too strenuous.
And since it’s only 30 minutes, I can easily fit it in when my son is asleep.
If my son wakes up during my workout, I just pause it until I calm him down or or get him back to sleep. Then I just restart where I left off. Easy!
I highly recommend it!
Note: This is a DVD set, so the videos are in DVD quality.
- Solid steel design along with an extra shock absorption system makes running or walking more steady
- Pulse grip and LCD monitor track heart rate, time and distance
- 9 workout programs included
- Shock absorption system and incline can be adjusted between 3 levels for maximum comfort
- Compact and portable, folds and comes with wheels for easy moving
- Get one from Amazon
This treadmill is a bit more expensive than the 21 Day Fix program above but it’s well worth it if you have the extra cash.
What this treadmill has over the 21 Day Fix is that it allows you to jog or walk at your own pace without having to follow an instructor.
I also like that it’s compact and it folds, this makes it easy to store after a workout.
And even though it’s compact, it’s very steady and the shock absorption system allows for less impact on my joints than jogging on the sidewalk or concrete trail. Along with the shock absorption is a nice incline system that lets me choose between 3 different levels.
It also features an LCD screen that displays heart rate, distance, calories, time and speed.
I love this treadmill.
I just set it up by my sliding glass door so I can enjoy the view, pop in my waterproof ear buds and get a good walk or jog in.
I like to get a good sweat going, this way I know that I am releasing endorphins to combat my stay-at-home dad depression symptoms.
It’s very convenient and it doesn’t take up too much space.
This free workout is called the “Mommy And Me” workout but of course dads can do it too.
It’s 18 minutes of gentle exercises that allow you to hold baby in your hands or arms and use him or her as weights.
This is a whole body routine that is easy and fun for you and baby.
I like to do this workout when my son doesn’t allow me to lay him down.
I’ve actually gotten him to sleep in my arms while doing this workout because some of the movements are similar to a rocking motion.
It’s really worth checking out if you’re on a budget like I am.
Check out the workout routine below:
Any one of the workout options above should help with depression. I know first hand that they can be effective.
I recommend them to all stay-at-home dads suffering from depression.
Try them out and let me know what you think in the comment box below.
4. Get Lost In A Good Show Or Movie To Distract Yourself
To me, finding relief from depression means to find a distraction to get me through the moment.
I see my depression not as a large chunk but small moments.
The goal is to get from one moment to another in the most positive way possible.
That’s where distractions come in, because if I’m distracted, I wouldn’t be thinking about my depression.
Movies and Shows can be great distractions, especially if you’re able to get lost in them.
Sometimes it helps to just have a movie or show playing in the background.
If you’re going to do this, try sticking to comedies and other “feel good” genres. I also recommend that you find a show or movie that is attached to good memories or positive feelings.
This can be a show from your childhood that you loved watching on a Saturday morning or a movie that you saw with a friend while having a good time.
If I find a movie or show that makes me feel good, even though I may just have it playing in the background, it makes me feel comfort and an underlying happiness, almost on a subconscious level.
Note: Before doing this, check to make sure that you’re not going over your data cap.
Below is a list of paid and FREE video streaming services that I use personally:
Note: All video streaming services mentioned below have shows and movie offerings that change with or without notice. Some of the movies and shows I mention below may no longer be offered.
Paid video streaming services include:
At the time of writing this post, Netflix is the most popular video streaming subscription service.
In my opinion, it gives you the most variety.
It has everything from classic shows like Friends and The Office to Netflix originals like Stranger Things and Fuller House.
You will also find a huge variety of older and newer movies to choose from.
Netflix also offers a huge library of original stand-up comedy from top comedians like Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Ali Wong and Adam Sandler just to name a few.
If you’re looking for something to watch, you’ll likely find it on Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video doesn’t quite have the selection of top rated shows and movies that Netflix does, but I think it’s a better value because it comes bundled with Amazon’s 1-day shipping service, Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime also includes a music streaming service, free twitch.tv account, unlimited photo storage, access to lightning deals and so much more at no extra charge.
Amazon Prime Video, like Netflix, offers original shows including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and many more.
Amazon original movies like Manchester by the Sea and Late Night are also included with your membership.
Classic shows like Entourage, The Sopranos, The X-Files and other popular show of the past including House, Bones and Boardwalk Empire are also offered through Amazon’s video service.
Recently, Amazon has started introducing original stand-up comedy specials like their friends over at Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video currently has a only small offering of stand-up comedy specials that include comedians Jim Gaffigan and Alice Wetterlund to name a couple.
Amazon already has plans to grow their stand-up comedy department at Amazon Prime Video rapidly over the next year.
Amazon Prime Video is getting better all the time and it seems to be slowly catching up to Netflix.
I find movies and shows to watch on Amazon Prime Video all the time.
The best part is that Amazon Prime Video and several other services are included with my Amazon Prime account for about the same price as Netflix alone.
Free Video Streaming Service:
Crackle is a free video streaming service from Sony. No membership needed.
It offers a decent variety of movies and TV shows, most of them obscure.
Sometimes you can find a decent older movie that you might want to watch again.
Crackle currently offers pretty decent shows like 3rd Rock From The Sun, Just Shoot Me!, Dilbert and Hell’s Kitchen to name a few.
In the movie section, there are some gems like Kung Fu Hustle, Last Action Hero, Legends Of The Fall and of course Juwanna Man, haha.
Note: Crackle is free but includes commercial advertisements.
5. Play Video Games To Reduce Stay-At-Home Dad Depression Symptoms
I love playing video games! It is one of the most engaging things that I do.
I used to sit in my room alone for hours playing video games.
It’s probably the only thing in the world that I can truly get lost in.
Sometimes when I’m depressed, I start up a Call of Duty game and get lost in online warfare.
The level of focus the game demands is incredible! The amount of distraction it gives me is amazing!
Other times I just want to sit back and play a nice action-adventure game where I have to solve puzzles, climb over obstacles and collect treasures like in the Uncharted games.
And then there are times when I want to play a Grand Theft Auto game. No explanation required.
For some of you readers out there, you might be more into a racing game or maybe a simulation or Role Playing game.
Whichever genre you’re into, find a game you really like…lose yourself in it, have fun, enjoy yourself and be happy while playing.
Forget about your depression for a little while.
Currently, when I have some free time, I play games on 1 of 3 different machines:
The library for the PS4 is ridiculous. It is packed full of amazing games in all genres including exclusive AAA titles from 1st, 2nd and 3rd party developers that you can’t get on Xbox One or PC.
Titles like God of War 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Spider-Man are just some of the many top rated games that are exclusive to the PS4.
Recently, I started playing Uncharted 4. I freakin’ love the game! There are tons of puzzles to solve and areas to explore.
The game is gorgeous!
The controls are very well thought out and the tools and weapons Nathan Drake has in the game are utilized very well.
You gotta check it out if you haven’t already.
It’s an older title so you can pick it up for under $20 here on Amazon.
There are 2 different PS4 models currently on the market. The base PS4 and the PS4 Pro.
The latter being the more powerful machine, capable of up to 4k graphics and video streaming for a premium price.
No matter which model you get, you’ll have access to the amazing PS4 library of games.
There is also a nice list of exclusive games available for the Xbox One, including Gears 4 and 5, Crackdown 3 and Killer Instinct.
These exclusives and many others are available on Xbox Game Pass with the new releases available on Day 1.
Besides the exclusives Xbox Game Pass offers a huge variety of games from all 3 Xbox consoles through it’s backwards-compatibility program.
I personally prefer the Xbox One controller over PS4’s because of the layout of the 2 analog sticks.
I am subscribed to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which bundles Xbox Live and Game Pass together. This allows me to download and play games from the Game Pass library on Xbox One and PC(Not all Game Pass games available on Xbox One are available on PC).
I can also play games online through Xbox Live and I get 2 free games for Xbox 360 and 2 for the Xbox One to keep in my library from the Xbox Live: Games With Gold program.
Note: You lose access to Xbox One’s Games With Gold games once Xbox Live is cancelled.
Get Xbox Game Pass and get instant access to over 100 games.
I don’t have the best video card or monitor available right now. In fact, my setup is over 3 years old, but it doesn’t stop me from gaming on it.
The great part about PC games is that you can change the settings to make it work with older video cards, usually.
I usually only buy my games through Steam during the big seasonal steam sales where games get marked down significantly.
Other times I buy gaming bundles through Humble Bundle where you can get game bundles for as low as a buck.
Another way to get access to PC games is to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, as mentioned above.
With an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate account, you will have an instant library of games for your Xbox One and PC for only $14.99 a month.
Note: Free Xbox Game Pass PC app required to play games on PC.
Even though I haven’t found any stay-at-home dad depression statistics, I know that it’s a real issue.
When dealing with depression as a stay-at-home dad, I like to focus on mood enhancing activities and devices and finding ways to distract or engage myself.
Exercise and Light Therapy lamps help to improve my mood, video games are a great distraction and simply going outside for a walk helps to break me out of the monotony of being isolated and can instantly better your mood.
Depression hurts, follow these stay-at-home dad depression tips to help improve your mood and ease the depression symptoms…I do these things myself and have had great results.
Try them for yourself and let me know if they work for you by leaving a comment below.
Please also ask any questions you may have in the comment box as well.
Thank you for reading.
This post contains one or more affiliate links. I get a commission if you make a purchase through the affiliate link(s). Among other things, the commissions help me keep this website up and running. Thank you for helping! See Affiliate Disclosure for more information.