Creating stress-lowering routines in pregnancy
Transitions are great times to try new things, from yoga to meditation to slow walks to arts and crafts to even – yes! – catnaps. Experiment with what works for you, and don’t be surprised if what works changes from trimester to trimester and phase to phase. This is one of the most transitional times in a woman’s life, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Try things that feel good to you and that you can fit into your day so you are not creating stress while trying to de-stress.
What to Do
Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a wonderful way to tune into yourself as you move through this special but often topsy-turvy time, and to create a permanent record of your pregnancy as the months fly by (and they will!). It can also be an effective way to deal with stress and anxiety. Simply writing about something that’s worrying you can put it into perspective and help you understand it better, which in turn should take the edge off your anxiety. In fact, you don’t even have to commit to a daily diary to enjoy the calming effects of journaling – just keep a pen and pad handy to jot down stressful thoughts when they arise. It can even help to follow those thoughts with a list of three (or more) things you’re feeling grateful for, as feeling grateful tends to relax us.
Join a pregnancy support group
Social support and interaction are vital to emotional and mental well-being. You’re not alone in this!
Attend a prenatal yoga class
Even if you’ve never practiced yoga before, as long as your doctor gives the green light it’s not too late to start now. Most prenatal classes focus on poses to relieve backache, battle fatigue, and strengthen and stretch the muscles you’ll need during childbirth. . They also emphasize breathing techniques that can ease pain and bring on the “relaxation response,” in which blood pressure drops, heart rate slows, breathing becomes regular, and stress hormones dissipate. The less stress your baby is exposed to during birth (as well as before and after), the healthier he’ll be throughout life. Whether you join a class in person or follow a DVD or online video, choose one that’s designed specifically for pregnancy.
Take regular walks outside (in nature if possible).
Walking is an especially good form of exercise in pregnancy (assuming there are no contraindications) and being outside is a known mood-lifter if the weather is fine and the environs are safe.
Start a new hobby
Take up painting, knitting or any creative outlet you’ve been meaning to try.
Let yourself nest
Preparing for baby’s arrival can be confidence-boosting and therefore stress-relieving.
Chat with a Happy Family Milk Mentor about strategies that may work for you.
We have walked this path and are old hands at setting up and maintaining relaxation routines.