Between work and personal commitments who has time to relax? Add pregnancy to the mix – even if the birth of your baby is something you are looking forward to with excited anticipation – and stress can follow.
After all, sometimes it can feel like there’s just too much to organise and not enough hours in the day!
Rest assured that the tiredness that might be plaguing you in the first trimester will probably disappear soon – making way for what some women describe as a burst of enthusiastic energy that can border on manic. In the meantime, learning some coping strategies to better deal with your stress might make your pregnancy happier (and healthier).
Releasing tension can be achieved in many ways. For some women, breathing and muscle relaxation exercises can help. For others, visualisation techniques can offer calming relief.
You may have the time to try meditation techniques, or you may find that simply listening to your favourite music helps. For others, stress relief can be found through involvement in more intense physical activity so try a jog or gym workout. Once you have identified what works best for your unique lifestyle demands, try to make time, even just ten minutes, each day.
Make time for you
Don’t let it take until your body sends you warning signals of bad health (headaches, constant colds or more serious illnesses) before you actually acknowledge the importance of slowing down and nurturing yourself.
Try these activities to help you make time to relax:
Have a bath
If you own a bath, you’ll know that a warm, deep soak can usually wash away most of your troubles. Stock up on your favourite bath products and sip a cup of herbal tea as the bubbles tickle your skin. If you are using essential oils, make sure that they are safe during pregnancy.
Remember not to make your bath too hot as this can be dangerous during pregnancy.
A simple outing once a week (or even once a fortnight) can do wonders for breaking up your routine and relieving stress. A meal at a restaurant with your partner or good friend, a half-price mid-week movie, or even a walk through the park during your lunchtime break can help. If you already have other children, try to organise a babysitter (use family or friends if you can) and take a night off.
Taking a break doesn’t have to break the budget. Even just one night away in a country motel can offer a change of scenery that may make all the difference. Or, if you have other children, see if you can arrange a sleepover for them somewhere away from you and reclaim your house – just for one night. Sometimes, a change really is as good as a holiday.
Get a massage
If you can afford it, try to slot in a regular monthly massage (or even more often if you can afford it). Be sure to let them know that you are pregnant – they may need to modify the way they massage you.
You probably have your favourite form of physical activity and, whether it’s golf, swimming, yoga, pilates or a brisk walk, it may help relieve some of your stresses. Be sure to follow basic pregnancy safety and don’t overdo it – overheating may be dangerous for your developing baby.