Pregnancy is a beautiful period in any woman’s life. The ability to nurse and nurture another life inside of you is a true biological wonder. But the science aside, pregnancy can also be a very stressful period, especially during the later months. You already have so many thoughts racing in and out of your mind. If it is your first pregnancy, you’re trying to cope with the changes your body is going through and the various symptoms those changes throw at you. Not to mention the fact that you might still need to go about your daily activities.
Your hormones are all over the place, and some people are beginning to get on your remaining nerves. Put all these and more together, and pregnancy can be a genuinely stressful period. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to let the stress get to you. So, do you feel stressed and ready to snap due to your pregnancy? Use these tips to help you relax.
- Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness will help you connect with the world around you positively. This way, you can detox your mind of all negative thoughts and give your emotions a positive boost. Mindfulness allows you to notice and appreciate the little luxuries and blessings of life that you usually take for granted. It could be the sun’s gentle kiss on your skin or the outside breeze caressing your face. It also means enjoying those beautiful moments when your baby kicks.
Many experts agree that practicing mindfulness regularly offers significant benefits to your mental health during pregnancy. Some activities that aid in mindfulness include going for walks or being around nature. The sound a stream of water makes when it negotiates its way over natural obstacles can be genuinely refreshing. The melodious chirpings of birds as they nestle in trees, a gentle breeze wafting through tree branches and rattling leaves, or a butterfly going about its business from flower to flower. These can boost your mental health only if you pay attention to them through mindfulness. You can also sign up for yoga and meditation classes to help train your mind to practice, well, mindfulness.
- Be kind to yourself
Take good care of your mental health by indulging in some of the things you love. You can take up some fun and relaxing hobbies like art or reading. Or you can also soak your body in a soothing bubble bath and relax to your favorite music while your fingers caress a glass of fruit juice (no wine).
You can also do a little shopping for your unborn baby or plan out several fun activities you can do when the baby arrives. The point is to relax with whatever works for you. Also, be sure to rest when you need to. It’s pretty hard to feel cheerful when your body is tired and uncomfortable. So, whenever you feel exhausted, freshen up and grab some sleep. And this leads to the next point.
- Concentrate on your breathing
The more stress you put on yourself, the more control you lose over your breathing. For example, stress can cause you to take shorter and shallower breaths, which reduces the amount of oxygen your body and brain receive. Shallow breaths can cause your stress levels to shoot up, leaving you with anxiety and even panic as your body begins to react to the limited supply of oxygen it’s receiving. Concentrating on your breathing is one of the best ways to control and ensure that you don’t reduce your oxygen intake.
Here is one thing you can try: anytime you start feeling stressed or anxious, lie down or sit and try to get comfortable. Next, take more than five deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and letting the air out through your mouth. While doing this, be sure to pay close attention to the way your chest rises and falls. Continue this process until you start feeling the stress fade away as your body begins to relax.
It makes sense to start mastering this technique even before you start feeling stressed out.
- Try complementary therapies
Stress is a common trigger for depression. That is why it is vital to ensure that you don’t harbor any pent-up worry. Complementary therapies like massages are so ideal when it comes to helping you get rid of stress. There is enough evidence to suggest that getting a good massage during pregnancy can alleviate anxiety, stress, and poor moods.
Suppose you can’t afford a professional spa treatment, no worries! Even a gentle massage from your partner or a loved one you trust can do your mood a world of good. Thankfully you can also find several massage tutorials from online platforms like Youtube and various blogs.
If you have enough funds to visit a massage spa, ensure that your massage therapist has enough experience and is qualified to work with pregnant women.
Another complementary therapy worth trying is aromatherapy. Many experts agree that aromatherapy can play a role in helping you calm down, reduce anxiety and stress, and stay relaxed. You can also combine aromatherapy with your massage session to receive a double dose of stress treatment. You will find that aromatherapy can also go pretty well with various yoga activities and meditation.
However, you need to be sure that the essential oils you use are healthy for you and your baby in the long term. That is why it is crucial to ensure that you speak with your doctor or any qualified professional before you shop for your oils.
- Plan some fun activities
Taking a break from your work and other usual busy daily activities makes sense during the latter months or weeks of your pregnancy. The last thing you want to do is become a couch potato while resting at home. Your body needs to remain active to some level. You can try some mild exercises, as doing so will help release endorphins that will lift your mood. There’s no need to hit the gym or engage in strenuous cardio workouts at this point. A leisure stroll in your neighborhood will be more than enough for you if you can do it daily. Doing this can help reduce stress and put you in a good mood. Plus, these activities will also be beneficial for your unborn baby.
You can also find ways to have fun with the process. For example, if you’re beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with what’s ahead (especially with labor approaching), try focusing on other aspects, such as when should plan and host a baby shower instead. The chance to hang out with your friends, have fun, and receive gifts will lift heavy loads of stress off your shoulders and keep anxiety away from you.
- Get enough sleep
Now is that time if there’s a better time to get all the sleep your body needs. Because after that little bundle of joy shows up, you can expect your sleep time to reduce drastically. When you fail to give your body and mind enough sleep, you become quickly exhausted and even moody. This encourages negative thoughts, which in turn, offers a fertile ground for stress to grow.
Try to get about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. If you find yourself struggling to sleep at night, make time in the day to catch up on your sleep. No need to sleep for hours during the day, as even 20 minutes of shut-eye time can do wonders to your mind, body, and mood and help you relax.