Pregnancy can be a stressful time, from dealing with an influx of hormones that can leave you feeling irritable and worrying over everything, to managing your finances in time for Baby's arrival. Whatever the reason for your stress, it is important to try and remain calm and relaxed to reduce the amount of Cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.
Try our tips below to keep calm and have a relaxed pregnancy.
1. Get Enough Seep & Quality Rest
This may sound easier said than done, especially if you are suffering from pregnancy insomnia. However, listening to your body is really important during pregnancy and in stress management. If you are feeling tired then try and take a nap. If you can't nap due to insomnia or if you are at work, then take a 10 minute break out of your day, find a quiet area (such as an empty canteen) get comfortable and close your eyes. Try and take some simple breathing exercises (breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth), push any thoughts away - you can deal with those later, and clear your mind. If your insomnia is bad and is affecting your quality of life then ensure you discuss this with your midwife, and also try and use our Sleepy Mama relaxing pillow mist (which has won a Best Pillow Mist award!) to create a relaxing environment prior to any naps or bedtime.
2. Try Some Gentle Exercise
Exercise not only releases Endorphins (which release feelings of positivity) but it also helps to give you better quality sleep and has been shown to reduce feelings of stress! If you aren't used to work-outs then don't just suddenly start going for a run (this can be dangerous), but instead opt for some gentle exercises such as going for a short walk, trying pregnancy yoga or going for a swim.
If you are stressed because you haven't gotten round to organising baby's closet, or because you have no idea how you'll afford childcare once you return to work, then one of the best ways of combatting stress is by taking control of your situation! Instead of spending weeks on end stressing about your finances, take a moment in your day to get comfortable, get a pen and paper (or a laptop) and write a list of everything you'll need for baby and how much it costs (or how many hours of childcare you'll need and how much this costs, whatever is causing you the financial stress). Then take a look into whether you are entitled to any benefits, grants or whether your friends and family can help with anything. It is also worth checking any local charities, freecycle boards, charity shops and online marketplaces to see if you can get your items for a fraction of the usual cost. Although the thought of tackling the thing that is causing you stress can feel overwhelming, you will feel so much better and far less stressed once it is done. Also remember, if you have a friend or family member to talk through your worries that will also help you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders - a problem solved is a problem halved.
Meditation can be a great way to help clear your mind and take the time needed in your day to focus on your wellbeing. There are lots of guided meditations available on Youtube which are great for first-timers (or if you find it hard to focus) that range from 10 minutes all the way up to several hours - so you can choose the one that suits you and the time you have available. Meditation has been shown to reduce feelings of stress, reduce negative emotions, allows you to focus on the present and increase your patience. The best thing about practising meditation is that you can do it anywhere - at home, on your lunch break at work, or in the car on your way to do the food shop!
Journaling is a great way to organise your thoughts, allow yourself time to self-reflect, improves cognitive processing and has been shown to relieve stress. There are so many ways you can keep a journal - from the traditional diaries where you put pen to paper, to creating your very own blog (either privately or publicly).
Remember, if you do feel stressed it is always important to talk to your midwife to see if there is anything they can do to help. Talking to friends and family can also be beneficial in taking away any worries.