De-Stressing During Pregnancy Without Wine or Coffee




Stress is such a frequent occurrence in our modern lives.  We have so many stressors that build up.  De-stressing techniques are extremely important to our lives so that stress does not build up and cause negativity in our lives and relationships.  A lot of people default to things like wine, coffee, and comfort food for de-stressing.  But what happens when those methods are not available? Either you are cutting back for health reasons, or have just decided that you need to find other ways to deal.  For me, my favorite de-stressor is having a nice cup of hot tea, especially while sitting in the sun.  Being pregnant in the winter, during a pandemic, that is not always an option. So I'm going to share with you some of my favorite alternative de-stressing activities.  Some of these are great short term strategies, and some of them are more long term strategies.  I use a mixture of both in my everyday life.  


Long term strategies are to set you up for success in the stressful moments.  Once you are in the habit of unwinding and your environment is set up to be relaxing, it is a lot easier to handle destress in the moments when everything is becoming overwhelming. 


Prepping the environment is something I find very important and helpful.  A messy cluttered environment often brings more stress than it solves.  Cleaning itself can often be a source of stress though.  I have a bedtime habit of tidying for either 10 minutes or 10 items depending on the day before bed.  It really makes a huge difference in my home and doesn’t add stress by making me feel overwhelmed.  I also like to set up my environment to be calming by diffusing essential oils that I love into the room so that it has a nice calming smell.  


My favorite long term strategy for de-stressing is meditation.  I find that meditating is so important and really helps me cope.  Allowing my brain time without thoughts piling up and letting things just come and go is extremely important and it makes a huge difference in my life.  My favorite app for getting started with meditation is Headspace.  I love using Headspace for learning how to meditate and for reiterating the basics.  I do not pay for any of the paid options, I can only speak for the free basics course, but I love it.  I suggest to my friends getting started to do the Basics course twice, the first time at 3 minutes each time and then once you have finished all the basics, to go back through and do it again on the longest setting instead.  Once meditation has become a routine and I feel comfortable with it, I will practice bits of meditation everywhere.  If I have been dealing with road rage lately, I'll take 30 seconds to clear my mind before I start driving.  When I notice the road rage thoughts appearing in my head, I will make a point to let them pass and replace them with more pleasant thoughts.  For me, especially at the beginning, sitting still for mediation was extremely difficult. So for practicing without an app, I would practice while crocheting. Especially if I was working on easy patterns where I did not have to read the pattern or count.  It was extremely useful.  I'm not sure I would have been able to build my meditation habit and skills if I did not have that time where I did meditation while doing a highly repetitive task.  


For the short term strategies, I think it is important to keep in mind that the goal is to relax and make sure that you are finding the process relaxing.  If you decided to go for a walk to help with stress but spend the entire time stewing on the stressful situations, you will come back worse than when you left.  A lot of it to me requires having mental strategies to help.  It takes a while to build these as habits so you do not have to concentrate and it starts to come naturally, but it is worth putting in the effort.  Redirecting thoughts is very useful.  To take a thought and go, "No, I don't want to focus on that instead.  Hmm, oh that is a cute dog.  I wonder what type of dog it is" and letting your thoughts flow from a new focus.  This should be used in conjunction with relaxing activities to be most effective if possible.  


My favorite relaxing activities

Taking a bath

Reading

Going for a walk

Talking to friends 

Using quality lotion

Listening to favorite music


Another important way to destress that is much less pleasant is to do any tasks that you have been procrastinating.  Especially any quick tasks that will take 5-10 minutes or less.  Paying bills is a big one for me.  Washing dishes is another chore that I don’t enjoy, but having a clean and tidy kitchen takes one thing off of my mental load.  Take a few minutes to journal about what is on your mind and if anything can be done quickly, go ahead and get it done.  


I also want to mention seeing a mental health professional.  It is not just for those with mental disorders but is a good idea for everyone to develop healthy mental habits to promote strong mental health.  I have had struggles with anxiety in the past and was diagnosed with Antenatal Depression. A therapist was a major part of my healing and has really helped me develop a lot of the coping methods that I have mentioned.  I recommend everyone see a therapist at least once.   


For me, de-stressing is a long term project.  It takes a combination of short term strategies and long term strategies.  I find that doing a combination regularly really helps me feel better and be more energized.  What are your favorite ways to de-stress?  



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