Unlocking Inner Serenity: 5 No-Cost Methods to De-Stress and Connect During Pregnancy & MotherhoodFeb 13, 2023
We talk a lot about self-care these days, and many of us think it has to mean expensive pampering. While there’s nothing wrong with investing in your well being, there’s a lot you can do for yourself for free.
Why is this even important? Well, we live in a culture that sees exhaustion and business as a status symbol, and that comes at a price. Our nervous systems are not wired to be in a stress state all of the time. Our body suffers when we aren’t able to relax, feel safe, fully rest, or nourish our mind, body and spirit. The cost is even higher when we’re pregnant or mothering.
Our bodies know what we need, but we don’t always give them a chance to be heard. When we can’t slow down, tune in, listen and excavate our inner knowing, we miss out on the wisdom our bodies hold.
Your body knows if you’re lacking sleep, lacking hydration, overworked, in need of movement or nature, or connection with a friend.
Below are 5 free and simple ways to foster your inner knowing and reduce stress in your life, especially if you’re pregnant or on a mothering journey.
#1 Journal, Reflect or Write a Poem
“Nature’s rhythm is medium to slow. Many of us live in the fast lane, out of nature’s rhythm. There are two things we can never do in the fast lane: we can neither deepen our experience nor integrate it.” -Angeles Arrien
Allow these words to seep in. How true or not true do they feel to you? How might they apply to your life?
Allow yourself to free form write your thoughts, letting go of any need for censorship or perfectionism.
Reflection and journaling is a powerful way to tune into your inner voice’s wisdom, and possibly even begin to match nature’s pace.
#2 Practice Presence
Ideally, today you’ll take a walk around your neighborhood when it’s cooled down, or if that’s not possible, take a stroll around your work place on a lunch break whether you stay inside or go outside.
On your walk, see if you can observe:
- 3 pleasant visuals (a flower, someone helping someone else, someone smiling)
- 3 pleasant sounds (maybe birds, someone laughing, or if you’re lucky...silence!)
- 3 pleasant sensations (perhaps the ground under your feet, the breeze against your skin, your breath rising and falling)
Peace is only ever available to us in the present moment. When we can tune into the positive things going on around us in real time, we have a chance to augment our happiness, and a sense of belonging in the world.
#3 Take a bath
Yes, 10-15 minutes is all you’ll need to receive the benefits.
If you don’t already have a stash of epsom salts, essential oils or candles, you may want to stop to get some.
*If you don’t have a bathtub, you could put essential oils like eucalyptus on a washcloth in the corner of your shower to inhale (or hang a fresh eucalyptus branch in your shower), and have the room lit by candles.*
No matter how you set up your ritual, the idea is to consciously allow the stress of your day to be washed away. Allow the water to absorb any negativity, doubts, worries, or judgments you’ve been carrying, and see if you can reflect on three positive things that happened in your day. They can be super simple. Even the worst days have little gems tucked in them.
#4 Connect with family or friends
It could be someone you love and talk to often, or someone you’ve been meaning to connect with for a long time.
It’s that simple. Write a note to say you’re thinking of them, leave them a sweet voice message. If you have the time, see if you can catch them for a longer phone conversation, or make plans to see them in person!
Friends are precious. Our need to belong and feel connected to others is a part of our well-being. You don’t need to have a lot of friends, but a couple meaningful relationships can translate into a healthier life.
#5 Plan out time for yourself in your calendar
Pick your top 5 self-care needs and schedule them in your calendar over the next 3 months!
They could be things we’ve suggested, or totally different things.
Maybe you need a manicure, a date with a friend, a bath, an extra hour of sleep, or time to walk in nature- this is what self-care can look like.
Maybe you need time to journal, to take a class of your interest, a massage, or just to slow down and bring mindfulness to your mundane activities.
Take the time to feel into and narrow down what YOU need. Then put it on the calendar for the next three months. By then, it will likely be an ingrained habit, and your quality of life will be improved!
Remember, self-care is a form of self-preservation, self-love, self-respect, and a way to bring your best self to all that you do in the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
May this be a fresh start for your self-care priorities.
photo credit: @mango_butterfly
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