5 Ways to Create Joy in Pregnancy
The changes to your body during pregnancy are many, but the emotional changes are often the ones that women find they have the most challenging time dealing with. We all expect our bellies to grow, to be a little clumsy and tired, but the surging hormones can affect everyone differently. So, while your BFF may claim that pregnancy was pretty easy for them, another woman can claim it was mentally difficult to deal with.
Early on and towards the end of your pregnancy, irritability can be a factor. We suggest that half the battle is understanding that it may appear for no good reason and creating rituals to deal with it. It may be a little work at first if you have never done this before, but small gestures can bring great comfort!
Here are our tried and true rituals you can try to create your own happiness during pregnancy!
For centuries, herbal teas have been used in rituals. The difference between your daily habit of a cup of coffee on the run and sipping tea is mindfulness. Spending time that requires focus and thought forces your nervous system to calm down a bit and boost your well-being.
Creating a ritual each day for yourself helps spread the feeling of joy as you pause and reflect on the pleasures of the moment, and the good things to come. Brewing a fresh cup of tea each day, drinking it in a serene location, and settling in to sip and read, sip and think or sip and talk to a loved one at home is a meaningful way to solidify in your mind the pleasures of the day.
Herbal tea, such as organic chamomile, also has a relaxing effect and is safe during pregnancy. Adding in a second tea bag of organic decaffeinated green tea will boost the tea’s antioxidant potential and add complexity to the flavor.
Some tips on getting the most plant power from your cup of tea are to let the water come to a rolling boil and steep covered for 3 minutes. Learn to love the tea free of sugar as you will be able to taste the plant’s wonderfully complex flavors. Breathe in the aroma of your tea with deep, rib expanding breaths. Joy!
An easy grounding technique is called 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. When you notice that you feel irritable or feel overwhelmed with things, try this:
- Name five things that you can see
- Four things that you can feel or touch around you
- Three things that you can hear in the room around you
- Two things that you can smell
- One thing that you can taste
This will help to tune you back to your surroundings. It also allows us to separate ourselves from that mood shift as its occurring or identify any of the triggers that might be causing our irritability.
Yoga or tai chi (Qigong exercises) help you make a mind-body connection by showing you how to pay attention in a particular way and accepting what you find out without judgment. These exercises are also very gentle, so if you haven’t been working out a lot before you got pregnant, you might find them to be perfect for you.
Spiritual meditation or devotional meditation has been shown to improve mood, anxiety, and depression in people. If this is something that you enjoy or haven’t made time for lately, it couldn’t hurt to carve out more time for this! This type of meditation can occur anywhere that brings you solace, such as in a church or other religious building, or even a peaceful walk in nature.
If you’re new to meditation, there are many short beginner meditations on YouTube and some really great meditation apps (like Expectful). The important thing to remember about meditation is that at first, it may seem really hard. You may feel like it’s impossible to let your mind quiet. Keep trying, and stop judging yourself. It takes a little practice, but even 5 minutes of meditation a day can be beneficial to your mental well-being.
See what works for you, and remember that taking time each day to find joy and peace is essential to your overall mood. It also sets the tone for your family!
Journaling is beneficial because it helps us process our experiences. It can help us be more insightful about how we experience things, process memories, and even our own feelings. It's also great for stimulating the right part of the brain, which is responsible for our creativity, our expression of things, and helping us be more in tune with ourselves.
Journaling during pregnancy is a great way to remember the experience by looking back on what is your little book of memories of how you were feeling and what was going on during those nine months.
It can also be a nice treat to get yourself a pretty journal and pens and a quiet place to journal. Add in a cup of tea, and you might find this is a ritual you really love.
One of the easiest mindfulness techniques that a person can do is called a body scan. This intentional time can force your focus away from racing thoughts or anxiety.
You can do the scan lying in bed or sitting in a supportive chair with your feet on the ground.
When you start to notice judgments, sweep them away with your mind, and try to focus on just feelings:
- Start by observing your feet. Are they warm? Are they cold? Do they feel achy?
- Move to your calf muscles. Are they tight? Achy?
- How about your lower back? How does it feel today? Any shooting pains or spasms?
- Notice your belly. Can you feel the baby?
- How does your chest feel? Is it tight? Can you take a few deep cleansing breaths?
- Notice your shoulders. See if you can push them down away from your head if they feel too tight.
- Gently rotate your neck. Where do you feel sticky spots or tightness?
- Spend extra time anywhere you feel is tight and full of tension.
Pregnancy is a joyous time, but it’s also one that can be challenging for many women. When not addressed, anxiety can become excessive and cause stress to the body, contributing to reduced quality of life. Effective interventions that you can do yourself at home are essential to wellness!
So, raise your cup of tea and take a deep breath. You’ve got this, mama!