It's important to take care of yourself every day, but especially during pregnancy, when your body is working in overdrive to create and sustain a whole new person. But self-care sometimes takes a backseat during pregnancy; it can seem overwhelming or like too much work when in fact, self-care shouldn't be hard.
Here's how to focus on self-care during these transformative months without driving yourself crazy.
Try low-impact activities. Working out and keeping active during your pregnancy helps you sleep better, feel more positive, and prevent aches, but that doesn't mean you need to head out for a 5-mile run every day. Low-impact exercise like prenatal yoga, walking, or stretching are great options while pregnant; they're easier on the body and don't require a gym membership.
Get some rest. It's normal to feel tired and fatigued during pregnancy, so be sure you're getting an adequate amount of sleep. Take a nap if you need to and remember to be kind to yourself. If your body says rest instead of laundry, listen to it and remind yourself that its okay.
Find a supportive community. Join a new moms' group or regularly get together with friends, family members, or coworkers who understand what you're going through and can provide caring advice and encouragement. Having a community of people you can rely on will help ease your mind. Don't forget the importance of finding a doctor or midwife you connect with and can trust with all your questions. If you aren’t connecting with your healthcare professional, try another!
Indulge a little. When you've got a craving, it's okay to give into it, just don't overdo it, either. (Of course, that's easier said than done when your sweet tooth seems uncontrollable.) Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet to make sure you're getting the nutrients you and baby need, but don't feel guilty for eating a bowl of ice cream here and there.
Treat yourself. You're dealing with a changing body, different hormones, nerves and fears, and so much more. Buy a few maternity dresses or outfits that make you feel stylish, invest in cozy and comfortable clothes for those first few weeks post-partum, splurge on some new skincare – whatever makes you feel good, do it! You deserve it, mama.
Last but most certainly not least, remember it's okay to say “no.” When you need to rest and your body is telling you to relax, say no to those dishes, that family Zoom call, and making dinner. In the end, taking care of yourself and your baby is what's most important. Practicing the power of “no” is great self-care. Because you can only be the best mom, friend, partner, and co-worker when you're being the best you. Taking care of yourself is the most selfless thing you can do.