4. MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS. Devoting just five minutes every morning to meditate can set a positive course for your entire day. Meditation can refill your cup like no other self-care activity – giving you inner peace and energy to enjoy your day and spreading that positive energy to other people. Meditation and mindfulness practices can easily be built into your day – from eating mindfully to walking meditation. Try this…Sitting comfortably, turn your attention to your breath. As you exhale, imagine you are breathing out thick, black smoke, the essence of all your negativity, tiredness, anxiety and pain. As you inhale, imagine you are breathing in pure white light, the essence of positive energy, happiness and inspiration. Feel your mind becoming more peaceful and your body becoming lighter.
5. BREATHING. With a baby squishing up all your internal organs, it’s fairly common to fall into the habit of taking shallow breaths or chest breathing. Taking some time to breathe deeply consciously can counter the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure, helping us feel more present and calm. Try this… Sit upright, either sitting cross-legged on a cushion or on a chair. Place your hands on your belly and send some deep breaths and fresh oxygen down to your baby, feeling your belly filling up with air like a balloon. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, keeping the breath calm and comfortable. Make the exhalation longer than the inhalation by counting to 3 as you breathe in and four as you breathe out.
6. MASSAGE. What better time to treat yourself to a massage than when you’re pregnant? Massage will help to ease the aches and pains that your pregnant body experiences and help you to relax. Try this…If you have a toddler or preschooler at home and find it hard to get time for a ‘proper’ massage, improvise by getting them involved! Put towels down on the bed and lie on your left side. Get them to ‘massage’ you with some oil or body lotion. It’s fun and relaxing, something you can both enjoy – plus you get to lie down for half an hour!
7. POSITIVE THINKING AND REFLECTION. Treat yourself to some pregnancy affirmation cards for inspiration and positivity. You may find they bring newfound respect for your body. Journaling is a lovely way to reflect on your transformation into a mother and create emotional space. When you are inviting new things into your life (like a baby!), you need to make space for them emotionally as well as physically. Try this… Take ten minutes at lunchtime or before bed to reflect on all the things you are grateful for.
8. TAKE TIME OUT OF YOUR ROUTINE. Slow down and connect with yourself and your body by doing something you love. Build mini-breaks into your week – take a bath, go to a yoga class, or walk by the beach. For a longer break, consider attending a Pregnancy Day Retreat, which is a beautiful way to spend the day focusing on just you and your baby and truly honouring your pregnancy.
Try this…Make a cup of tea and sit quietly to drink it. Notice the colour of the tea, the temperature, and the steam rising from it. Allow yourself to feel open and relaxed. Take small sips and really relish the act of mindfully drinking your tea. Turn this into a morning ritual to start your day before the family gets up.
9. REST, REST AND MORE REST. Growing a human being is hard work!! Don’t underestimate how tiring it is. Pregnancy insomnia and aching hips might also be keeping you from sleeping well. There’s no need to ‘push through’ to prove that you can still keep up or be the same as you were pre-pregnancy. Give yourself permission to slow down and rest or sleep whenever you need to. Afternoon naps are a beautiful treat!
Try this…If you struggle to sleep or only have a short time to relax, try Yoga Nidra. This is a deep form of guided relaxation, whereby the body is completely at ease, and only the subconscious remains active. It’s known as ‘yogic sleep, and 30 minutes is equivalent to 4 hours of sleep! You’ll find several Pregnancy Yoga Nidra options available on YouTube.
10. DON’T LET PEOPLE ‘SHOULD’ ALL OVER YOU. People will freely offer you all sorts of advice during your pregnancy. They’ll tell you what you ‘must’ buy, what you ‘should’ eat and how and where you ‘should’ give birth.
Try this…Avoid confusion and guilt by filtering what you want to take on board and letting the rest of the advice wash over you.
Caroline Bagga is Mum to 3 beautiful girls. She’s passionate about helping women to have a healthy, active pregnancy and empowering birth. Caroline is the author of The Pregnancy Yoga Handbook and the Founder of Mother Nurture Yoga, Sydney’s Pregnancy Yoga Experts, offering Pregnancy Yoga Classes in 8 locations around Sydney, as well as Online Classes, Retreats, Couples Birth Preparation Workshops.
Find out more: mothernurtureyoga.com.au
As seen in Issue 22, Nurture Parenting Magazine‘s Self Love Edition. Available now in print Australia-wide and also digitally via Newsstands globally.
See you on the inside xo