8 Ways To Manage Pregnancy & Postpartum Anxiety
Before having my kids, I never saw myself as an anxious person. To be honest, before I went through it myself I didn’t really know what it was or how to recognise it. What was surprising was though, was finding out how common it actually is! That’s why I feel it’s so important to support mums in recognising it, as well as finding ways to deal with it.
Anxiety works in a similar way to our flight, fight, freeze response – it’s an automatic response from our body to manage different situations. By making certain lifestyle changes, it can make a huge difference.
I work with mums holistically to help manage their anxiety. I take into account what triggers their anxiety, what their current situation is and work with them to find ways to manage it better.
Here are 8 strategies that I use with my clients, depending on their situation. None of them are a quick-fix, (there is no such thing), and it does take time and effort, but if you can implement even one of these strategies, hopefully it will bring you to a better place and the investment will be worth it!
Pregnancy and being a mum comes with a lot of changes and uncertainty. Having some structure can help you to manage things that ARE in your control. It helps to reduce overwhelm and some of that ‘mess’ in your mind. It helps you to prepare for what’s coming ahead so the uncertain situations won’t be so bad. Ways that you can do this are:
- Have a routine
- Daily to-do lists
- Creating a timetable
2. Morning Mindfulness
If mindfulness is your thing, or something you want to try, start a Mindful Morning routine. It will help you to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead. It only takes 10 minutes but it can make all the difference:
- Sit up, relax and take a few moments to become aware of your body
- Breathe in 3 times – slow and deep with the out-breath even slower
- Ask yourself ‘What is your intention for the day? What do you want to achieve?
- Note it down so throughout the day you can read it back and refocus
3. Start A Therapeutic Hobby
Having a creative hobby can be really therapeutic, it allows you to express your thoughts and feelings in a way you enjoy. It’s important that you schedule in some time to do this, making it as regular as possible. Things you can do are drawing, colouring, knitting, painting or poetry.
4. Natural Sunlight
Getting some daily sunshine every day can really help to lift your mood and settle anxiety. Taking 10-15 minutes out in a day to spend doing nothing but getting some fresh air can help you to reflect, calm down and refocus.
If you’re pregnant, hypnobirthing is definitely worth a try. It might sound a bit weird and it’s hard to understand how it works – but it’s so effective in reducing fear and anxiety, not only for birth but throughout pregnancy and after.
Hypnobirthing works by sending messages through your subconscious mind to replace any negativity with calm and control as well as teaching you breathing techniques. When I had a client last year, one thing she found that she wasn’t expecting was how it helped her parent her 6-year old. If you’d like more info on hypnobirthing, check out the Birth Fear ➡ Birth Calm Course and Complete Parenthood Preparation Programme
Exercise is so important because it helps to reduce some anxiety symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia and laco of concentration. Also, exercise helps to release serotonin (happy hormone) and beta-endorphins (natural painkiller). Exercising for 30 minutes for 3-5 days a week is a great way to start seeing the benefits.
There’s been a lot of research to show the link between your gut and your mental health and the importance of eating the right foods. You can start looking at your diet to make sure you’re drinking enough water and eating regular, nutritious meals. Also, avoiding sugar, caffeine and processed food can help.
Talking to someone who’s non-judgemental and has experience in helping other mums, can be extremely therapeutic and effective. Their sole focus will be on you, which can really help to let go of some of those things that are pulling you back. Talking out loud also makes things more ‘real’ and encourages you to want make a change. It can help you to understand yourself and your anxiety better and create a plan to manage it that works for you.
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