Relaxation Is the Key

In a society where feeling uneasy, tired, running on empty, and disconnected is actually a skill promoted since early childhood, it is very difficult to tell pregnant women to relax.

Some women have heard over and over that feeling stress is a norm for the high achiever. Being stressed helps you get things done; being on the go all the time means you are on track, that you are needed and are accomplishing a lot.

So how, all of a sudden, can relaxing be a good thing? But the truth is that relaxing is not just a good thing -- it is the key to a healthy pregnancy, successful childbirth, and peaceful postpartum.

A busy life style, older kids, demanding jobs, and lost ability to relax cannot be acceptable excuses to make you not at least give it a try.

Here some simple first steps:

* Try to do one thing at the time once a day. 
Don't cook and talk on the phone at the same time, or answer emails in the train on your way to work.

* Spend same time outside -- even on the coldest days.
Go for long hikes, or just around the block, walk on the beach, eat a meal on your porch, seat underneath a tree

* Bring back old childhood fun.
Playing cards, building Legos, modeling with clay, drawing, knitting, painting, coloring books -- let your sense of wonder and simple creativity return,

* Avoid TV as much as possible.
elect shows that will add to your spiritual and intellectual growth

. Wake up 10 minutes earlier, go to bed one hour earlier.

. Once a week, have a " Me Time." 
Do something you absolutely love to do. If you don't know what this thing is, go find it out.

* Plan your meals ahead, and make them healthy, simple and delicious.

* Take prenatal yoga classes.

* Rethink your needs.
Avoid over shopping for the baby -- consider second hand items.

* Rethink Baby Shower
People who care about you and can afford to treat your baby with a nice gift will do so -- without you having to go through the stress of a big party at the end of your pregnancy. Consider a Belly Blessing instead.


* Turn on the radio and dance your favorite beat -- singing along

* Gardening -- even if you don't have a green thumb, start a herbal garden in your kitchen 

* Massage your belly with pure oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oils

* Try meditation, CalmBirth, CalmMother, Hypnobirthing

* Read a great novel

* Find something or someone that makes you laugh out loud

Prioritize your spending

If you review your budget and prioritize your pregnancy, you can indulge yourself in a very relaxing way:

* take a vacation to a beach or mountain place -- take very little with you

* go to a concert by one of your favorite bands

* go on a date with your partner or family member/ friend

* include a massage in your monthly budget

* go to a retreat with your partner or best friend

* hire a house chores helper; if you already have one, add more visits

* consider taking earlier maternity leave to enjoy the last couple weeks of pregnancy

* take off and go to a pregnancy specialized spa

Discover what makes you relaxed. What people put a smile on your face with their presence; what places make you feel at home; what activity just makes you feel yourself, connect to who you really are. That is where you belong; that is the place you want to be as often as you can. Invest in you; practice being relaxed. Giving birth will be way easier this way. Let it go, let it be, and be generous with yourself.