A study published last month in the American Journal of Epidemiology found children whose mothers experienced a stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, while they were pregnant were 71 percent more likely to be hospitalized with a severe infectious disease than children of women who did not undergo prenatal stress. And even the children of women who experienced such an event 11 months before conception were 42 percent more likely to be hospitalized with severe infectious disease than the children of stress-free women.
However, don’t let these findings stress you out: The women in this study had suffered truly difficult, life-altering events. So if you’re going through the everyday stress that is called LIFE, your baby will likely be fine. Nevertheless, when we are pregnant our babies are affected by everything we eat, breathe, and even what we feel. So it’s a pretty good idea to relieve as much stress as possible.
So it’s clear, ladies. Take it easy…..right?
Well, obviously it’s not that easy. But there are some things you should do to relieve some of your stress, whether you are pregnant, want to be pregnant, or have ankle biters already screaming that they’re hungry and want to be picked up.
Here’s a few tips:
1. Take daily walks. It’s proven that a little exercise induces happier feelings, thus chasing away those tendencies to feel stressed. When we’re happier, we’re more relaxed. And when we’re more relaxed, we have a better handle on our day. Hey, and you can even push a stroller while doing it!
2. Get help. Too much mess? Make a game with the kids to clean up. Share chores with the hubby. Or even work a system out with friends to help clean each other’s house. And if all else fails, get a giant box and put everything in it so you don’t have to look at it any longer and can go through it when you’re done. A cluttered room causes a cluttered mind. Get rid of the mess, and the stress will leave too.
3. Take a break. Swap kids with friends, let the hubby take over, give the grandparents their grandkid fix. Whatever you can do to get away for a few hours a week, DO IT. Taking breaks from mommyhood will actually help you appreciate your kids more, and make you a better mom. So when you have to drop off the kids, let them know you’re doing this FOR THEM. But it’s for you too, Mom.
4. Develop a hobby. Whether it’s painting gorgeous scenery in a field of poppies or coloring within the lines at your kitchen table, do something that allows you to escape the daily grind and feel young and carefree once again.
5. Laugh more. Play with the kids, watch a funny movie or comedy show, share stories with friends… Get those laughing endorphins moving and watch your stress melt away.
6. Get lucky. There, I said it. Sex can be a wonderful stress reliever. Of course, this is easiest done after the house is clean, the kids are gone, and you’ve spent the night hunched over in laughter. But not everything always works out that way. But regardless, it’s so important to make special time for you and your honey to be intimate with each other. So put the kids to bed early, pamper each other with a 5 minute shoulder squeeze, and then ravage each other as if it were just the two of you all over again.
7. Enjoy the silence. No, I’m not joking. Somehow, someway, find a short period of time when you can escape the kids, the Internet, your phone, everything that is a distraction, and be still and quiet. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, use that time to breathe in and out deeply and regroup. You can do it during your daughter’s nap, or while your son is playing in his playpen. Or when daddy enters the room, toss him the baby and run out before he knows what hits him.
8. Write it down. Have something taking over your head? Get it out of your head and on paper. From the birth plan you’re creating to the meal you plan on making for dinner, jot it on a piece of paper so that you’re not mulling it over in your mind trying not to forget it. Let the paper do the remembering for you.
What are some ways that you relieve stress?