Having a healthy lifestyle at this time can be hard to achieve. It can be hard to have a healthy diet or get enough physical activity when you have morning sickness or are exhausted being pregnant. And when you have a new baby, frequently the last thing you feel like doing is shopping for or cooking a beautifully balanced dinner. Sometimes, it is enough to just get through the day. However, having a healthy diet and getting some exercise helps you to cope with mood changes, worry and anxiety. There are a few core aspects of your daily lifestyle that are worth trying to get right whenever you can:
Managing your food
Try and eat foods from each of the 5 food groups each day – vegetables, cereals, dairy, meats and fruit. It might help to:
- Make a list of meals you would like to have for a week and then order the food online.
- Organise some healthy snacks when you get a spare moment so that you have something on hand when you need – low fat yoghurt, salad or vegetables washed and cut ready in a container, breakfast cereal, a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit…
Being active helps to get the feel-good hormones circulating in your body and relieves stress. It can distract you and help you to sleep, which helps to reduce worrying and anxiety.
Do activities that allow you to have a conversation at the same time you are exercising. This helps to ensure the activity is safe so you don’t get too breathless and don’t overdo it. Walking is always a good option, and if you are a new mother with a pram, it is often the easiest solution. If you can walk to a park, a friend’s home or a café it helps to get out of the house and see the world again.
Sleep needs are individual. However, if you can get quality sleep for the hours you need to feel rested, this will reduce anxious thoughts and feelings. Admittedly this is sometimes not easy to achieve when you are pregnant or with a newborn. Often what happens is your sleep cycle gets so disturbed you don’t get the deep restful sleep you need. So:
- Make a rest or sleep time a priority when you can.
- Take others up on their offer to watch your baby while you have a rest.
- Practice relaxation exercises if you are finding it hard to get off to sleep.
- Try not to focus on how many hours of sleep you have missed out on – focus on getting as much sleep and rest as you can whenever you can during the day and at night.
Current recommendations are to avoid alcohol when you are pregnant or breastfeeding so it is best to avoid it completely.
- 1. Understand & up-skill
- 2. Living well
- 3. Talking
- 4. Journal
- 5. Problem solving
- 6. This only takes 15 minutes
- 7. Accept, rather than fight anxiety
- 8. Relaxation & Mindfulness
- 9. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- 10. What are you thinking?
- 11. Thinking record
- 12. Who to see and what type of therapy to have?
- 13. Helpful contacts