How I Naturally Combat Anxiety During Pregnancy from TheBlissfulPoet.com >> natural anxiety remedies, essential oils, postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, pregnancy and anxiety, natural anxiety remedies, coping with anxiety, natural coping methods, healthy living, simple living, motherhood, moms with anxiety

How I Naturally Combat Anxiety During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful, frustrating experience. I think that’s true for most women. (And if it has been all beautiful and no frustrating, tell me your secret!) If there’s one aspect of pregnancy I wasn’t fully prepared for, it’s the emotional instability I’ve experienced. I’m thrilled about the future, but I’m also terrified. I have moments of extreme doubt and insecurity. And tears are always just under the surface, waiting for a reason to spill over.

Shaky hormones are one thing. But crying over a woman giving birth in a sweet Huggies commercial is different than waking up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart, feeling like everything is going to come crashing down around you.

Anxiety is a sneaky, pervasive monster.

I’m prone to anxiety and I’ve had panic attacks in the past, so I’m not surprised that I’ve experienced anxiety during my pregnancy. It has also prompted me to research postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD so I can be aware of those things later this year after the baby has arrived. I want to be as prepared as I can be. Most women experience the baby blues, but sometimes that develops into something bigger, such as postpartum depression or anxiety. For me, awareness is a good first step. I can lay out a game plan ahead of time should I need it in the future.

For now, I’m doing my best to have a healthy pregnancy and to combat my anxiety naturally. Here’s how I’m doing it:

Note: This post contains affiliate links. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this website is based on my own personal use of essential oils. I’m not a doctor, and this information is not meant to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. I’m just writing about what I’ve done for myself.  If you need help, talk with your healthcare provider to discover what methods will work best for you. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Hydrate

I’ve found that improving my physical health also improves my mental and emotional health. Staying hydrated is a great way to start. When I drink enough water every day, my body functions more smoothly and I feel better overall.

Cut Back on Caffeine

This one hurt a little, especially when I first discovered I was pregnant. I’m a coffee nut, as most writers are, and I had to cut back from my usual 2-4 cups per day. I still allow myself a cup of decaf or half-calf every day, but pregnant women shouldn’t consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Opinions vary on this. Personally, I haven’t cut caffeine entirely, but I’ve significantly reduced my intake so I don’t consume more than about 50-100 mg on any given day. (Plus, too much caffeine makes me feel even more anxious, so cutting back has helped.)

If you just like having something warm to drink, tea is a great alternative. I love this one and this one. Chamomile is also calming, so if anxious thoughts keep you up at night, try drinking a cup before bed.

Use Essential Oils

There are also various opinions on essential oil use during pregnancy from one end of the spectrum (avoid them at all costs) to the other (use whatever you want). This is my first pregnancy, so I’ve played it safe and followed my midwife’s advice to use them carefully only after the first trimester. She’s the professional, after all. However, I’ve used essential oils for years, and I’ve seen how they have improved my overall quality of life. After much research, advice, and consideration, I started slowly incorporating pregnancy-safe oils into my routine toward the end of my second trimester.

Because I get all of my essential oils at wholesale prices, I’ve built up a hefty supply for my family. The oils that have proven most helpful in stabilizing my emotions are bergamot, frankincense, orange, joy, lemon, tangerine, and ylang ylang. I’ve used them aromatically and topically, with proper dilution. Sometimes putting a drop of oil in my hands and breathing it in is the difference between an emotional meltdown and a level-headed reaction.
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Supplement Properly

I like to make sure I’m getting all the proper vitamins and supplements my baby and I need for healthy growth, development, and maintenance. Sometimes simple vitamin deficiencies make a difference in how my body handles life and the stress it can bring. Not to mention, creating the healthiest environment possible (internally and externally) for our little one is beyond important.

Take a Deep Breath

When everything feels out of my control, it’s nice to know that my breathing is one thing I can control. Taking focused, deep breaths steadies my heart rate and calms my nerves. I have the terrible habit of holding my breath without realizing it, usually when I’m stressed or tense. When I take calm, steady breaths, I can actually feel my heart rate slowing and my body relaxing. If you’ve ever had an anxiety attack, you, too, understand how scary it is when your breathing gets away from you and you can’t catch a breath. Focusing on your breathing the moment you have an anxious thought can help.

Get Physically Active

This one is my biggest struggle. I worked out regularly before I was pregnant, but lately, I can’t do the strenuous workouts I used to do. I also spent my entire first trimester feeling physically terrible, and I didn’t want to move any more than necessary.

But you don’t need a hardcore workout, especially when you’re pregnant. Even light exercise, such as a walk around the neighborhood, can help. There are also plenty of great workout videos and routines online. To kill two birds with one stone, head on over to Target to walk up and down the aisles and peruse the sweet baby clothes. I don’t know about you, but those tiny baby dresses make me feel pretty joyful. 😉

Go Outside

Speaking of getting enough vitamins and staying physically active… Not to crawl up on a soapbox all of a sudden (at 34 weeks pregnant, I’m not limber enough for that), but we spend a lot of time looking at screens.

As a writer and blogger, I’m among the guiltiest. It is absolutely crucial for me to break various times a day not only to move but to get outside and remember that there is more to life than what I’ve been staring at on my phone/laptop/TV screen. Sometimes getting outside flips a switch in my soul. I feel lighter. Maybe it’s a good reminder that I’m not responsible for holding the world together. Or maybe it’s just the fresh air and Vitamin D.

Talk to Someone

Talking to a friend or relative can help, but sometimes talking with a therapist will provide the safety and distance you need to really get things off your chest. A counselor may be able to see your story from a fresh, unbiased perspective and equip you with tools and strategies that will help you cope with stress and anxiety. If you attend a local church, look into counseling programs they have available. You can also check out this site to find therapists in your area.

Laugh

I think the phrase “laughter is the best medicine” has been used too much because we don’t take it seriously enough anymore. It really is one of the best forms of medicine out there. I like to come down off of an anxious moment or day by relaxing with my husband and an episode or two of Friends or The Office. I also love getting lost in good novels and memoirs and hearing others’ stories as I work through my own.

Eliminate Excess

Do you ever feel like you keep accumulating stuff for no reason? Sometimes every part of my life feels cluttered — my schedule, my home, my mind. Simplifying my schedule and my surroundings helps me clear my mind and refocus on what’s important. That’s why I try to embrace moderate minimalism as much as I can.

Daily Reading, Writing, and Prayer

This is as important to me as drinking enough water and taking the right vitamins. If I don’t keep my soul healthy, my body suffers, too. Writing is the best stress relief method for me. It helps me dump all of my worries, fears, frustrations, and thoughts somewhere else so I can process them more thoroughly and gain clarity. If I don’t, I stuff the negative thoughts until they fester. It’s like pulling a splinter out. It’ll hurt. But the longer it stays, the more pain it will cause until it ultimately becomes infected.

(Not a writer? Try something else artistic. Paint, doodle, sing, play an instrument, sew something, cook a meal, or make a collage or vision board of the things that make you happy or bring you comfort and courage. Use your creativity.)

Daily Bible study and prayer has also been essential for me as I’ve dealt with anxiety. Sometimes I like to work through written studies (this one and this one are among my favorites), and sometimes I like to sit with my Bible, a notebook, a pretty pen, and a cup of coffee (decaf, obviously) and go where the Spirit leads.

Books I Recommend

I’ve read some of these books on fear and anxiety more than once. It helps to be re-encouraged sometimes. 🙂 I hope you find the one that helps you combat whatever negativity you’re facing right now so you can overcome it and enjoy your beautiful life.

Check out a few more of my favorite resources.

Have you experienced anxiety while pregnant or otherwise? What methods have helped you cope? 

 

 

 

 

3 comments

  1. Evangeline Yackel

    I am not pregnant nor of the age that I would think about pregnancy (or even a relationship with someone of the opposite sex XD), but I deal with getting stressed out easily. This post presented some really awesome things for me to keep in mind and implement. 🙂

  2. Meghan Post author

    I’m really glad this helped, Evangeline! Sometimes it’s easier to cave to stress than to implement strategies like this, but they do help. 🙂

  3. henajose

    Very informative and helpful. The reality is women in this generation is less equipped to handle the physical and emotional changes. I shared on FB too…

Let me know what you think.