Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Even if this is exactly what you wanted, finding out you’re pregnant can be stressful. After all, a new baby changes your life forever. You may need to rearrange your home, move, buy a new vehicle, and more. And even if you have all of that in place already, a new baby will completely transform your daily routine. Here’s how to make room for these big changes and lower your stress at the same time. (See also: 8 Money Moves to Make When You Find Out You’re Pregnant)
1. Assess your needs
Maybe you need more alone time. Maybe you need some time out with friends. Maybe you need to take regular naps, or meditate a few times each week. Take the time to figure out what you need. Think about your life, and write down what you think would help make your pregnancy more comfortable and how you can incorporate more of that into your routine. Then do it. (See also: 14 Smartphone Apps That Make Self-Care a Snap)
2. Avoid Google
Pregnancy can be a time of high anxiety because you don’t want to do anything that will hurt your baby. It comes with all sorts of new physical sensations and experiences. When something feels different, or you have a question, it’s natural to want immediate resolution by finding the answer yourself.
The problem with the internet, though, is that you hear about a lot of worst-case scenarios, and you expose yourself to a lot of untested information. This can cause anything from annoyance to outright panic. Instead of going to Dr. Google, find a real doctor, midwife, or doula you can trust. When questions pop up, call them instead.
3. Get more rest
Due to hormonal changes, most women feel more tired than usual, especially during the early days of their pregnancy. Instead of pushing through this, take it as in indication of what your body needs: more rest. By prioritizing rest, you’ll not only give your body the energy to grow a baby, but you’ll also put yourself in the best possible place to be able to approach your pregnancy with a calm and clear mind. (See also: Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines)
4. Find or create a calming space
Is there a place that instantly puts you at ease? This can be anywhere from your bedroom or garden, to the local library or the spa. Wherever this place is, spend as much time there as possible while you’re pregnant. You can even create a cozy space by adding your favorite books, candles, and lots of warm blankets and pillows.
Even if you can’t actually go to your peaceful place because of work or other daily responsibilities, take some time regularly to visualize yourself there. Visualization can be a powerful tool, and can change the way we perceive reality. While you may not reap all the benefits of actually being somewhere relaxing, you might find yourself less stressed. (See also: 5 Ways Self Care Can Actually Save You Money)
5. Take a hike
Exercise is always good for lowering stress, and it can be especially helpful when you’re pregnant. Make sure that you consult your doctor about any exercise routines you haven’t yet tried but, unless you’re on bedrest, taking a walk is almost never a bad idea. And 30-60 minutes of walking each day can help release endorphins in your brain, which will make you feel happier, more relaxed, and able to tackle any challenges that come your way. (See also: 6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out)
6. Take time to enjoy your pregnancy
If you’re feeling nervous or your pregnancy has brought up a lot of unknowns about your future, it can be hard to feel anything but dread. Set aside some time each day to remember why being pregnant is worth whatever you’re going through in the moment. Soon, you’ll have a child to love and nurture, and you’ll get to watch them grow up. You should also keep in mind that your body is doing something truly incredible while you’re going about your day. You’re creating a life inside your body. That’s amazing. And there are women all over the world who have gone through it, and are going through it now — so you can find comfort in knowing you’re not alone in this process.