There’s more to wellness than meditation and eating leafy greens. Wellness is simply the act of taking care of your body and mind, and there are tons of ways to do that. These are a few of our favorites.
Connect with a furry friend
It’s pretty hard to identify the best thing about animals. Even if you’re not a zealous cat mom, you can probably appreciate the majesty of a giraffe or a convertible chameleon. A recent study found that adults with high stress levels who stroked a living creature, whether hard-shelled or furry, were significantly less stressed after. And it worked for people regardless of whether they initially said they liked animals!
People with pets also tend to get more exercise from walking or otherwise tending to their pets. If you don’t have a pet at home, fear not! Check out your local dog park, pet store, or cat cafe to get your furry fill. Be sure to stay away from cat litter during pregnancy though. Toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be spread through the litter box, can be a concern during pregnancy.
Get the giggles out
Try to think of something you enjoy more than laughing. Pretty hard, right? Well, it turns out that laughter isn’t just fun, it’s also good for you! The increase in oxygen stimulates your heart and lungs, activates and relieves your stress response, and soothes tension. Researchers at Northwestern University found that regular laughter was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhanced quality of life.
So make time to watch your favorite funny cat video, chat with your most hilarious pal, or listen to a podcast that has you in stitches. It’s an easy and excellent form of self-care. If only everything that pleasant was good for you!
Walk the walk
You don’t need expensive yoga pants or a gym membership to bump up your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Fitting exercise into your everyday routine can have a positive impact on your mood. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that exercise can even alleviate some of the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.
Saying sayonara to the escalator in favor of becoming a stairmaster may not feel easy at first, but can quickly become a habit. Plus, a little exercise can help your body and mind get into prime baby-delivering shape.
Start your day with a glug
Whether you like your water straight from the tap or sparkling with a bendy straw, drinking just one glass when you wake up can make a big difference. Drinking enough water can also help you stave off dehydration, which can exacerbate tiredness, irritability, and uterine cramping. Starting your day with an act of wellness can set you on track for a day full of healthy decisions.
The bottom line
Pregnancy can be hard on both your body and mind. Now more than ever, your well-being is worth investing in. With just a few small adjustments, you can take care of your health and your happiness.
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- Lebowitz KR, et al. Effects of humor and laughter on psychological functioning, quality of life, health status, and pulmonary functioning among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A preliminary investigation. Heart & Lung. 2011;40:310.
- Shoshana Shiloh, Gal Sorek† & Joseph Terkel (2010) REDUCTION OF STATE-ANXIETY BY PETTING ANIMALS IN A CONTROLLED LABORATORY EXPERIMENT, Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 16:4, 387-395, DOI: 10.1080/1061580031000091582