It’s common for expecting parents to struggle with the idea of taking time out of their busy days to recharge and focus on themselves, but your health and happiness during pregnancy depend on your being as close to 100% as you can be. Soon, you’ll have a new baby to focus on, so it’s important that you find the time to recharge now.
You don’t need to take a full weekend spa trip to feel rejuvenated. Sometimes you just need a few minutes to recenter. One of the easiest ways to find time to get back lost energy is to take advantage of activities that are part of your daily routine.
Since everyone has different routines in their day, this partly depends on what a typical day looks like for you. Here are a few ways to hack your everyday routine by injecting it with a little self-care.
Daily activity: Quick showers
How to hack it: Dim your lights
Whether you use showers to wake up or wind down, you might be used to having all of your lights on as you step in and out. While your routine (or hot water bill concerns) may not allow you to take longer showers, you might want to consider keeping your lights low while you shower. Dimmer lighting can make waking up feel less abrupt, or if it’s bedtime, it can help your mind start to slow down even before you get into bed. A few lit candles in soothing scents like lavender or jasmine could help you add a little romance to your shower experience as well – just make sure there’s enough light for safety in a slippery place!
Daily activity: Eating meals while using technology
How to hack it: Turn off the TV
There’s no denying that we all miss our childhood Saturday morning cereal-and-cartoons ritual. And if that’s what relaxes you, then by all means, enjoy! But for many of us, the TV serves as a distraction that can impact the way we eat and rob us of sleep. Instead of doing both simultaneously, why not choose a separate time of day to sit down and veg out in front of the TV? Using mealtimes for quiet reflection or catching up with your partner or loved ones can be a great way to refocus, connect, and eat mindfully.
Daily activity: Multitasking while doing chores
How to hack it: Do one task at a time
Nobody loves doing chores, and so it can be tempting to maximize chore time by doing a little bit of everything at once. Studies have shown, though, that multitasking can make you less efficient because it’s difficult to devote yourself to multiple tasks at once. Checking items off your to-do list actually releases oxytocin – the happiness hormone – so completing one task at a time allows you to feel that buzz of success more often, feel more accomplished, and reduce stress all at once! How’s that for multitasking?
Daily activity: Taking out trash or recycling, getting mail
How to hack it: Take a quick walk around the block
This might not be possible if you have little ones running around the house while you get chores done, but if you can swing it, walking around the block after you do any activity that requires you to step out of the house for a moment can really help you clear your head. It also helps you squeeze just a little bit more exercise into your day, which is pretty much always a win. Use these small activities as daily excuses to get your blood flowing and take a lap – or two – around your neighborhood.
Daily activity: Waiting in line
How to hack it: Do nothing!
Usually, when we’re in line, we text, send emails, or stress about what’s next on our to-do list. But the next time you’re waiting your turn, consider using these moments to take a few deep breaths. Try focusing on what’s around you, whether it’s the smell of baked goods at the supermarket, the sounds of a conversation nearby, or that cute baby smiling at you from the arms of the person standing in front of you. Just take this moment to be.
Daily activity: Checking social media frequently
How to hack it: Take it less seriously
Social media is supposed to be fun, but it doesn’t always feel that way. It’s pretty common to close your phone feeling like other people’s lives are shinier, happier, or more impressive than yours, which is rarely the case. Think of a few accounts that make you feel good – maybe a food blog or a ridiculous meme page – and make sure to check those before you leave Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Laughter is an incredible way to recharge and feel even more vibrant and alive, so make a concerted effort to check out some funny content (and share it with a friend!).
Daily activity: Responding to messages at night
How to hack it: Keep the phone at arm’s length – or longer!
Your phone can feel like a lifeline – it helps you get where you need to go, connect to loved ones, and stay abreast of what’s going on in the world. But at the end of a long day, you might find it helpful to adopt a ‘no phones in bed’ policy. Sleep is essential for the energy that helps your baby grow, and so is relaxing and winding down at night – plus, the blue light from the phone screen can make it harder to fall asleep. Once you and your phone are low on juice, try to minimize the time you spend together. It’ll help both of you charge back up more quickly.
- Rachel F. Adler, Raquel Benbunan-Fich; The Effects of Task Difficulty and Multitasking on Performance, Interacting with Computers, Volume 27, Issue 4, 1 July 2015, Pages 430–439, https://doi.org/10.1093/iwc/iwu005