Pregnant? Have Stress? Tips for Slowing Down to Breathe

slow-children-at-play-1462999Pregnancy can be a great time in one’s life.  Even if you chose to become pregnant and are happy about it, it is often a time of stress as well.  It can help to regularly take a minute to slow yourself right down and take a moment to really breathe.

We often have to strain to remember the last moment where we were fully present.  We spend much of our time planning for what has yet to happen or processing things that have already come and gone.  With all that living in the future or in the past, we lose out on the right here, right now.  Moments where we can tell ourselves to stop rushing and just enjoy.  When was the last time we just went for a walk just to walk, and breathe fresh air without talking on the phone or listening to music or a podcast?  When aren’t we rushing out the door or in the door?

Lives are busy.  They require planning and organization.  The trick is to find moments that will remind us to stop the constant chatter in our minds and help us remember to be right here, right now.  That is what meditation is, being fully present in the moment but let’s be real, if we are busy rushing and have children that have needs, then when the heck are we supposed to sit down and meditate?  If we even sit to close our eyes at the end of the day, most of us will fall asleep pretty quickly.  Do not worry my friends, there are other ways.  Simple things we can do every day to teach ourselves the art of slowing down.

  1. When driving or commuting, look outside and try to count as many species of wildlife you can see and breathe while you are driving
  2. Everytime you step into your car or just before stepping out, as you turn the key, take one slow deep meaningful breath
  3. When you use the bathroom, be conscious of breathing deeply (and relax your pelvic floor by visualizing an elevator that must go from the Penthouse to the Ground Floor)
  4. At mealtimes, remember to take a full deep breath and indulge in one moment of a gratitude for the food or something in your day
  5. Slow down when you are brushing your teeth, take a few extra seconds and be gentle with your gums as you breathe deeply while cleaning those pearly whites!
  6. Anytime you are in line somewhere, breathe deeply and maybe stretch a muscle or two
  7. When you are washing your dishes, breathe deeply or sing something that is uplifting or comforting to you
  8. Sing
  9. Park your car further at the store or at work and take an extra 45 seconds to walk and breathe the fresh air
  10. When someone is talking to you, look them in the eyes
  11. When you are on hold with a company on the phone, breathe through the elevator music.

The word BREATHE figures prominently in this list of suggestions.  It is the best tool to connect with “what’s going on right now”.  The way to be right here and right now.  Your breath can only exist in the present moment and to connect with your breath in a conscious way is to connect to the present moment.  It is also a way to reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and the constant chattering of our minds.

Blue one way traffic signA little word about breathing.  We have mostly forgotten how to breathe in today’s society.  We have become shallow breathers, rarely using the bottom half of our lungs and diaphragm.  When we breathe in, our lungs fill us with air like a balloon inflating.  Your belly should rise when you breathe in.  In through the nose, filling the bottom half of our lungs first and then the top part.  When you breathe out, you are pushing the air out of your lungs through your mouth or nose and try to push out as much of the stale air as possible.  Your belly will suck in to expel all that air.  You can practice more easily by lying or sitting down and putting your hands on your belly to feel the movement.  Then you try to incorporate that kind of breath into all those moments mentioned above and as many other moments as possible.

After some time, you will realize that you are more aware of your breath or lack of breath.  This is a fantastic sign that you are becoming more aware of the here and now and will lead to better health, sleep, love-making, energy and eventually a quieter mind!

Breathe deeply and remember that most often in our lives, right here and right now, all is well, we are fed, have shelter, have loved ones and we are healthy.  Right here, right now, we are safe.  Yes, I know this is not the case for many in the world but if this is true for you, then take a breath.

 

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Josée Nolet is a registered midwife with Generations Midwifery Care.  Learn more about her here.