I’ve been mostly sharing about experiences I’ve been going through while I’m pregnant. Everything has been so new to me, and it’s truly been a journey! Today I thought I’d share a different perspective – of things that I’ve been doing for myself while I’m pregnant. With all the changes I’m experiencing in my body, it sometimes feels like it no longer belongs to me. I’m out of touch, and out of control. This feeling of uncertainty is probably just the beginning though. Speaking to my friends who are mummies, they shared about how pregnancy is the easy part, and how their feelings of inadequacy magnified once their baby was born. I can totally imagine! And I realised how important it is for self-care right now, starting during pregnancy, because taking care of myself is imperative, to allow me to take good care of my baby. Plus, now that baby is still snuggling inside me, self care = baby care right? Hehe.
In my first trimester, self care was simply allowing myself to get all the rest that I needed. Thankfully, it was during the circuit breaker period, allowing me to lie down and just close my eyes whenever I needed (other than when I was teaching virtual classes). I felt like I had been sapped of all energy and I literally couldn’t do anything else. But it also made me realise that sometimes, just doing nothing is the best thing that you can do for yourself. I really needed the rest, and I just gave myself the permission to slow down, stop running around, and it was all that I needed.
As I moved into my 2nd trimester, I’m definitely feeling a lot more energetic (even in 3rd tri too thankfully)! But while I was so tempted to rush back into “life” as usual, I also had to remind myself to take care of my body and soul, which would in turn nourish the little life inside of me. Everyone has their own version of self-care, and I’m not here to prescribe anything. Just sharing some of the things that I’ve been loving, and perhaps it might give you some inspiration of what you can do for yourself too. I’m someone who loves indulging my five senses, and you will be able to see this from the list (other than sight which I can’t seem to match it to anything) below!
Touch: Foot soaks
Since I’ve moved into my own home, I’ve been trying to pamper myself regularly with foot soaks. Thanks to my girlfriends who bought me a set of goodies including a bath salts, a scrub, mask and foot cream, I’ve been using this religiously (when I’m not too lazy) as a once-a-week night pampering session. It’s one of the best things ever! I sprinkle a spoonful of the bath salts into a shallow pail and fill it with hot water. I sometimes take awhile to get my feet into the bath because it’s so hot! Haha. But it feels really good, like when you immerse yourself into the hot water in the jjimjilbang. *happy sigh* After soaking for some time, usually till the water starts to get lukewarm, I then move on to the scrub and mask, before rinsing everything off and applying the foot cream. The final icing on the cake is popping on a pair of fluffy socks and going straight to bed after that. Sooo cosy and I sleep so well after that! Plus I’ve also noticed the calluses on my heels have significantly reduced after I started doing this regularly.
Smells are so important to me. While I have to say that my increased olfactory acuity during pregnancy is not quite something that I welcome, but thankfully I’ve still been able to enjoy my favourite diffuser scents! During the 1st trimester, I avoided aromatherapy because of general advice about potential negative effects on baby. But it is supposed to be safe from 2nd trimester onwards, bearing in mind that there are some essential oils which might not be as suitable! Google will tell you what to look out for 😉 I’ve been loving geranium, lavender and frankincense in my regular aromatherapy concoction, and I change them up depending on my mood!
Spotify and Google Home are my companions throughout the day. I wake up with Your Favourite Coffeehouse or Morning Stroll as I prep my breakfast. As I go through the day, depending on what I’m doing, I usually have Acoustic Favourites, Chill Hits or Coffee & Piano playing in the background. I’ve also recently added Classical Essentials to my rotating playlist, since classical music is supposed to be good for babies, right? Haha.
With the recent rainy weather, I’ve been loving Rainy Day Jazz, or any other rainy day playlist that just makes everything feel an extra bit cosier when a storm is raging outside, and I’m warm and dry indoors. In the evenings when hubs is back home and we get to have dinner together, Dinner with Friends or Jazzy Dinner seems to bring out the flavours of our meal even further (doesn’t matter that it’s just a really simple home cooked meal or some takeout that he grabbed on the way home). My favourite pre-sleep playlist is Peaceful Piano – it’s such a soothing way to wind down at the end of the day and sends me into la la land.
Taste: Preparing healthy meals
One of the things that made me the happiest in my 2nd trimester was finally being able to cook again! I have not gone back to the regular experimental cooking that I used to really enjoy, but instead have been sticking to boiling most of my food – which I guess is good because it’s healthier too? No oil required! I’ve been making my plant-based meals again which feels soooo good! I definitely feel lighter physically & mentally while consuming more vegetables and plant-based proteins, compared to when I was having mainly carbs in the 1st trimester. Check out my “Eat Clean” IGS highlights for ideas!
Now that my energy levels are back to 100%, I’ve been trying to resume some form of exercise again! I’m thankful that my job in itself allows me to stay active, which is definitely a time-saver somewhat haha. But I don’t always get the full workout because I do spend quite a bit of time watching my students to make sure that they’re moving safely and effectively, so I do try to make time to do my own exercise as well!
Towards the end of my 2nd trimester, I started swimming weekly which has been AMAZING for my pregnant body. It’s definitely my favourite exercise during pregnancy and I would totally do it every day if only I had easy access to a pool (which unfortunately I don’t). So thankful for friends who have kindly shared their condo pool with me so that I can get my weekly dose of water though! The unpredictable weather hasn’t helped, but I’ve managed to be pretty diligent at keeping up with the weekly swim, and I noticed how many of my aches reduced significantly along with that! I’ve also been making it a point to go for a walk at least once a week since I stopped my studio classes (otherwise I’d really be quite sedentary just teaching from home). And while baby’s growing size has been making me feel breathless sometimes, but I just take my time during the stroll and listen to my body. Climbing stairs has been great too!! Since the 2nd trimester, I’ve been climbing up escalators instead of just standing on them. And I recently started climbing 12 floors up to my house, which has been surprisingly manageable! Definitely have a sense of accomplishment from that 😉
When it comes to exercise, I believe that balance and listening to your body is so important – something that I advocate all the time in my classes, and especially so when I’m pregnant! My MIL was horrified to hear that I was climbing stairs (even the overhead bridge), because her body couldn’t take it when she was pregnant. But everyone is different! If that’s you, please do not force yourself to do that no matter how much people tell you that it helps with the birth. But if you’re generally fit and healthy and it works for you, by all means go for it! I take breaks whenever I need to, and modify the movements in my Pilates/yoga practice according to the changes in my body and how I feel that particular day. Every day is different – part of self-care is to tune into your body and LISTEN to what it’s telling you (and also what baby is telling you!).
Finally, mindfulness. This is a goal that I was working towards last year – to practice mindfulness on a daily basis, and gradually increase in duration. I struggled with it so much!! And as with any new year resolution….I gave up on it around halfway through 2019. Oops. But I kinda got acquainted with it again in the last month or so through the Gentle Birth app! Although I didn’t subscribe to the paid version eventually after the 7 day trial was up, I really enjoyed the guided sessions that varied in duration from 5-10mins all the way to 30min sessions. I do find it more helpful and easy to focus when there is someone talking me through the process, and it’s something that I love doing just before bedtime these days. I’m trying to be conscious of not looking at my phone after 9pm (scrolling IG can be so addictive!) and instead, I put my feet up (literally, against a wall) and listen to a short mindfulness podcast which really helps me to wind down for the night.
So these are my favourite self-care activities which I’ve been doing for myself! Let me know which one of these you tried out and enjoyed the most? Or please do also share your own self-care regime with me, I always love getting new ideas!