With the COVID-19 pandemic still around after a full two years, it is safe to say the ongoing stress we are experiencing is nothing short of exhausting. And when you’re pregnant during this time, it can feel like there is even more to worry about. Here are some coping strategies to fall back on if you feel like the pandemic stress is wearing you down.
Don’t bottle up your feelings
Sure, it is great to focus on the positives (“I’m so lucky to be pregnant!” and “At least I still have my job!”), but sometimes you just need to know it’s OK to express what you’re really feeling. Toxic positivity is just that: when you feel like saying anything negative means you somehow aren’t thankful for what you have. You can have a good 10-minute cry about wishing things were normal again and be grateful for the healthy, growing baby inside you. Expressing your feelings is one of the best ways to actually work through them, so cry or scream every now and again if you need to!
Say yes to help
You may want to be the superhero doing it all, especially in a pandemic when you want to minimize contact with others. But it is 100% OK to ask for help – and it’s great practice for when your baby arrives. Can you treat yourself to grocery deliveries or let a family member fill your freezer? Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later for giving yourself a break.
If there was ever a time to focus on you, this is it. If you feel comfortable, a pedicure or pregnancy massage can be the ultimate stress relief. Wary about going out? You can definitely treat yourself at home with a subscription box splurge, buying the snacks that are for you (and not the kids), or telling your family you are sleeping in and want breakfast in bed.
Reach out to the professionals
There is no shame in the therapy or medication game – if you are struggling, it’s important to get help. Untreated depression and anxiety are not good for you or your baby. Luckily, with increased telehealth options, many therapists and counselors can work with you from the comfort of your couch. And if it’s determined medications might be best, there are lots of safe options that your obstetric provider can discuss with you.
I know you’ve heard this before, but if the news is freaking you out, take a break! You are being constantly bombarded and if it’s keeping you up at night, fight back by deleting news apps and turning off notifications. Limiting social media is another way to regulate the COVID content you consume.
If you haven’t already gotten your COVID vaccine, I highly encourage you to do so – there is nothing like the relief of being fully vaccinated and knowing that you’ve drastically decreased your risk of severe disease and hospitalization to help you feel less stressed out! Got questions? It’s OK to ask your healthcare provider. And rest assured we continue to get data that shows us just how safe this vaccine is in pregnancy and for your growing baby.
- It’s OK to ask for help!
- Being pregnant adds extra worry to these hard times.
- There are lots of ways to win against pandemic stress!