Self-Care During an Unplanned Pregnancy

When clients come to Options seeking emotional support during a crisis, self care is often the last thing on their minds, and we understand that.  When you're struggling with difficult emotions during an unplanned pregnancy, remembering to make time for yourself seems like an unimportant after thought.  However, taking the time to care for yourself can actually be one of the most important factors in helping you to make a calm, peaceful, and well-thought-out decision and plan for your future.  When you are meeting your own basic needs and reducing stress, your ability to be reflective increases, and the chances of being controlled by pressures or fight-or-flight responses decreases.

So, in light of this, what does self-care actually look like? Consider the following five areas of self-care, and think about ways you can implement them in your daily life:

Physical Self Care

Taking care of yourself physically includes the following suggestions, such as:

  • eating regularly (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • eating healthily, getting regular exercise
  • going to the GP for regular check-ups
  • taking time off from work when you're ill
  • getting a massage
  • dancing, swimmng, walking, running, playing sports, singing, doing enjoyable physical activity
  • getting enough sleep
  • wearing clothes you like
  • taking holidays when possible
  • taking day trips or mini-holidays
  • making time away from telephones

Psychological Self Care

  • making time for self-reflection
  • having your own personal counselling or psychotherapy
  • writing in a journal
  • reading literature that's unrelated to your line of work
  • doing something at which you are not an expert or "in charge"
  • decreasing stress in your life
  • noticing your inner experience (listening to your thoughts, beliefs, judgements, attitudes, and feelings)
  • letting others know different aspects of you
  • engaging your intelligence in a new area (e.g., going to an art museum, history exhibit, sports event, auction, theatre)
  • allowing others to give to you
  • being curious
  • saying no to extra responsbilities

Emotional Self Care

  • spending time with others whose company you enjoy
  • staying in contact with important people in your life
  • giving yourself affirmations, praising yourself
  • loving yourself
  • rereading favourite books, re-reviewing favourite movies
  • identifying comforting activities, objects, people, relationships, places, and seeking them out
  • allowing yourself to cry
  • finding things that make you laugh
  • making the time to play
  • finding ways to honestly express yourself and your views both personally and in public situations

Spiritual Self Care

  • making time for spiritual reflection
  • spending time in nature
  • finding a faith community
  • being open to inspiration
  • cherishing your optimism and hope
  • being aware of nonmaterial aspects of life
  • trying at times not to be in charge or the expert
  • being open to not knowing
  • identifying what is meaningful ot you and noticing its place in your life
  • meditate, pray, sing
  • spend time with loved ones
  • have experiences of awe
  • contribute to causes in which you believe
  • read inspirational literature

Workplace Self Care

  • take a break during working hours (e.g., lunch)
  • take the time to chat with coworkers
  • make quiet time to complete tasks
  • identify projects / tasks that are rewarding or exciting
  • set limits with clients and colleagues
  • arrange your work space so that it's comfortable and comforting
  • negotiate for your needs (benefits, pay raise)
  • strive for balance within your work-life and work day
  • strive for balance among work, family, relationships, play, and rest

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