'Tis the season to be pregnant? More like 'tis the season to feel exhausted from running around like a mad woman. Here's how to make it work and have it all.
The holidays are stressful enough but when you add in the added pressure, stress and weight of pregnancy, it's enough to make anyone lose their cool. While it's an exciting time for you and your partner, the truth is that baby changes everything, even before she arrives. First and foremost, you have to put your own health (and the health of your baby!) before any holiday celebrations, festive food or other traditions you've maintained over the years. But don't worry, mama-to-be: you can still have a lot of fun and love, all while taking care of you and your precious cargo.
Here are five super-important ways to survive the holidays when you're expecting:
Always keep water and snacks nearby If you're out shopping and checking your list twice for all you need to buy, or commuting from one holiday party to another, make sure you always have water nearby. Cooler temperatures and all that running around can cause you to feel dehydrated and hungrier, and possibly even faint. You want to avoid feeling light-headed and keep yourself properly fueled during busy days, especially when you're pregnant. Carry a reusable water bottle to save on cost and pack snacks ahead that incorporate protein and iron—like peanut butter or cheese slices.
Don't feel bad about saying 'no' You'll have a toddler in a few years, so now is a good time to go ahead and practice standing your ground. While you'd love to make it to your friend group's secret Santa, your husband's company party, your co-workers' cookie exchange and visit both your parents and your in-laws, now is the time to learn how to prioritize. Not only will you likely feel even more pressured to save money before baby comes, but all the traveling and entertaining can be difficult when you're lugging around extra weight and in need of more sleep than usual. Don't be afraid to turn down invitations or suggest alternative to plans: instead of going out, why not have a night in with your friends? Or blame your pregnancy as a reason that your in-laws should visit you instead. You are carrying their grandchild, after all!
Schedule time for yourself Between everything you have to buy, attend and do between now and the New Year, you might have trouble finding time to simply sit down. Channel your nursery-and-birth-planning skills toward your own sanity by scheduling an hour for you every single day. It could be leaving the office to actually sit at a restaurant and eat, taking a nap when you get home and can't keep your eyes open, or taking a warm bath or yoga class to relieve your aches and pains. Whatever will help you relax, plan for it. You may not have the luxury of an hour in a few months, so why not savor it now?
Fill up on the right nutrients Your pregnancy cravings might switch between craving those sugar cookies to absolutely needing mac-n-cheese right now, but it's more important than even to make sure you're filling up on the right foods with the best nutrients this time of year. Balance those typically heavy holiday meals with well-rounded dishes that support your health, like a rice and spinach salad with an assortment of veggies and a lean meat (like chicken or cooked fish) on the side. Remember, whatever you put in your body, you'll feel, so make sure you're giving yourself (and baby) the very best.
Embrace the sweatpant Hey, you're pregnant. Hey, nothing fits. Helllllo sweatpants! (Or pregnancy leggings.) If you're going to go out during this season—to the grocery store or the holiday party—don't be afraid to sport your go-to maternity wardrobe staple. You can always put on a nice top over your leggings or dress them up with a boot and blazer. The most important thing is that you're comfortable and you have layers, so if you suddenly get hot in the middle of the evening, you can cool off without feeling uneasy. Remember, you come first!